The Contenders: I'm guessing that 2012 will finally be the year that Poland grabs the title. This is a team that has improved significantly over the past few tournaments, has practiced hard and recruited missing pieces and now has arguably the most well-rounded squad. Poland is big, exceptional defensively and now has the goal-scoring ability that should make for easier Group Stage wins than in 2011. The actual competition in Group C will come in every game Poland doesn't play and will be for second place. I'm thinking Nigeria has the best shot to reclaim its playoff position from 2010 and not only because it beat Norway in an exhibition game. The Nigerians are incredibly fast and possess a wide variety of scoring options that a team like Germany can't hope to match.
The Challengers: Germany will make its patented run where it shows it has the skills to compete and then somehow folds and loses big must-win games. Watching Germany is always entertaining because you're never sure who will get mad at who and which player will do something that makes every spectator shake their head in disbelief. Portugal will likely field a young team that tries hard, but really won't stand a chance in this group. Expect the Portuguese to get outmuscled in most of their games but otherwise play not-too-bad.
The Pretenders: Hungary and Vietnam are both new squads and with very few exceptions, new entries to the WCP Cup do not fair well. This group will not offer easy games for either of these teams as Nigeria, Germany and Portugal will be thinking about goal differential when they play them. Hopefully by games 4 and 5 both Hungary and Vietnam will be able to show what they're capable of in 2013.
Predicted Order of Finish