What if the 2014 World Cup was on bikes?

The FIFA World Cup is here once again. And as important as we like to think cycling is, it really can’t hold a match to the global pulling power of 22 grown men chasing an air-filled children’s toy around a field for ninety minutes. I love football, mind you, and can’t wait for the tournament to begin. Hopefully the Socceroos won’t be completely embarrassed and, who knows, maybe we can even jag a result against Chile in the first match?

WC teams1

But this is a cycling blog, of course. So I couldn’t help but wonder how things might pan out if the 2014 FIFA World Cup draw was fought out amongst cycling teams instead of footballing ones. You could argue the number one nation would be the same, Spain. Similarly strong squads could be also assembled by the usual suspects of Italy, Germany, France, England and the Netherlands. But beyond that, well, things might be rather different. Belgium, Australia and the USA would likely be far more influential as would the whippets from Columbia. At the same time the African nations could seriously struggle.

WCteams2

Here’s an entirely hypothetical but loosely-based-on-reality tournament preview, including predictions…

GROUP A
They may be able to kick a ball, but this is a poor group on bikes. Kiserlovski provides the one real glimmer of class and that alone should be enough to pilot Croatia safely to the knockout stages. As for the others, who knows? Mexico should advance, but anything is possible. Bookies’ money is safe with anything put on these nations.

BRAZIL
Star Players: Fischer, Andriato, Panizo
Odds to get out of the group: 15-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 2,000-1

CROATIA
Star Player: Kiserlovski
Odds to get out of the group: Evens
Odds to win the World Cup: 30-1

MEXICO
Star Players: Lemus
Odds to get out of the group: 5-2
Odds to win the World Cup: 500-1

CAMEROON
Star Players:  Searching….
Odds to get out of the group: 15-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 2,000-1

 

GROUP B
If anything one of the toughest groups at the round ball tournament would be even tougher on two wheels. Spain and the Netherlands would still be powerful, with the added pressure of the men from Australia. Chileans are a tough lot and certainly wouldn’t be easy beats, but should be comfortably held. Spain and Australia to progress. Netherlands to miss out. Just.

SPAIN
Star Players: Contador, Rodriguez, Valverde
Odds to get out of the group: Even money
Odds to win the World Cup: 5-1

NETHERLANDS
Star Players: Terpstra, Mollema, Kelderman
Odds to get out of the group: 5-2
Odds to win the World Cup: 20-1

CHILE
Star Players: Sepulveda, Garrido, Guinez
Odds to get out of the group: 10-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 2,500-1

AUSTRALIA
Star Players: Gerrans, Matthews, Dennis, Evans
Odds to get out of the group: 2-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 12-1

 

GROUP C
This group seems ripe for Columbia’s picking. Japan will likely flog Greece and Ivory Coast but, in turn, be flogged by Quintana’s mountain men, left to entertain the crowds by popping wheelies up the climbs. If anyone knows of a top Greek or Ivory Coast road cyclist, please advise.

COLUMBIA
Star Players: Quintana, Uran, plus 23 mountain goats
Odds to get out of the group: Evens
Odds to win the World Cup: 8-1

GREECE
Star Players: Tamouridis, Ilias (MTB), Volikakis (track)
Odds to get out of the group: 8-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 5,000-1

IVORY COAST
Star Player: Does Drogba have a brother who rides?
Odds to get out of the group: 30-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 10,000-1

JAPAN
Star Players: Arashiro, Bepu
Odds to get out of the group: 2-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 30-1

 

GROUP D
This one seems pretty clear cut with two 2014 cycling heavyweights; fascinatingly one from the old world and one from the new. Rumour has is Suarez may make a guest appearance for the Uraguay-England match.

URAGUAY
Star Player: Wynants (retired)
Odds to get out of the group: 30-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 10,000-1

COSTA RICA
Star Players:  Searching….
Odds to get out of the group: 50-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 1,000,000-1

ENGLAND
Star Players: Wiggins, Froome, Cavendish
Odds to get out of the group: Betting closed
Odds to win the World Cup: 8-1

ITALY
Star Players: Nibali, Ulissi, Aru, Paolini
Odds to get out of the group: Betting closed
Odds to win the World Cup: 4-1

 

GROUP E
Can the French hold their nerve? On paper they should dominate this group, even in the head-to-head with Cancellara where they should be able to mark him out of the race. Ecuador are gambling on an Olympic BMXer whilst Honduras is still struggling to find a cyclist to compete. Our money says France to implode under Swiss precision. The only good news is that means they’ll probably play Iran in the knock out round.

