World Cup opinions are like soccer scarves. Every true soccer fan has one.
And they can really get wrapped up in both.
In these dog days of summer, the scarves aren’t needed but the discussions are heating up on what will happen in Brazil over the next month.
With that in mind, the Star talked to members of the local soccer intelligentsia: Salpointe Catholic High School coaching legend Wolfgang Weber, FC Tucson general manager Jon Pearlman, Cactus Pricks supporters’ group president Keaton Koch and Tucson Soccer Academy FC defender Nicole Lindsay.
Here’s how they answered four burning questions about the World Cup:
How will the United States fare?
Weber: “This is what I hope for — USA wins its first game versus Ghana, gets a result against Portugal and advances as No. 2 from Group G. The round of 16 will match the USA against the winner of Group H, Belgium, and the USA will score a stunning 2-1 victory but lose to Argentina in the quarterfinals.”
Pearlman: “It’s going to be a struggle to get out of the Group of Death.”
Keaton: “It all depends on the first game. If they beat Ghana, they have a great chance of getting out of the group. If they lose to Ghana, there’s zero chance of them getting out of the group. If they tie, it’s going to be extremely difficult.”
Lindsay: “They’re in a tough group with Germany and Portugal, but they could get lucky.”
How will Mexico do?
Weber: “Mexico has a realistic chance to advance as No. 2 from Group A but must get results from its games against Croatia and Cameroon. In the round of 16, they will lose to the winner of Group B, Spain.”
Pearlman: “I think Mexico could get out of the group, just because of the nature of the group.”
Keaton: “I think they are going to advance. They’ll lose to Brazil but win their other two games easily. If Chicharito (Javier Hernández) can get it together, I think they’ll advance to the semis.”
Lindsay: “Anything could happen for Mexico, considering their group.”
What country do you think will take home the trophy?
Weber: “Germany and Argentina will reach the final and Germany could win it all. I predict that Brazil and Germany will meet in one semifinal and Spain and Argentina in the other.”
Pearlman: “I’m going to say Germany wins it over Spain because of depth. It really makes a difference over that period of time.”
Keaton: “I originally thought Brazil would win. I still think Brazil will win, I just don’t have as much confidence in them. I think they should have called up a veteran, like Kaká or Ronaldinho.”
Lindsay: “I’m going for Germany. I am German, after all. I think there’s a lot of pressure on Brazil.”
How will the tournament go in Brazil?
Weber: “Brazil has not hosted the World Cup since 1950. I think it will be special and memorable event – in a country full of soccer tradition and soccer excellence.”
Pearlman: “There’s going to be probably infrastructure and logistical problems, but the mood and atmosphere will overwhelm that. Brazil is the kind of place where people will take people into their homes, and I believe it will go beautifully.”
Keaton: “They’re the best country in the world at soccer. Everyone there loves soccer, so it will be big.”
Lindsay: “I think it being in one of the countries that highly supports football, it’s going to go good.”