Group H: Eden Hazard gives Belgium star power
Scott Regehr's Group H picks
If someone were to ask you to create a list of the most famous Belgians, you might be hard pressed to name even one (actress Audrey Hepburn is widely believed to be an American). After this summer though, you may be able to create a top 10 list.
Belgium's team in Brazil has the potential to be very good. Led by Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard, the squad looks like an English Premiership all star team. The loss of striker Christian Benteke to injury leaves the country a little thin up front. Still, with Romelu Lukaku, Hazard and others to wreak havoc up front, they should ease their way out of this group.
Russia will be one of the sides looking to make things not-so-easy for the Belgians. Big oil money has helped keep many of the top Russian players at home in one of the most physical leagues in the world. Roman Shirokov will provide the creativity, but he's no Andrey Arshavin in his prime. Fabio Capello will have them well organized, if nothing else.
Algeria has flash, South Korea has finish
If you're looking for some flair in this group, Algeria may be the country to provide it. Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Nabil Bentaleb is just one of a large group of talented young Algerians who play for top European clubs. In past World Cups this country has focused on a conservative, defensive approach.
Under their Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic they can be expected to throw caution to the wind. A refreshing change.
Like Algeria, South Korea is littered with players on top teams in Europe. Unlike Algeria, the Koreans have a striker who can be counted upon to finish off their attacking intent. Son Heung-min has been doing so with regularity for Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga. Son is a streaky scorer. Watch out if he gets hot.
Regehr's pick: Look for Belgium and South Korea to finish 1-2 in Group H.