SWITZERLAND
Star Players: Cancellara, Albasini, Schar, Morabito
Odds to get out of the group: Even money
Odds to win the World Cup: 12-1

ECUADOR
Star Players: Guama, Falla (BMX)
Odds to get out of the group: 25-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 10,000-1

FRANCE
Star Players: Rolland, Barguil, Chavanel, Bouhanni
Odds to get out of the group: Betting closed
Odds to win the World Cup: 7-1

HONDURAS
Star Players:  Searching….
Odds to get out of the group: Write your own ticket
Odds to win the World Cup: 1,000,000-1

 

GROUP F
Without much doubt one of the weakest groups. Ever. Argentina have sprung the surprise of the tournament by enticing Argentine-born Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha out of retirement which might just be enough to get them past the group stage. Arguably the most compelling story out of Group F is likely to be how the Iranians fit their star rider’s name on the back of his jersey, all 19 letters of it.

ARGENTINA
Star Players: Diaz, Haedo, Flecha
Odds to get out of the group: 3-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 2,000-1

BOZNIA & HERZEGOVINA
Star Player: Kuvalja
Odds to get out of the group: 5-2
Odds to win the World Cup: 2,000-1

IRAN
Star Player: Pourseyedigolakhour
Odds to get out of the group: 2-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 2,000-1

NIGERIA
Star Players: Searching….
Odds to get out of the group: 20-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 1,000,000-1

 

GROUP G
You have to admire zee Germans. They may not always win (although we suspect they might this time) but whatever the tournament, they always show up ready to go. With three of the world’s finest sprinters and the best in the time trial they’ll likely decimate this group, even if it boasts two of the better smokeys for the title, Portugal and the USA. The Portugal-USA match-up may be critical in the shaping of the entire tournament. We suspect Rui Costa’s men might just get the dolmades. Which of course are Greek which makes no sense.

GERMANY
Star Players: Greipel, Kittel, Degenkolb, Martin, Voigt
Odds to get out of the group: Even money
Odds to win the World Cup: 10-1

PORTUGAL
Star Players: Costa, Azevedo
Odds to get out of the group: 2-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 30-1

GHANA
Star Players:  Searching….
Odds to get out of the group: 100-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 1,000,000-1

USA
Star Players: Phinney, Van Garderen, Horner
Odds to get out of the group: Even money
Odds to win the World Cup: 15-1

 

GROUP H
Another lop-sided group with two stand-out nations. Belgium have class and history on their side. Russia have money and population. Algeria and Korea have nothing, save for the game against each other to look forward to, then it’s off to Ipanema beach for a swim. Belgium to top the group.

BELGIUM
Star Players: Boonen, Gilbert, Vanmarcke
Odds to get out of the group: Betting closed
Odds to win the World Cup: 7-1

ALGERIA
Star Players:  Searching….
Odds to get out of the group: 25-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 1,000,000-1

RUSSIA
Star Players: Ovechkin, Kolobnev, Belkov
Odds to get out of the group: Even money
Odds to win the World Cup: 50-1

KOREAN REPUBLIC
Star Players:  Searching….
Odds to get out of the group: 20-1
Odds to win the World Cup: 2,000-1

 

KNOCKOUT ROUNDS
As you can see from the chart, below, we’re thinking Germany’s team of sprinters will take it out, holding their nerve in the face of yet more Spanish infighting in an intense final that really should have suited Spain, given the course took riders up and down Rio’s Corcovado mountain (site of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue) 19 times – the first 18 of which saw Jens Voigt off the front in an audacious solo attack.

After losing to Germany in the semi-final, the Mark Cavendish-led English team will deliver a sword to the already broken hearts of Portuguese fans in the 3rd/4th playoff.

On the sidelines, Ladbrokes is offering short odds that Brian Cookson will head butt Sep Blatter.

2014 World Cup Cycling

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup/10501412/World-Cup-2014-Wallchart-Predictor-Game.html

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2 thoughts on “What if the 2014 World Cup was on bikes?

  1. And shock of shocks, McQuaid defends the bidding process as Qatar wins the right to host 2022 World Cup.

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