The Contenders: Wow, what a group. You get the defending champion, Sudan, in a group of five teams, which is supposed to be an advantage. But the draw is a fickle thing and there are two other playoff teams from 2012, France and El Salvador, who also got the unlucky draw. Between these three teams we can expect our playoff entrants and all three games between them to be fiercly contested, starting with the tournament opener between Sudan and France on Friday night. I'm going to give the nod to Sudan and France, based mostly on the belief that El Salvador doesn't have the defensive chops to stop either of those formidable teams from racking up goals.
The Challengers: I wish I could say Italy, but I'm being realistic.
The Pretenders: Italy and Somalia, with a major nod to Italy as the fourth best team. Any other pool and I would have them as a possible challenger. They even beat El Salvador in 2012. However, even if that upset happens again, and I don't think it will, Italy doesn't have a prayer in making the playoffs. Somalia managed one win last year, and it's one more win than they can hope for in 2013.
Predicted Order of Finish
3. El Salvador