There were 13 teams representing Europe in the 2014 World Cup and the entire continent had high hopes for their teams. A number of the favorites were from Europe, Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, England and The Netherlands. All these teams had dreams of advancing beyond the group stages and making their way to the final. Coming to the end of the group stages, Spain, Italy, England, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina have been eliminated. Germany, Portugal, and Russia are playing their last group game, with Portugal and Russia fighting for survival. The future for some of these teams do not seem as bright as they were thought to be.
Spain, which has dominated international football for most of the last decade, was unable to use their tiki taka style to qualify, managing just a single win in the group stages. Questions are now being asked about which players should return for Spain, and whether coach Vicente Del Bosque should continue. Players like Xavi Hernandez and David Villa most likely will not be returning to the team, and Xabi Alonso’s and Iker Casillas’ futures are in doubt. Players like Pique, Cesc Fabregas and Jordi Alba have been criticized due to their undisciplined behavior, and may not make the team in 2018. There are younger players waiting to play such as David De Gea, Carvajal, Barta, Koke, Alberto Moreno, Ander Herrera, Isco, Thiago Alcantara, and Javi Martinez.. These guys would accept the challenge of helping Spain return to dominance.
After Italy lost its must win game against Uruguay in the group stage, Coach Cesar Prandelli and President Giancarlo Abete resigned. They took full responsibility for the disappointing performance, deciding it was best the team not be in their hands anymore. The other storyline from the Azzurri was that Mario Balotelli failed to lead his country to the round of 16. In their next two games after beating England Balotelli recorded just one shot on target, and picked up two yellow cards. Relying on Balotelli is difficult scenario, not least because of his inconsistent play and character, hopefully 2018 will be a different story.
England had their worst ever effort in the World Cup, scoring the least amount of points the history of the team. It is the first time the team failed to advance to the round of 16 since 1958. At 36-years old, team captain Frank Lampard could have played his last game for England, but he is confident that the team will be able to succeed in the future without him. The future looks much bright for England’s national team because of young players like Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, and Joe Hart.
Germany currently leads Group G, and plays USA tonight. All they need is a draw or a win to advance to the next round. The odds are in their favor. Portugal is in a much more difficult situation, they are in need of a lot of luck to advance. They need a victory by at least 3 goals, and a United States loss by at least 2. Russia must win against Algeria, a victory ensuring they make it to the next round.
Of all the European teams, only one is believed to have a chance to win this World Cup, and that is the Netherlands. They have continued their great performance in the last World Cup, winning their group with 9 points.
Europe has so far had a disappointing showing. The future for some teams look brighter than others, and other teams have many questions to be answered, but for now these teams that have been eliminated are ready to relax for the time being before figuring out their futures For some teams fresh faces are needed, and for other teams a redevelopment of current players is needed.