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Head to Head:
Life after Suarez

Liverpool Jul 16, 2014
Read
 Posted by Iain Macintosh
Jul 16, 2014

Moving from World Cup to the Prem

Scott Minto and Steffen Freund watched the FIFA World Cup final live from the control room at Waterloo Station.

As the World Cup comes to an end and preparations begin for the new Premier League season, Iain Macintosh calls a truce to the war between club and country and looks for potential alliances instead.

Germany: Well-funded, shrewdly managed and much more entertaining than they used to be. Whether you like it or not, they are going to be at the top for some time. Manchester City

Argentina: Despite their lofty reputation, they haven't actually won the title for more than two decades, and looking back, you wonder how reliant they were on one star player. Liverpool

Netherlands: Ruthlessly managed by a tactically excellent egotist who has no compunction telling everyone to defend on the edge of the box if he feels that it is the best way to win. Chelsea

Brazil: Their name alone evokes memories of glorious football and unprecedented triumphs, but this year was an absolute disaster and the manager must pay the price. Manchester United

Anderson hardly played for United or Brazil in recent years, but his image is symbolic of both teams' dizzying falls.

Colombia: Attractive, managed by a purist and stacked to the rafters with attacking midfielders but fell just short. Won a Fair Play trinket though, so it wasn't an entirely wasted exercise. Arsenal

France: Far more attractive and likeable than they have been in recent years. Performed well, but not so well that the landscape has been permanently altered. Yet. Everton

Belgium: High expectations were quickly dampened, and although it wasn't a disastrous tournament, with the players at their disposal you would think that they could have done a little bit better. Tottenham

Costa Rica: No one expected them to avoid early elimination, let alone clatter through the final stages and finish in a position usually reserved for bigger names. Crystal Palace

Algeria: Burdened with a reputation for overly defensive football, they really were far more entertaining than anyone expected and finished quite respectably. Stoke

United States: Their relative success was built on clear foundations of teamwork, determination, bravery and a refusal to be cowed by bigger sides. Expect those bigger sides to take note. Southampton

- Cobos: Brazil will be better prepared for 2018
- Lomas: World Cup swan song XI
- Ames: Rating the World Cup's innovations

Chile: Neutrals' favourite. Capable of breathtaking attacking football, but when you look back, they didn't actually do as well as you might have thought. Swansea

Italy: Brilliant two campaigns ago, but this has been the second crushing disappointment on the bounce, and there are serious concerns about the direction in which they're heading. Newcastle

Mexico: A likeable, tubby manager uses a back three to guide his unfancied team to a thoroughly deserved, respectable finish. Hull

Greece: You wouldn't want to pay to watch them every week, but with disciplined defending and well-worked set pieces, they always do just enough to meet expectations. West Ham

Japan: A squad of decent-enough players playing decent-enough football, but compromised by the total lack of a prolific, or even half-prolific, striker. West Brom

Iran: You wonder what's going on behind the scenes sometimes, but you have to credit the new manager for avoiding the humiliation that everyone expected. Sunderland

Earlier this summer, Aston Villa announced the signing of former England international Joe Cole.

England: Bafflingly considered newsworthy even though it's harder and harder to remember a time when they were actually any good. Aston Villa

Ghana: Not a huge historical name, but with some of the players they have, you would expect them to do far better. Perhaps the real problem is at the boardroom level. Norwich

South Korea: A consistent presence in this competition for far longer than you'd think. They usually entertain, but they really let themselves down this year. Fulham

Cameroon: Absolute chaos behind the scenes left a fractured squad unclear of where the power lies in the dressing room. A disaster and a real missed opportunity. Cardiff

And what about the three teams promoted to the Premier League in May? To which World Cup wannabes do they compare?

QPR: There's a lot of money swilling about 'round here, but the last time they played in top-level competition, it was a very disappointing experience. Ukraine

Burnley: A proud old name of football fallen on hard times and now forced to do everything on the cheap -- with some recent success. Scotland

Leicester: Sizeable supporter base, financially secure, but it's been a while since they graced a major competition. Turkey

Iain Macintosh

Iain Macintosh is a U.K. football correspondent for The New Paper in Singapore, writer for ESPN and co-author of "Football Manager Stole My Life" from @backpagepress. You can follow him on Twitter @iainmacintosh.

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