The Contenders: Four playoff teams from 2011 makes Group D this year's Group of Death. Two former champions also makes it the group with arguably the best winning heritage. That said, not every team has a legitimate playoff chance. France should manage to get through based on pure talent. While France has lost a few key players, it should still manage to get big wins. Norway is the other team that always seems to manage to make the playoffs. It doesn't matter what the odds might be, Norway is always good for some seemingly-surprising victories.
The Challengers: El Salvador had a great showing in 2011 but the loss of Jordian Farahani will be a major blow. Combine that with the fact ES has never beaten Norway and the South Americans will be hard pressed to advance. Greece rode crowd momentum to a respectable finish in 2011 but there's no way that luck repeats. If the Greeks get even a point out of any game against France, Norway or El Salvador, I'll be shocked.
The Pretenders: Two teams that will have a tough tournament are Italy and South Korea. The Koreans are new to the tournament and are unlikely to be able to handle the pressure. The Italians are in the pretenders group every year because they combine a little skill with a big attitude. It's tough to beat disciplined teams when your team is void of that same discipline.
Predicted Order of Finish
3. El Salvador
6. South Korea