Welcome to the 2014 World Cup Draft. As with previous versions of this draft (Euro 2012, World Cup 2010) you will be picking both countries and players from predetermined groups. The groups are designed in such a way as to make the choices as difficult as possible, so as to hopefully cause all sorts of hand-wringing, second-guessing and unseemly excuse-making. If, when picking your squad, you come across a team or player that is clearly head and shoulders above the rest of his group and a blatantly obvious choice, that simply means you have no idea what you are doing. Try googling “World Cup 2014”, then doing a bit of reading.
Also, as our Arsenal teams (both local and professional) prove week in and week out, soccer players are notoriously fragile pussies so you may want to keep an eye on the injury report. Suarez, Falcao and Costa are all dealing with injuries but are expected to play as of now. And, of course, you can never be sure when the entire French team might suddenly find the going a little too tough and decide to trade the heat and hostile crowds of Brazil for some wine and Speedo time on the Riviera. I would encourage you to make your picks early and if any individual player you have chosen is subsequently ruled out of the tourney prior to the deadline you will have the opportunity to switch. You will not, however, be allowed to choose new countries.
Update: Reus is out for Germany now, too. This getting ridiculous.
Update: Ribery finally gave up and decided he just didn’t have the balls to play through a little pain on the biggest sporting stage in the world. Good riddance, then. Considering the late date and the number of entries that have already come in I have not replaced him with anyone else, just a blank space befitting his commitment.
Update: Negredo was not selected for the Spanish squad so I have replaced him with Captain Overrated (aka Fernando “El Nino” Torres).
Update: Colombia decided Falcao wasn’t going to be healthy in time and have left him off their final roster. He has been replaced in Player Group 3 with his teammate Jackson Martinez.
Everything else you need to know is below, including an online entry form and a link to a downloadable version if you feel the irrational need to make your poor choices using an actual pen and paper. If you have any questions, let me know, but be warned that I won’t be offering any more free advice since I fully plan to win this bitch.