64 matches, 32 countries, one winner. The World Cup is once again upon us, with the very best footballers on the planet competing for the ultimate prize. To mark the occasion the EchoSport reporters are pitting their wits against some of south Essex’s best and brightest young football experts to see who really knows more.
POWERHOUSES Ivory Coast and surprise package Colombia will be the teams leading the way in Group C, according to the Year 6 pupils at Thundersley Primary School.
Here is what Stanley, Tommy, Harrison, Harry, Liam, James, Callum, Billy, Kye, Shanelle, Maisie and Amy thought would happen.
James: Ivory Coast are so strong. They will win this group. Easy!
Harrison: I would have said Colombia could have gone a long way but with (star striker) Falcao injured I can’t see it.
Amy: I think Japan will be the team to watch.
EchoSport reporter Luke: This may not be the easiest group to predict but you guys know your stuff! Why do you think Ivory Coast, Japan and Colombia are better than Greece?
Tommy: Ivory Coast have (Didier) Drogba, (Yaya) Toure and Gervinho going forward so pose a real threat.
Drogba - a formidable goalscorer
Billy: They are very strong but Colombia still have some good players. They will get through the group.
Shanelle and Maisie agree: Japan are the underdogs and we think they will go through.
EchoSport Luke: Do Greece have a chance?
Group: Definitely not.
Harry: They have Georgios Samaras!
Callum and Kye: They are never going to go through then!
Harrison: It is such a shame that Falcao isn’t going. It’s not just how many goals he scores but how he scores them.
Falcao - a big miss for Colombia
James: You’re just saying that because you’ve been playing FIFA 2014.
Liam: It has to be Ivory Coast. They are beasts.
So what about England? 48 years since Bobby Moore lifted the trophy do the youngsters think the Three Lions and Steven Gerrard will be repeating the feat in Rio this year?
Stanley: No they won’t win. The group is a really strong group so I don’t know what will happen.
James: England can’t even beat Honduras!
Billy and Harrison: Italy have Mario Balotelli do they are the team to beat (as they say this, the boys bear their muscles as Balotelli did after scoring in Euro 2012).
Tommy: Italy have a legendary goalkeeper. (Gianluigi) Buffon has been at the top of his game for years and they have a lot of experience in their side.
EchoSport Luke: How important is Italy’s experience?
Callum: Very important. Italy are based on experience and that worked in the past. England can’t rely on that.
EchoSport Luke: So who will win?
Harrison: Don’t rule out Belgium. They are outsiders.
Amy, Maisie and Shanelle: Brazil or another South American side will win the World Cup. They know how to win and are exciting too.
No-one can dispute that. It is going to be a summer to remember.
To bring the World Cup to south Essex, EchoSport has invited eight primary schools to take on each other (and us!) in predicting the results of the matches. A correct score line prediction will see three points awarded and the correct result one point. The school with the most points at the end of the tournament will be crowned champions.
14/6: Colombia v Greece
Echo: 2-0 Thundersley: 2-0
15/6: Ivory Coast v Japan
Echo: 1-1 Thundersley: 2-1
19/6: Colombia v Ivory Coast
Echo: 2-2 Thundersley: 1-1
19/6: Japan v Greece
Echo: 1-0 Thundersley: 1-0
24/6: Japan v Colombia
Echo: 1-1 Thundersley: 2-1
24/6: Greece v Ivory Coast
Echo: 0-2 Thundersley: 0-3
Check the Echo everyday for each school's progress