Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

This Thursday, the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks as host Brazil and Croatia take the field in the first of 64 games. So we asked our staff to identify the eventual winner on July 13—based on whatever criteria they chose. 

Patriotism? Not so much.

Rachel Ritchie 
(Executive Editor)
Based on the combined handsomeness quotient of David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Xabi Alonso, and Iker Casillas, it MUST be Spain. Must.

Zach Dundas
(Executive Editor)

Spain will win, because tiki-taka has not yet been defeated!
Kate Madden 
(Art Director)
I know even less about football than I do about American football, except that it's called football everywhere but here. So instead I will root for Cote'd Ivoire because it sounds the sexiest no matter what accent the announcer has.
Mike Novak 
(Art Director)
Having met our feisty Bosnian Muhamed, I'm feeling like Bosnia-Hezegovina are the team for me. "O you thousand-years-old land!" Given how many inappropriate things he said during our photoshoot I feel I need to travel to Bosnia to experience the magic first hand.
  Eden Dawn 
(Style Editor)
I’m going with Algeria for their best use of pop of color on their flag! I also went on a date with a hot Algerian salsa dancer when I was in Portugal.
Kelly Clarke 
(Senior Editor)
My World Cup knowledge can be summed up thusly: Playing soccer with the defining character trait of Billy Campbell, uptight Alison's roommate and eventual lover/fiancé on Melrose Place. He was played by Elizabeth Shue's little brother, Andrew Shue, who actually played for LA Galaxy. Clearly, this knowledge makes ME the winner—in trivia circles at least. (Oh, and I'll go with Brazil for my pick.)
 

Margaret Seiler
(Copy Editor)

I want sportscasters to have to dig deep and not settle for easy World War II, Cold War, or colonial rehashing in the matchup descriptions. For that reason alone, let's avoid Germany vs. England, US vs. Russia (as if), France vs. Algeria, etc., and go with Ghana over Chile in the final. Whatever corny metaphors the sports desks of the world can muster for that one should be pretty interesting. 
  Marty Patail (Associate Editor) I was going to say Germany no matter what, but I need something to back that up... A quote from Goethe, maybe? Nietzsche or Kafka? Hesse? Brecht? Bismarck?! Why is it all so ... indigestible? I suppose there's really only one thing that can do justice to my confidence in Die Mannschaft: this classic 90s rap track. Play it loud and proud. 
  Bill Hutfilz
(SVP, Editorial & Operations

I'm going with history: no European side has won in the Americas, and Uruguay won the last time the tournament was held in Brazil (albeit in 1950). A definite dark-horse pick, but like star forward Luis Suarez (who'll hopefully recover from surgery in time), I'm prone to biting off more than I can chew.

Aaron Scott (Arts & Culture Editor)

Australia. I can't hear the name Socceroos, particularly in the theatrically masculine context of football, without going into a fit of giggles. They should have a handicap, because how humiliating must it be to say something like, "don't f**k with us, we're the Socceroos."

Let us know who you think is going to take the Cup below!