5 Teams With Their Flights Booked For Next Summer’s World Cup

With World Cup qualification coming to a close, let us take a quick look at the five nations already sure of their place in Brazil:


Currently able to boast being the home country of some of the Premier League’s hottest young talents, their national side has undergone something of a resurgence in recent years.  Containing no fewer than 12 English-based players in their squad, expect to see plenty of familiar faces when Belgium take part in their first major tournament since 2002.


Poor showings at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup were sandwiched between the Azzurri’s 2006 World Cup win and getting to the final of Euro 2012.  Undefeated in qualifying, Italy made a solid yet unspectacular job of securing their ticket to Brazil, where they will hope to make a bigger impact than they did during their disastrous effort in South Africa.


Following their third and last World Cup win in 1990, Germany struggled to deal with expectations during the next two, exiting at the quarter final stage in both 1994 and 1998.  The interesting thing, however, is that the nation still achieved success in the tournaments two years prior, finishing as runners up at Euro 1992 and lifting the trophy on English soil in 1996.


The most dominant team in qualifying, the Oranje will look to shake off their ‘nearly men’ tag by winning their first major trophy since 1988.  After narrowly losing out to Spain in South Africa, the Netherlands went from being World Cup runners up to exiting at the group stages at Euro 2012.  This was a huge disappointment for their fans, who had grown to expect more from the side; they had finished third three times since winning the competition.


Having finished top of a group with no real big names, it is difficult to know what to make of Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side.  With the exception of last year’s Euros, Switzerland have qualified for every major tournament since 2004.  However, they have made it past the opening stage only once, reaching the round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.


Which of these five teams should we expect most from in Brazil?