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With the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicking off Thursday in Brazil, TSN. [url=http://www.authenticbasketballshopheat.com/goran-dragic-heat-jersey/]Goran Dragic Jersey[/url] .cas panel of experts is here to provide you with sage advice, or at least best guesses. We asked TSNs team of soccer analysts to provide their picks for the group stage. Read on to find out who is in contention and who might be looking at an early exit. The panel consists of TSN Soccer Analysts Jason deVos, Luke Wileman and Kristian Jack, TSN Radio 1050 Toronto host Gareth Wheeler, TSN Radio 690 Montreals Noel Butler and TSN.ca soccer editors Shane McNeil and Ken Rodney. Group A: 1. Brazil, 2. Croatia 3. Cameroon, 4. Mexico. No one seems to have much doubt that the hosts are advancing to the second round and they have been chosen unanimously as group winners by TSNs experts. While Neymars training scare did sound a few alarms, it was pretty clear that Brazil was the team to back in Group A, and for several of our analysts, the team to take it all. Second place is a bit more of a toss-up with three perennially competitive teams rounding out the group, but Croatia got solid backing from more than half the TSN team. The likes of Mario Mandzukic and Luka Modric make them an offensive force and will likely provide the offence they need to make the Round of 16. Mexico has advanced to the Round of 16 in each of the last five World Cups, but their appalling qualifying performance has them on the outside looking in. The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon have only once advanced out of the group stage but still got some second-place consideration. Picks - deVos: Brazil, Croatia. Jack: Brazil, Mexico. Wileman: Brazil, Cameroon. Wheeler: Brazil, Croatia. Butler: Brazil, Croatia. McNeil: Brazil, Croatia. Rodney: Brazil, Croatia. Group B: 1. Spain, 2. Netherlands, 3. Chile, 4. Australia. One of the more stacked groups in the competition, Group B was a divisive force amongst the TSN soccer team with the two reigning finalists pulling first- and second-place votes away from one another. The Champs, though, did prevail, and Spain is the consensus pick to top the group. Theyve won three straight tournaments dating back to Euro 2008 and theres not much to suggest they arent going to be competitive in Brazil. Dont underestimate the importance of group play here, because whoever finishes second will in all likelihood draw Brazil in the Round of 16. While Chile was picked as a second-place finisher on more than one ballot (and first by Kristian Jack!), the Netherlands took the second spot in the group. And why not? With the likes of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, the Dutch are wired to score in droves. The Australians will have to settle for a participation ribbon in this competition. Picks - deVos: Spain, Chile. Jack: Chile, Netherlands. Wileman: Spain, Netherlands . Wheeler: Spain, Netherlands. Butler: Spain, Chile. McNeil: Netherlands, Spain. Rodney: Spain, Netherlands. Group C: 1. Ivory Coast, 2. Colombia, 3. Japan, 4. Greece. This is another balanced group that prompted a wide variety of scenarios from our analysts. In the end, though, two teams emerged well ahead as the cream of the group. Unfortunately, those two teams wound up in a dead heat in terms of votes received. Were giving Ivory Coast the nod by virtue of having more first-place votes, so watch out for Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and the rest of the Elephants to step up amid fierce competition. Colombia was the easy choice for second place and may well have been the favourite here if Radamel Falcao were fit enough to play. We still like their chances to advance and make a serious run at topping the group. Japans Samurai seem to succeed at the World Cup every other tournament (they made the Round of 16 in South Africa), but they are up against some serious competition in this group that doesnt really have a minnow. Greece is a team that can usually lull its way into the playoffs with staunch defence, but they were unable to convince our analysts that they will silence Colombia or the Ivorians. Picks - deVos: Colombia, Ivory Coast. Jack: Colombia, Japan. Wileman: Colombia, Ivory Coast. Wheeler: Ivory Coast, Colombia. Butler: Ivory Coast, Colombia. McNeil: Ivory Coast, Greece. Rodney: Ivory Coast, Colombia. Group D: 1. Uruguay, 2. Italy, 3. England, 4. Costa Rica. Yes, we know, you probably disagree. As you can see below, the vote was razor thin with little wiggle room between the reigning the perennial picks from England and Italy and the reigning bronze medalists from Uruguay. Heres the logic: Luis Suarez is not 100 per cent, but he is still probably the breakout player of the group. The Uruguayans will be buoyed by the fact that they won the World Cup last time it was held in Brazil and were the top-ranked team in the group at the time of the draw. They received the most first-place votes of any team in the group from our panel. The margin between England and Italy is harder to discern. All our