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.
YOUNGSTERS at Lee Chapel Primary School have said Group G is the toughest group of them all to call.
But George, Dominic, Liam, Daniel, Joseph, James, Joshua, Jake and Cameron think Germany will finish top.
Daniel: Germany are the best team in the group, they could win the tournament.
Joseph: Portugal only have one really good player so I don’t think they can win the tournament.
Cameron: I don’t think Portugal’s defence is good enough to stop the Germany strikers in that match.
Echoport Reporter Luke: The group is probably one of the toughest ones to call as Ghana were only denied a place in the World Cup semi-finals four years ago because of Luis Suarez’ handball on the line. Don’t you think they can get through the group?
James: Ghana have some good players. (Michael) Essien and (Asamoah) Gyan have been good in the Premiership and the USA aren’t too bad.
Ghanaian powerhouse - Michael Essien
The joker of the group, Cameron, agreed.
(Brad) Guzan is a good goalkeeper but he looks a bit like a vampire and Tim Howard is old so his back will hurt if he makes a lot of saves.
Daniel: Germany will be too good for the other teams. They have so many different goalscorers and (Miroslav) Klose will be a danger to all the sides, despite his age.
Echosport Luke: Can Portugal finish ahead of Germany?
Liam: They only have one really good player, Cristiano Ronaldo, so I don’t think they will be able to beat them. Nani and Pepe are good but that won’t be enough.
Jake and Joshua agree: It is sad that (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic won’t be at the World Cup because he is one of the best and has a lot of pace.
The group think Belgium will be the surprise package of the tournament in Brazil, citing players such as Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois – and Joshua believes Courtois is the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment.
Romelu Lukaku (pictured celebrating for Everton) will be Belgiam's focal goal threat
Cameron: He is not the best player in the world, to which the group reply: you are only saying that because you bought him on FIFA 2014 and he conceded five goals.
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?
George: I would play Lampard instead of Gerrard. They can’t really play together and I think Lampard is better.
Much of the group disagree with this view.
Echosport Luke: Do you think Roy Hodgson’s policy of taking young players could backfire?
Joseph: Possibly. I would have taken (Kieran) Gibbs over the left backs taken but he doesn’t really get played. Flanagan (who is on stand-by) is rubbish.
Cameron: England will go through and Uruguay will score more than Italy in the group so I think they will go through on goal difference, although it will be very tight.
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.
16/6: Germany v Portugal Echo: 1-1 Lee Chapel: 2-1
16/6: Ghana v USA Echo: 1-0 Lee Chapel: 0-1
21/6: Germany v Ghana Echo: 2-0 Lee Chapel: 3-0
22/6: USA v Portugal Echo: 1-2 Lee Chapel: 1-2
26/6: USA v Germany Echo: 0-3 Lee Chapel: 0-2
26/6: Portugal v Ghana Echo: 3-1 Lee Chapel: 2-0