Throughout this week, we at 32 Flags are recapping the past year as well as look toward 2015. We’ll take a look at the best and worst of 2014, best games and goals and predict what is going to happen in 2015. Today, we’re looking into the future and predict what is going to happen in 2015.
The US Women’s National Team will have their worst World Cup performance EVER
The US Women’s National Team have been impressive in the Women’s World Cup. Since 1991, there have been six Women’s World Cups and out of the six, the USWNT’s worst finish has been third. In 2015, expect that bar to be lowered.
The reason? Other countries have improved their teams more rapidly than the United States. The US was the first superpower in women’s soccer. When the US was winning World Cups in 1991 and 1999, they could’ve won easily. Now you have countries like Brazil, Japan, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Australia, England and France among other countries who have caught up with the US. The US has even lost their #1 FIFA ranking for the first time since 2008. The playing field is a lot more even and the US now has to work and work hard if they want to regain that title as the “best in women’s soccer.”
The US Men’s National Team WILL win the CONCACAF Gold Cup
In the other big tournament of the summer, the US Men’s National Team should coast by with the World Cup and thus confirming a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
Two of the USA’s big competitors are Mexico and Costa Rica. Costa Rica will be dangerous as long as it doesn’t snow in July, Mexico is the wild card. Mexico was invited to participate in the 2015 Copa America so who knows what squad they’re going to put out for either tournament. Either way, this will be the time for the US to once again win another Gold Cup.
Arsenal will FAIL to win a Champions League spot but Arsene Wenger will STAY at Arsenal
Every year, I am convinced that the following will happen. Arsenal won’t finish in the top four and won’t make it in Champions League and Arsene Wenger isn’t going to be Arsenal manager.
This time, I’m somewhat changing my stance. I still think Arsenal fails to finish in the top four. I’m not going to be surprised if Arsenal finishes in the top four, it’s just that Arsenal has to hit the injury wall at some point and there are many teams who are on Arsenal’s heels for that final Champions League spot. Tottenham, Southampton, West Ham and Liverpool have great shots at getting that spot. Out of those five teams, Tottenham is the most dangerous. They have the resources, they’re getting lucky on injuries and they’re bringing results together.
Luis Suarez will NOT bite someone in 2015
Call me crazy but I think Suarez get on his “reasonably” best behavior and will not bite anyone.
Qatar WILL retain the 2022 FIFA World Cup and it WILL be played in Winter
Yeah, there are articles every week that say Qatar may lose the World Cup and that it could be played in May. I, for one, am not holding my breath. I’m prepared for Qatar to host and that it will be played at some point between November and January.
NBC WILL retain EPL TV rights
At some point in 2015, American TV networks will be negotiating for the new round of EPL TV rights. With record ratings from NBC’s broadcasts, that will bring on record offers for rights.
The main players in negotiations will likely be NBC, FOX, ESPN and beIN Sport. The other three networks will keep NBC honest and cause NBC to not be able to lowball and pay what the EPL thinks is “fair-market value,” but NBC ultimately wins out because they’re the only one’s who could show the games.
Think about it. ESPN has College Football in the Fall so they’re limited to what they can show on weekend mornings. FOX now has Bundesliga rights, and those games run around the same time as EPL games. FOX may be able to show the early Saturday morning game without conflict but the EPL and Bundesliga are going to run into each other. beIN Sport has the rights to the other European leagues and they run into the same issue as FOX. They may be able to show the early morning Saturday game but will run into conflicts. Also, beIN has the lowest viewership of the four networks. I love beIN’s work but don’t expect many new fans if EPL is on beIN. NBC’s only competition in the mornings is Formula 1 and usually, F1 is pushed on CNBC in favor of EPL. I’m not saying that’s a criteria that the powers that be in the EPL will look at but I’m sure NBC seems committed to put up a very fair offer and won’t risk losing TV rights.
Chelsea will win a DOUBLE
There’s no doubt that Chelsea is the best team in the EPL. Even at halfway, they are considered the consensus EPL champions. Everyone is wondering how many trophies that they can win. While some dream of winning all four competitions they are in, I’m here to say that isn’t the case.
First things first, Chelsea isn’t winning in Champions League. Chelsea isn’t getting anywhere close to winning Champions League. There is just way too many teams in the running who have a better chance to win. I do have Chelsea winning the EPL and Capital One Cup titles. The FA Cup is so random that I have to imagine Chelsea will slip up at some point in the FA Cup run.