Today starts the beginning of a month-long celebration for soccer fans. The World Cup, the most-watched event in the world. Taking a break from working soccer camps, North Texas head coach John Hedlund stopped by to give his predictions and insight on the World Cup.
Can you give Mean Green fans some games to watch?
Hedlund: "The US/England game on Saturday is huge. I think whoever wins that game, wins the group. A loss would be devastating for either team. If you lose, you probably won't get out of your group. The U.S. needs at least a tie and a win would be huge.
Another good group match game is Argentina/Nigeria. I predict that both teams will come out of the group. Nigeria is playing the best out of the Africa teams, and Argentina has the best player in the world in Lionel Messi. I have Argentina going to the semi-finals
France/Mexico will be a good game. I have both teams coming out of the group. They are two strong teams. I think Mexico has a well-rounded team, and France has Franck Ribéry.
Italy has a tough test with Paraguay with its first game of the tournament. Italy has won three World Cups, including the most recent one. Italy has one of the top forwards in the world in Daniele De Rossi.
And the Ivory Coast/Portugal game will be interesting. Didier Drogba broke his arm, and it will be interesting to see if he plays. He is one of the top five forwards in the world."
Five Reasons To Watch The US/England Game, According To John Hedlund
Passion - "You will see such passion for the game. On the English side, there is such history and tradition with the game."
David vs. Goliath - "Soccer is England's No. 1 sport. Soccer takes a backseat in the U.S. A loss would be devastating to England."
Wayne Rooney/Peter Crouch (England) - "I am concerned about two players on the England side. Rooney is a tremendous finisher and Crouch is 6-10 and the U.S. may not be able to match up with him."
Landon Donovan (USA) - "Donovan can really make a name for himself. He should be attacking out of the midfield. This could be breakout World Cup for him."
Tim Howard (USA Keeper) - "Howard is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He needs to have a big game."
What To Look For In The US/England Game, According To John Hedlund
High-Level of Skill - "You are going to see highly-skilled players in this game. And not just skilled with their feet, but with their heads and bodies."
Possession Game - "The U.S. will probably play a defensive game, but they will have to possess the ball in order to take the game from England."
England's Game - "England is tremendous in the air and plays a very direct game."
Players To Watch
It always helps to know some players when you are watching the games. Here is a list of players that John Hedlund says to keep an eye on during the World Cup.
Portugal - Cristiano Ronaldo
Brazil - Kake' and Robinho
England - Wayne Rooney
Argentina - Lionel Messi
Spain - Fernando Torres
France - Franck Ribéry
Italy - Daniele De Rossi
Ivory Coast - Didier Drogba
Netherlands - Rafael Van der Vaart
Germany - Mesut Özil
John Hedlund gave us his predictions for the World Cup. We will have to see if they work out!
Final - Spain over Brazil
Surprise team - Nigeria
Spain over Argentina
Brazil over Nigeria
France over Nigeria
Argentina over Mexico
England over Serbia
Germany over U.S.
Netherlands over Slovakia
Italy over Cameroon
Brazil over Chile
Spain over Ivory Coast
Teams Advancing Out of Group Play
Group A - France and Mexico
Group B - Argentina and Nigeria
Group C - England and USA
Group D - Germany and Serbia
Group E - Netherlands and Cameroon
Group F - Italy and Slovakia
Group G - Brazil and Portugal
Group H - Spain and Chile