Who is going to win the World Cup?

TV pundits including Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan, John Motson and Roy Keane predict which team will lift the golden trophy...

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Gary Lineker

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So, who’s going to win?

Argentina. I just think it’s Lionel Messi’s time. He seems to have eclipsed everything Maradona ever did – all that remains for him is to win a World Cup. This is his moment.

And England’s chances?

Six months ago I’d have said I’d be surprised if they got through the group stage. But more recently I’ve been encouraged by the emergence of our young talent. Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling have all done brilliantly, and that’s given me hope.

And when it goes to penalties?

When I was playing for England, I had a system – before a game I would decide what sort of penalty I was going to take and then practise it over and over. I used to hit 30 or 40 penalties a day throughout a World Cup – hitting the same one. It’s like in golf when you practise a putt – it increases your confidence that you’re going to succeed. 


Danny Murphy

Who’ll lift the trophy?

Argentina. There’s not a lot of difference in terms of quality between the Brazil and Argentinian squads, but Brazil haven’t got Messi.

How do you rate England’s chances?

They’ll get out of the group and then it all depends on who they get drawn against. I’ve spoken to people within the England camp and the word is they’re going to have a go. Daniel Sturridge could become one of England’s best-ever strikers. He’s a match winner, a personality – if he’s fit and healthy, he could be the star of this World Cup.

And the manager’s role?

I heard a lot from players about the restraints [former England manager] Fabio Capello put on them – time constraints, what to wear, who to talk to etc. I’ve played for Roy Hodgson and he’s very mature. He treats men like men. 


Gabby Logan

Who’s going to win?

Brazil. In terms of ability, Argentina will run them close, but I just think Brazil’s home advantage has got to give them the edge.

What about England’s chances?

For a lot of the players, this will be their first taste of big-tournament football, so that could be a blessing. I think we’ll reach the knockout stages and go out on penalties. Reaching the quarter-finals would be a big achievement.

Potential star?

Brazil’s Neymar. It all seems set up for him to emerge as a true superstar. 


Mark Chapman

What are England’s chances?

I can’t see England getting out of the group. Italy and Uruguay are better teams and they’re both better suited to the hot conditions.

Players to watch?

If he’s fit, Spain’s Diego Costa. He played for Brazil before being granted Spanish citizenship. He’s a fantastic striker, but it’ll be fascinating to see how the Brazilian crowd react to him and how he copes with that.

Who will win?

Brazil. As long as Neymar isn’t overawed by the occasion. You can’t overestimate the power of having that crowd behind you. 


John Motson

How will England do?

I think they’re capable of getting out of the group and winning the first knockout game, because it’ll probably be against Colombia. But if they hit a real heavyweight in the quarter-finals – it could be Brazil – that will probably be as far as they go.

Can a European team win it?

If any of the Europeans can upset the South Americans on their own continent, which they’ve never done before, I’d say it will be Germany. I don’t think Spain are quite what they were. It’s between Brazil and Argentina – I’d back Brazil because of the home support.

Who could be the dark horses?

Chile. We saw their attacking threat when they beat England at Wembley. They’re technically very accomplished and the heat and conditions won’t be a problem for them. 


Brad Friedel

Who will win?

Brazil. They’re used to the climate – you’ll have to be able to retain the ball to win in Brazil.

Players to watch?

Belgium’s Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku could both emerge as world superstars.

As a keeper, you’ve faced a few penalties in your time – what’s the secret to pulling off a save?

Watch the angle of the run-up, and then the player’s foot as it plants by the side of the ball. Whichever way the standing foot is pointing is the direction the penalty will go. The problem is that the best players plant their foot straight. 


Roy Keane

How will England fare?

England won’t get to the quarter- finals. I think they’ll find it hard in the heat. They don’t keep the ball well enough, so they get tired quicker. I played in Brazil with Manchester United and they were the worst conditions I have ever played in. The England players are in for a massive shock.

Who will win?

Brazil. You always want the host nation to do well because that creates something magical.

The key to winning a penalty shoot-out?

This time, England have got players who take penalties for their clubs, whereas before it’s been all about who fancies one. But the best advice is: don’t let the game go to penalties. 


Gus Poyet

Who will win?

The South Americans will be doing everything to complicate things for the European teams. So the pitches, climate and atmosphere are all geared towards giving themselves an advantage. The grass on the pitches is often so long you can’t see your boots. There’s always something designed to make the Europeans suffer! So I think it will be Brazil.

How about England’s chances?

I think England and Uruguay will qualify from the group. England have a fresh young squad. People back home in Uruguay know playing England is tough. They know all about Rooney and Gerrard, but I think they’re going to be talking about Lallana after this World Cup.


Gordon Strachan

Players to watch?

Messi and Aguero in the same Argentinian team will be a treat for anyone. They’re the biggest danger to Brazil winning it. Italy’s Lorenzo Insigne is another very good player who could be one of the greats.

So who will lift the trophy?

Brazil. But a huge threat will be their own indiscipline. The fact that they’ve got to win it means that the pressure might result in losing their discipline. That could be their undoing.

Who are the dark horses?

England. They’ve got players that can eliminate the opposition in midfield. Barkley and Lallana can beat players, and create and score goals from midfield – and that’s something England haven’t had for a while.

So you’ll be be supporting the Three Lions?

I rate England as underdogs, but as a Scotsman I can’t really support them because I wouldn’t be allowed back into the country!


Patrick Vieira

Biggest threat to Brazil?

They have to deal with the pressure and stress. At France 98 we weren’t allowed to watch television, so we had no idea what the public and media were saying. We were shielded very well from the outside world and that will be important to Brazil in a home World Cup.

So who will win?

Germany. They have great young players who have experience of big tournaments. Attacking midfielder Toni Kroos is definitely one to look out for.

Dark horse?

France. They will do better this time around. Under Didier Deschamps they look more organised. The key players will be Franck Ribéry and Karim Benzema. France will certainly do better than England!


Adrian Chiles

How will England do?

England will get out of the group and then they’ll cock it up in the supposedly easier knockout stage when they get to the round of 16.

Who’ll win?

Argentina, Brazil or Germany.

What are you looking forward to most?

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I love the early games of the World Cup because the latter stages get a bit corporate and a lot of fans have left by then. The madness of the early stages is unbeatable.