analysts conceded that both have the talent to go through but both are facing obstacles. England has the tougher games to start their group play, while Italys travel schedule works against them. Theres no easy way to pick this group, since its one of several Groups of Death in this competition. If you dont like our picks, change them. The vote was so split in this group that its hard to call this a true consensus choice. Picks - deVos: Italy, Uruguay. Jack: Uruguay, Italy. Wileman: Italy, England. Wheeler: England, Italy. Butler: England, Italy. McNeil: Uruguay, England. Rodney: Uruguay, Italy. Group E: 1. France, 2. Ecuador, 3. Switzerland, 4. Honduras. In the second unanimous decision, France emerged as the clear favourite from Group E. Theyve alternated between sublime and ugly at each World Cup since hosting in 1998. The 2010 effort in South Africa could not have been uglier, so that leaves nothing but room for improvement. Losing Franck Ribery stings, but Les Bleus have the depth to at least top this quartet. The race for second was tight. Ecuadors Antonio Valencia showed hes in full compete mode by getting a red in a recent friendly against England, so if he comes out and plays at the top of his game, it should propel yet another South American team into the playoffs. The Swiss were one of the surprise teams in the top seeding pot for the 2014 draw and as such should also be considered a serious threat to advance. No one seems to be a believer in Honduras. Picks - deVos: France, Ecuador. Jack: France, Switzerland. Wileman: France, Ecuador. Wheeler: France, Switzerland. Butler: France, Switzerland. McNeil: France, Ecuador. Rodney: France, Ecuador. Group F: 1. Argentina, 2. Nigeria, 3. Bosnia and Herzegovina, 4. Iran. To the surprise of few, were picking Lionel Messi, Kun Aguero and the rest of Argentinas potent attack to easily run this group and – like their rivals from Brazil – theyre a popular pick to take the entire tournament. Nigerias Super Eagles are our pick to take second in the group behind some English Premier League talent in their midfield in the forms of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses. Some of our resident internet nerds from TSN.ca really like Bosnia and Herzegovinas chances and the team did score a heap of goals in qualifying, but Edin Dzeko and co. came up short in the vote and may have to settle for thrilling their fans simply by making their first-ever appearance. Iran has won just one game in three previous trips to the World Cup. Picks - deVos: Argentina, Bosnia/Herzegovina. Jack: Argentina, Nigeria. Wileman: Argentina, Nigeria. Wheeler: Argentina, Nigeria. Butler: Argentina, Nigeria. McNeil: Argentina, Bosnia/Herzegovina. Rodney: Argentina, Bosnia/Herzegovina. Group G: 1. Germany, 2. Portugal, 3. USA, 4. Ghana. The deepest of the groups from top to bottom, the only thing everyone could agree on was that the Germans are going through. They dont tend to leave the group stage to chance and have finished in the top eight at every World Cup since being banned from the 1950 World Cup (also in Brazil). They will get through and in all likelihood as group-winners. Portugal gets the second-place vote here but it wasnt a unanimous decision. Cristiano Ronaldo will carry the Portuguese, the only question is: how far? He out-willed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to get his team here. Does he have it in him to carry the team deep? The U.S. got some love as potential spoilers, so keep an eye on them. They surprised a lot of people in South Africa and Jurgen Klinsmann has been busy sowing the seeds of doubt around his team before the tournament. Is he just trying to get other teams to let their guards down? Ghana is a strong team and would be a threat to advance in most other groups... just not this one. Picks - deVos: Germany, Portugal. Jack: Portugal, Germany. Wileman: Germany, Portugal. Wheeler: Germany, USA. Butler: Portugal, Germany. McNeil: Germany, USA. Rodney: Germany, Portugal. Group H: 1. Belgium, 2. Russia, 3. Korea Republic, 4. Algeria. A chic underdog pick in this competition, Belgium is the team to beat in Group H according to everyone here at TSN. They boast a superb balance of attack and defend with some reliable and smart talent all through their line-up. How frightening is it that if teams are able to neutralize Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku that they might still see Adnan Januzaj coming off the bench? Russia are back at the World Cup for the first time in over a decade and we like their odds to get out of the group due to their ability to score in droves. Theyve struggled in big tournaments since the fall of the Soviet Union, but they did manage to finish third at Euro 2008. Korea Republic have already continued their streak of eight straight trips to the World Cup, but we believe thats where the dream ends. As for Algeria, English and American fans will be able to tell you that they are capable of causing trouble. We just dont see them as a threat to advance. Picks - deVos: Belgium, Russia. Jack: Belgium, Russia. Wileman: Belgium, Russia. Wheeler: