2014WorldCup

PST writers make World Cup picks and predictions

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With the start of the World Cup fast approaching, we’ve been having some fun here at PST.

Our wonderful staff have pit their wits against each other and were asked to come up with their predictions for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

RELATED: World Cup homepage, the latest news from Brazil

Needless to say, banter has been flying around: “Seriously… the U.S. is going to the quarterfinals?” “Umm… I think you made a mistake with England, guys.”

As they say, making these picks is all part of the fun.

Below we have full selections from the PST crew, and why not have a go yourself in the comments section below.

Have fun and enjoy studying the field before watching your picks disintegrate in the first week  following the first wave of upsets. Come on… it always happens!

Joe Prince-Wright

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon. Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia. Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece. Group D: Uruguay, England, Italy, Costa Rica. Group E: France, Ecuador, Switzerland, Honduras. Group F: Argentina, Bosnia, Nigeria, Iran. Group G: Germany, Portugal, USA, Ghana. Group H: Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Algeria

 

source:
JPW has hosts Brazil winning their sixth World Cup.

Round of 16
Brazil over Netherlands
Spain over Croatia
England over Colombia
Ivory Coast over Uruguay
Bosnia over France
Argentina over Ecuador
Germany over Russia
Belgium over Portugal

Quarterfinals
Brazil over England
Germany over Bosnia
Argentina over Belgium
Spain over Ivory Coast

Semifinals
Brazil over Germany
Argentina over Spain

Third place
Spain over Germany

Final
Brazil over Argentina

Richard Farley

Group A: Brazil, Mexico, Croatia, Cameroon. Group B: Spain, Chile, Netherlands, Australia. Group C: Colombia, Japan, Ivory Coast, Greece. Group D: Uruguay, Italy, England, Costa Rica. Group E: Switzerland, France, Ecuador, Honduras. Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Iran. Group G: Germany, Portugal, United States, Ghana. Group H: Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Algeria

Round of 16
Chile over Brazil
Italy over Colombia
Switzerland over Bosnia and Herzegovina
Germany over Russia
Spain over Mexico
Uruguay over Japan
Argentina over France
Portugal over Belgium

source:
Farley has gone for Spain to win back-to-back titles.

Quarterfinals
Chile over Italy
Germany over Switzerland
Spain over Uruguay
Argentina over Portugal

Semifinals
Germany over Chile
Spain over Argentina

Third place
Chile over Argentina

Final
Spain over Germany

Mike Prindiville

Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia, Mexico. Group B: Chile, Spain, Netherlands, Australia. Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece. Group D: Italy, Uruguay, England, Costa Rica. Group E: France, Ecuador, Switzerland, Honduras. Group F: Argentina, Bosnia, Nigeria, Iran. Group G: Germany, USA, Portugal, Ghana. Group H: Russia, Belgium, Korea, Algeria

Round of 16
Brazil over Spain
Chile over Cameroon
Uruguay over Colombia
Ivory Coast over Italy
France over Bosnia
Argentina over Ecuador
Germany over Belgium
USA over Russia

source:
Les Elephants are Prindi’s surprise pick to reach the final four.

Quarterfinals
Brazil over Uruguay
France over Germany
Argentina over USA
Ivory Coast over Chile

Semifinals
Brazil over France
Argentina over Ivory Coast

Third place
Ivory Coast over France

Final
Brazil over Argentina

 

Kyle Bonn

Group stages

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico. Cameroon. Group B: Spain ,Netherlands, Chile, Australia. Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece. Group D: Italy, Uruguay. England, Costa Rica. Group E: France, Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras. Group F: Argentina, Bosnia, Nigeria, Iran. Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States. Group H: Russia, Belgium, South Korea, Algeria.

source:
According to Kyle, Bosnia is heading to the semifinals.

Round of 16
Brazil over Netherlands
Spain over Croatia
Uruguay over Colombia
Italy over Ivory Coast
Bosnia over France
Argentina over Switzerland
Germany over Belgium
Portugal over Russia

Quarterfinals
Brazil over Uruguay
Spain over Italy
Bosnia over Germany
Argentina over Portugal

Semifinals
Brazil over Bosnia
Argentina over Spain

Third place
Spain over Bosnia

Final
Brazil over Argentina

Kirsten Schlewitz

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon. Group B: Spain, Chile, Netherlands, Australia. Group C: Colombia, Japan, Greece, Ivory Coast. Group D: Italy, Uruguay, England, Costa Rica. Group E: France, Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras. Group F: Argentina, Bosnia, Nigeria, Iran. Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA. Group H: Belgium, South Korea, Russia, Algeria.

source:
Kirsten is going with Brazil. If in doubt… pick the host nation.

