The staff of FHM ready themselves for future ridicule by boldly predicting the outcome of this year’s World Cup.
Dan Masoliver (Upgrade editor/Arsenal)
Brazil should breeze the group stages. In fact, the only thing standing in the way of them strolling into the final is a probably a last 16 clash with either the Netherlands or Spain. Assuming it’s the former, I expect a Brazil v Spain final, with the hosts taking the glory. 3-1.
Joe Mackertich (Features editor/Queen’s Park Rangers)
Argentina to beat Brazil in the final 2-0, accompanied by images of sexy, big-bummed people wailing and weeping in the favelas of Rio. Cut to Maradona laughing maniacally atop his Buenos Aires pleasure palace as Sepp Blatter rubs money into his nipples in the background.
Dan Jude (Deputy editor/Arsenal)
I think it'll be a good World Cup for South American teams, but I can see Brazil stuttering under pressure in the semis. Argentina vs Germany in the final; 1-1 Full Time; Argentina to win in extra time with a Messi brace.
William Barnes (Fashion Editor/Nottingham Forest)
Brazil Vs Argentina. 2–1 to the Argentinians. I can only see one of the South American teams winning it and while I've a bit of a boner for both Uruguay and Chile I think it'll most likely be one of the big dogs who'll take the crown. The pressure and expectation is only going to mount on the home nation, they have a good team and a manager who already knows what it takes to win. But for me the more direct and aggressive style of Argentina will mean they'll end up raining on the samba parade.
Matt Blake (Fearless reporter/Arsenal)
Brazil 2-0 Argentina. I know because I have a formula. Listen: Brazil won in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. If you add the number of years between each victory (4+8+24+8=44). Add that to the 12 years it will have been when they win this year and you get 56. 1956 is the year Pele became professional. So, you se, it’s written in the stars. And they’re on home turf.
If Bosnia can beat Nigeria out of their group to join Argentina in the knock-out phase, then I reckon Manchester City's Edin Dzeko could be in with an outside chance. Having said that, I'm not a gambling man, so I'm going to back the frontrunner: Lionel Messi. Either way it'll be six goals.
Ageing thrill-vacuum Miroslav Klose with five goals, overtaking The Real Ronaldo as the World Cup all-time top scorer. To the delight of absolutely no one.
My heart says Giroud; my head says Neymar, Messi or Aguero. I'll go for Neymar.
If Uruguay go through the groups then my money is on Suarez, but for the sake of a safer bet I'm plumping for Agüero with a five goal haul. The man's a machine – fast, tough and with an eye for the net he's in with a great shout. He's got the added bonus of playing with a true legend in Messi. He'll not only benefit from the Barca player's unselfish style but it's likely teams will double up on him giving Agüero a slight edge in the scoring stakes.
Higuain with eight. He may be the dark horse of the Argentinian strike force but when he hits it, it stays hit. I think he’ll pip Aguero in the long run.
2014’S DISASTER STORY
Uruguay are going to top Group D, which means either Italy or England making an early exit and upsetting a lot of people back home. I reckon it'll be the Italians who get the big boos as they fly back to Rome after the group stages.
Holland. Finishing behind Chile in the group stage. Wesley Sneijder to punch one of his team mates during a match.
Italy. If England can get a result in the first game, I can see them narrowly missing out to us and Uruguay.
Honestly, I can see both Spain and Italy underperforming this time around. Italy have Pirlo and a class defence but all their attackers are all unpredictable mavericks with big personalities and there's a decent potential for them to 'do a France' in this tournament. Spain? I can't really explain this one, it's just a gut feeling. I really don't fancy them. Maybe it's that they've been so good for so long, they have to fall from grace at some point and for me, this could be it. If I'm pushed to pick one car crash then I think (hope) it'll be Italy.
Netherlands. They won’t beat Spain and Chile are my dark horse because they’re a really exciting, pacey, racy side.
England will scrape through the group stage, maybe going through above Italy on goal difference. After that, it would be a likely Last 16 encounter with the Ivory Coast, which would obviously be a tough game, but a winnable one. Next up: Brazil in the Quarter Finals and a flight home for Hodgson and co.
Out in the Group of 16 to Japan (see below). Hodgson is fired. A nation shrugs.
I think our brave boys will qualify, but we'll go out in the last 16.
The quarters. I think we're good enough and I'm a big fan off the gaffer. Roy is the best manager since Robson in my eyes and I hope he proves it. If people lay-off Rooney (who had a good season with Man U) and don't pile too much on the shoulders of the young lads, I'm hopeful we can go even further.
Quarter finals. There’s no pressure on them this time for the first time in 50 odd years. And they’re young and hungry and may get very, very lucky.
A lot of people are calling Belgium the dark horse of the competition. But that’s just it, "a lot of people" are saying it, which means they're not dark horses at all, just a well-backed team. If Bosnia can beat Nigeria and sneak out of their group, who knows, they might stand a chance of making the Quarters.
Japan. They’re not boring anymore. They’re pretty good. If England go through at the top of their group (which I think is weirdly feasible) it’s possible they’ll get knocked out by the Blue Samurai in the round of 16.
One of Belgium and France will get to the semis. I'll go for France, if they count as an outsider these days.
I do like Chile. They're hard working and have a couple of real quality players in the mold of Barcelona’s Sanchez and Juve’s Vidal in there too. I think they've the potential to turn a few heads.
Chile. Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez are immense and may carry them through the group stage, beating Netherlands. And they wiped the floor against England in November.