Who Will Win the 2014 World Cup?

It’s finally here – today marks the start of the 2014 World Cup! The tournament kicks off with the opening ceremony at 6 PM UTC, followed by the first match at 8 PM UTC: Croatia against the host nation, Brazil.

World Cup mural.

All eyes will be on Brazil in the coming weeks, but not just the country. Brazil’s national team is considered a favorite to win it all – after all, they are on their home turf (literally). But there are many other good teams that could make a run at the title: Germany, Argentina, Portugal, and Spain, the 2010 World Cup winners. Or perhaps an underdog like Nigeria or Ghana will make it out of the group stage and have a chance at advancing.

Who’s your favorite to win the World Cup? Comment below to tell us who you want to win, who you think will win, and which matches you’re looking forward to. And of course, keep up with all the latest World Cup news here at VOAFootball.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Will A Blossoming Corruption Scandal Tarnish Football’s Biggest Event?

World soccer’s governing body, FIFA, is facing new allegations of corruption over its contentious decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper recently revealed it had evidence that a Qatari football official spent $5 million in bribes to FIFA officials in exchange for their support for the country’s bid to host the event.

Qatar has denied the allegations, but an inquiry has been launched into the bidding process. If any wrongdoing is uncovered, Qatar could be stripped of the right to host the World Cup and a re-vote would have to take place.

British investigative reporter Andrew Jennings — who is best known for his work uncovering corruption in FIFA and the International Olympic Committee — says he is not surprised by the fresh allegations.

In a recent interview, he says that FIFA has the same level of corruption as organized crime.

Qatar Hayatou Corruption Allegations

(AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

Confederation of African Football President Issa Hayatou, right, speaks as FIFA President Sepp Blatter, left, looks on during a joint press conference in Libreville, Gabon, in this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo. FIFA vice president and African football head Issa Hayatou denied allegations Sunday June 1, 2014 made against him by British newspaper The Sunday Times that he received favors for voting for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. In a statement late Sunday night, the Confederation of African Football called the corruption allegations against its president “fanciful” and “ridiculous.”

Ghana’s Black Stars Come to Washington

Ghana national World Cup team.

Ghana’s national soccer before a friendly soccer match against Netherlands. Toussaint Kluiters | Reuters

The World Cup is just around the corner and everyone seems to be talking about Group G, “Group of Death,” which includes Germany, Portugal, Ghana, and the United States. Here in Washington DC, with one of the largest Ghanaian diaspora, there is a lot of buzz in town about the Black Stars, the Ghanaian national football team.

Scores of reasons to be excited! After playing South Korea in Miami, Florida, the Black Stars will make a visit to Washington tomorrow, before heading to Brazil for the upcoming games.

During our visit to the Embassy of Ghana in the United States, we spoke with Mr. Jojo Bruce-Quansah, Head of the Information section at the Embassy, regarding the preparations to host the team in Washington DC. “We are very proud of our players, and look forward to having them in town. There will be a press conference on June 10th, here at the Embassy of Ghana, giving an opportunity to our diaspora members and the Black Star fans to meet the team and show their support,” he stated. The press conference will be followed by a fundraising dinner and a send-off party later in the evening. Check out the schedule here.