Round of 16
Brazil over Chile
Colombia over Uruguay
France over Bosnia
Germany over South Korea
Spain over Croatia
Italy over Japan
Argentina over Switzerland
Belgium over Portugal

Quarterfinals
Brazil over Colombia
France over Germany
Spain over Italy
Argentina over Belgium

Semifinals
Brazil over France
Spain over Argentina

Third place
France over Argentina

Final
Brazil over Spain

Nick Mendola

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Cameroon, Mexico. Group B: Chile, Spain, Netherlands, Australia. Group C: Ivory Coast, Greece, Colombia, Japan. Group D: Italy, Uruguay, England, Costa Rica. Group E: France, Switzerland, Honduras, Ecuador. Group F: Argentina, Bosnia, Nigeria, Iran. Group G: Germany, USA, Portugal, Ghana. Group H: Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Algeria

Round of 16

Brazil over Spain
Uruguay over Ivory Coast
France over Bosnia
Germany over Russia
Chile over Croatia
Italy over Greece
Argentina over Switzerland
Belgium over USA

source:
Mendola thinks Germany will win its fourth World Cup.

Quarterfinals
Italy over Chile
Argentina over Belgium
Germany over France
Brazil over Uruguay

Semifinals
Germany over Brazil
Italy over Argentina

Third place
Brazil over Argentina

Final
Germany over Italy

Relegation picture: The situation for Newcastle, Sunderland, Norwich

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This is tight, tense and getting horrible for the three teams battling it out at the bottom.

We know Aston Villa has already been relegated but three teams — Norwich City, Sunderland and Newcastle United — are in a dogfight to avoid relegation.

Three into two doesn’t go.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Just two points separates the three aforementioned teams going into the final two weeks of the season. Plus, Crystal Palace isn’t out of the picture either as they have 39 points but Alan Pardew‘s side should be fine. Just.

Newcastle United is the form team as Rafael Benitez’s side is now unbeaten in four games and grabbed a huge 1-0 win against Palace on Saturday, while Sunderland is solid under Sam Allardyce and have lost just once in eight games but have six draws in that span.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule | standings

Norwich is reeling after three defeats on the spin and Alex Neil‘s side is running out of time as they lost 1-0 at Arsenal on Saturday despite a brave, battling display.

Below is a look at the relegation picture, plus the remaining fixtures for all three teams as Newcastle have just two games left, while both Sunderland and Norwich have three.

Who do you think will survive out of these three teams?


Newcastle United – 17th place, 33 points

May 7 – Aston Villa (A)
May 15 – Tottenham Hotspur (H)

Sunderland – 18th place, 32 points

May 7 – Chelsea (H)
May 11 – Everton (H)
May 15 – Watford (A)

Norwich City – 19th place, 31 points

May 7 – Manchester United (H)
May 11 – Watford (H)
May 15 – Everton (A)


Looking at the schedules above, Newcastle has a great chance of getting at least three points from their remaining two games with an away trip to Aston Villa up next, plus if Tottenham is out of the title race heading into the final game then it may be a great chance to pick up another three points at home.

Sunderland will find it tough going against Chelsea and Everton but home advantage will be key, while the final game away at Watford, a team who has nothing to play for, could be the crucial one. They hold their own destiny in their hands. Win all three and they will stay up.

As for Norwich, they won’t expect much against Manchester United next up but they will fancy their chances of picking up at least four points against Watford and Everton in their final two games. Simply put, nobody knows which of these two teams will go down and it’s likely to stay that way until the final minutes of the season.

Arsenal 1-0 Norwich City: Amid protests, Welbeck pulls Gunners third

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30:  Danny Welbeck of Arsenal celebrates scoring the opening goal with Olivier Giroud (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at The Emirates Stadium on April 30, 2016 in London, England  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images
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  • Gunners scoreless streak ends at 200 mins
  • Welbeck subs on to score
  • Norwich stay 19th

Danny Welbeck‘s second-half goal was enough to give Arsenal a much-needed three points from Norwich City’s visit on Saturday.

The Emirates Stadium started with protests, and the Gunners didn’t do a ton to quiet Arsene Wenger‘s critics in the 1-0 match.

Arsenal does, however, pull three points clear of fourth place Manchester City, which plays Sunday at Southampton.

Norwich, meanwhile, is two points back of Newcastle and one point back of Sunderland as the race for 17th continues in England. Newcastle has played one more match than each of its competitors.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal couldn’t find a way through Norwich City’s defense in the first half, entering the break without scoring a goal in 187 minutes. After taking a 2-0 lead in the 38th minute against West Brom, the Gunners were blanked in the second half, then in a 0-0 draw with Sunderland.