Belgium, Korea. Butler: Belgium, Russia. McNeil: Belgium, Russia. Rodney: Belgium, Russia. [url=http://www.authenticbasketballshopheat.com/chris-bosh-heat-jersey/]Chris Bosh Jersey[/url] . With the results, North America claimed 2.5 of the three available points, opening up a 17.5-12.5 lead in the overall standings. A total of 60 points are available, meaning the first team to 30.5 points will win the Continental Cup. [url=http://www.authenticbasketballshopheat.com/hassan-whiteside-heat-jersey/]Hassan Whiteside Jersey[/url] .com) - Devon Johnson ran for a school record 272 yards with four touchdowns and No. [url=http://www.authenticbasketballshopheat.com/udonis-haslem-heat-jersey/]http://www.authenticbasketballshopheat.com/udonis-haslem-heat-jersey/[/url] . -- Sonny Grays fastball wasnt as sharp as it usually is, and the Oakland Athletics young pitcher even had a quirky replay go against him.LONDON -- Fulham brought in Germany midfielder Lewis Holtby and Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou, while Cardiff took winger Wilfried Zaha on loan from Manchester United as struggling English Premier League clubs reinforced their squads on Friday. The rush of contracts came as the January transfer window was closing late Friday. The 23-year-old Holtby arrived at Tottenham from Schalke 12 months ago in a 1.25 million pound ($2 million) deal but struggled to establish himself at Spurs. According to Holtbys agent, Marcus Noak, the player was keen on returning to the Bundesliga but his price tag was a dissuasive factor. "A return to the Bundesliga has been shattered due to circumstances we couldnt control," Noak said. "Fulham has put much effort into Lewis. It is a very well-run club with an excellent manager, Rene Meulensteen. The system and philosophy how Fulham plays fits well with Lewis." Holtby has joined Fulham on loan for the rest of the season. His signing follows the recent arrivals of Clint Dempsey -- on a two-month loan from the Seattle Sounders -- and William Kvist. "Ill do what I can to help us beat teams and keep us up and out of the bottom three and ensure that we have a good remainder of the season," Holtby said. Languishing in the relegation zone, Fulham achieved a real coup with the midfielders arrival as Adel Taarabt headed to AC Milan following a disappointing spell at Craven Cottage. Fulham also added to its attack with the signing of Mitroglou on a four-and-a-half-year deal from Olympiakos. The Greece forward is expected to replace Dimitar Berbatov, who has been linked with a move to Monaco and is expected in the principality on Friday for a medical. Also involved in the relegation fight, Cardiffs new manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer used his United connections to lure Zaha from Old Trafford, where the 21-year-old is judged surplus to requirements. Zaha helped Crystal Palace secure promotion through the playoffs last year but was relegated to the bench by United. Zaha iis Cardiffs sixth January signing after Solksjaer, a former United player, reinforced his struggling squad with the addition of Fabio, Kenwyne Jones, Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Mats Moller Daehli and Jo Inge Berget. [url=http://www.authenticbasketballshopheat.com/justise-winslow-heat-jersey/]Justise Winslow Jersey[/url]. Cardiff is bottom of the Premier League and Solksjaer is hoping that Zahas skills will lead his side out of the drop zone. He said Zaha "will bring that little final bit to find pockets of space and produce a bit of magic." The big teams remained relatively quiet as United confirmed it would not make any more signings before the 2300 GMT deadline after it shattered the club record transfer by paying Chelsea 37.1 million pounds ($61 million) for Spain midfielder Juan Mata last week. "You can stand your cameras down," United manager David Moyes told a news conference. "I dont think they will be required. We have done our business." Chelsea announced the signing of Saint-Etienne defender Kurt Zouma on a five-and-a-half-year deal but the 19-year-old central defender will remain on loan at the French club until the end of the season. Chelseas north London rivals Arsenal looked for a replacement for the injured Aaron Ramsey and were expected to sign veteran midfielder Kim Kallstrom on loan for the remainder of the season. English topflight clubs had already spent 10 million pounds ($16.5 million) more than this time last year. According to football finance experts Deloitte, Premier League clubs had spent 95 million pounds ($156 million) on acquiring new players ahead of the deadline day, with gross spending at this point last season reaching 85 million pounds ($140 million). On the final day of the window in January 2013, they spent 35 million pounds ($57.5 million). Regardless of the amount of activity on Friday, Deloitte says Premier League clubs have already set a record for transfer spending this season, which broke the "700 million pounds ($1.15 billion) mark for the first time, with spending currently at 725 million pounds ($1.19 billion)." 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