Norwich had a chance or two during a late 10-minute run of play, but couldn’t beat Petr Cech. Both sides had 7 shots, but Norwich was the only to put any on frame with three.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Welbeck subbed on for Arsenal, joining Olivier Giroud up top and quickly making an impact with a shot that deflected to beat John Ruddy and give Arsenal the match’s first goal.

The Gunners still carried the play, though the chance for a pivotal point lurked with every Canaries moment of possession.

Mohamed Elneny took a phenomenal shot that Ruddy met with a similar save, when, in the 83rd minute he used the outside of his foot to swerve an effort that forced Ruddy into flight just to force a corner. Good-looking stuff.

PHOTOS: Supporters protest, support Arsene Wenger before Arsenal-Norwich

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30:  Arsenal supportes hold banners 'Time For Change' during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at The Emirates Stadium on April 30, 2016 in London, England  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images
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“Time for Change” read the sea of placards outside the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, as Arsenal fans protested the continued employment of its legendary manager.

Many consider this season a wasted opportunity for Arsenal to lay claim to a first Premier League title since 2003-04, and have laid the blame at the feet of manager Arsene Wenger.

[ MORE: Everton’s moving tribute to Hillsborough 96 ]

There were some expressing support for their beloved boss, and we’ve got all that and more below. The match is scoreless as halftime, as Arsenal continues to have trouble scoring against relegation threatened rivals.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Arsenal supportes hold banners 'Time For Change' during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at The Emirates Stadium on April 30, 2016 in London, England (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was processed using digital filters) Arsenal supporters hold a banner saying 'Arsene Thanks for the Memories But It's Time To Say Goodbye' prior the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at The Emirates Stadium on April 30, 2016 in London, England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: An Arsenal supporter holds banner 'Proud of Arsene Ashamed of Fans' during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at The Emirates Stadium on April 30, 2016 in London, England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: A banner protesting to Arsene Wenger is seen prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at The Emirates Stadium on April 30, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

And some had some pretty good fun with the protests:

Sunderland hail “brilliant point” but Allardyce fuming at refs

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Sam Allardyce, manager of Sunderland reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium on April 30, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
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Sam Allardyce was fuming with the officials as Sunderland drew 1-1 at Stoke City on Saturday.

The Black Cats netted a last-gasp penalty kick via Jermain Defoe to move onto 32 points but slipped into the relegation zone courtesy of Newcastle United’s huge home win against Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: Deeney “sticks it to Villa” ]

Sunderland have a game in hand over Newcastle but they are a point behind. Things are getting very tight as two from Sunderland, Norwich and Newcastle will be relegated.

Speaking after the game, Allardyce feels his side continue to get unlucky with calls from officials and it is starting to wear thin with Big Sam.

“The disappointment is, how many points do they take away from us in this battle against relegation that cost us so dear?” Allardyce told Sky Sports. “All this rubbish about people saying it evens itself out, that’s the biggest load of rubbish I’ve ever heard in my life.

“We’ve had countless opportunities ourselves to win games, so we’ve got ourselves to blame as well but the last thing we want at this stage of the season, with so few games left, is to not get what we deserve. In the last two games, today and last week we certainly didn’t get what we deserved off the officials as far as I was concerned. But I am pleased he was brave enough in the last minute to give a penalty in against Jermain Defoe.”

On reflection, Allardyce agreed that it was a “brilliant point” for his team and but he still couldn’t resist another moan at the officials.

From the BBC:

“It is a brilliant point in the end but for me one that could have been a win rather than the draw,” Allardyce said. “Obviously they didn’t deserve their goal because it was a blatant foul on Younes Kaboul and we should have had a penalty when Geoff Cameron flicks the ball with his hand and referee and his assistant don’t see it. Those things have gone against us today which has not allowed us to be in a position to win it. It is a very precious point and in the end the referee was brave and good enough to make the right decision for us for the penalty.”

The incidents in question are certainly debatable. For Stoke’s goal it did appear that Peter Crouch had his arms on Kaboul when he nodded down for Arnautovic and Allardyce can have complaints about that. Last week a handball decision against Per Mertesacker didn’t go Sunderland’s way and if you add up those two calls, that’s an extra four points for the Black Cats.

[ VIDEO: Townsend scores screamer

However, with Sunderland not really at the races at Stoke and still managing to grind out a point to keep their PL fate in their own hands, he has to be happy enough.

They now have home games against Chelsea and Everton coming up, with the final game of the season away at Watford. Seven points from that will see Newcastle unable to mathematically finish above them.

It’s a big ask but what if Big Sam starts getting some big decisions in Sunderland’s favor?