In case you have missed all those television commercials trying to get you to buy a new set – there is a World Cup coming soon.

A week tomorrow night hosts Brazil will take on Croatia in the opening game of the twentieth tournament and between now and then there will be supplements, wallcharts and expert predictions for us all to wade through.

In keeping with the tradition of this column, there will be no predictions as to who will walk away with the trophy and I shall stick to the tried and trusted formula of explaining why none of the 32 teams has a hope of winning – leaving it to you, the reader, to decide which nation is likely to be least useless and collect the trophy on Sunday, July 13.

So here we go!

GROUP A

Hosts Brazil will be highly-fancied, but let’s face it the mystery is gone these days as we have so many of them playing in England and Europe.

Any defence that includes bust-mattress haired David Luis has to be vulnerable and the Champions League has shown that the home side’s star-turn Neymar is not a patch on Barcelona clubmate Lionel Messi – and the emotional trauma of defeat in the final may await the Brazilians.

Croatia and Mexico will both aim to get beyond the group phase, but then will be relying on luck.

The final team is Cameroon who are the team most likely ‘to do a France’ in this tournament and fall out in lumps.

Anyone suggesting to Samuel Eto’o that he is old enough to surpass Roger Milla’s record as being the oldest goalscorer in a finals tournament could be the catalyst.

GROUP B

The holders Spain are another side who will be expected to reach the last four, but will they manage to find the stamina to play “tiki-taka” possession football in the South American heat?

The Spanish have also decided, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that they still think Fernando Torres is a world class striker.

They face the team who kicked them to bits in the 2010 final in Holland in their first game.

It is hard to see the Dutch taking a similar approach and under Salford United’s next Supremo Louis van Gaal they have a chance to impress – or indulge in their habitual inner-squad squabbling and implode, giving them a opportunity to pip Cameroon to the ‘doing a France’ trophy.

Being on their own continent may give Chile a reason to dream, but they will be lucky to get out of the group, while the SoccerRoos of Australia will be merely hoping not go home with their tails between their legs having recorded no points.

GROUP C

After Italia 90 a number of pundits predicted an African nation would win the trophy within 20 years.

Here we are 24 years on and the world is still waiting, but Cote D’Ivoire perhaps have the best chance of success from their continent.

Certainly it will be the last chance for Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure on this stage, but their chances could rest heavily on the production of celebratory cakes when they are expected during the later rounds.

Colombia, Greece and Japan provide the competition – if that’s the correct term – with the South Americans no doubt feeling the pressure not to make an early exit, while the other two sides will probably be satisfied with an appearance in the round of 16.

GROUP D

Strikers Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan are three good reasons why Uruguay could go a long way in this competition.

The fact you struggle to name any of the Uruguayan defenders is perhaps the biggest reason they won’t.

A well organised defence is a reason why Italy may do well, but the fact that Guiseppe Rossi has been left out and the Azzurri’s goal hopes rest with a man who is still struggling with the concept of indoor fireworks is an even bigger reason why they won’t win a fifth title.

Watch: Singing for England! Former Shelley High School student records World Cup song  

In his marvellous documentary of the Italia 90 World Cup ‘Fitba’, Rab C Nesbitt said of the Costa Ricans “Och, away back to Africa with ya!” following Scotland’s 1-0 defeat.

Given that the Central Americans may deal with the conditions better than the Europeans they may fancy a flirtation with the knockout rounds, but they will expect little more.

Two reasons England may do well is that manager Roy Hodgson has opted for a young squad and can experiment, but two reasons England may struggle is that manager Roy Hodgson has opted for a young squad and can experiment.

GROUP E

This group looks set to provide the cannon-fodder for the round of 16.

France are not what they were and are still suffering the repercussions of past fall-outs with in-form Samir Nasri being overlooked due to a failure to apologise sufficiently, while Ecuador and Honduras will at least deal with the heat and humidity better than most and Switzerland probably won’t.

GROUP F

Potential winners Argentina will expect to coast out of this group and look probable semi-finalists.

They boast arguably the world’s best player in Lionel Messi, who sadly doesn’t seem to be able to repeat his stunning performances for Barcelona in the sky blue and white stripes of his South American homeland.

They have some great talent in addition to Messi, but if he fails to shine Argentina could struggle at the business end of the tournament.

I can sum up my knowledge of Bosnia and Herzogovina in two words – Edin Dzeko.

He played a big part in a title win this season, but however well he performs he is unlikely to play a big part in a World Cup victory.

But B&H (if only they still had cigarette advertising) may not come away pointless as Nigeria and Iran are hardly likely to be among the nations in the knockout melting pot.

GROUP G

Perhaps the most intriguing group of them all as a big gun in either Germany or Portugal could be lost immediately.

They have to deal with a Ghana side that looked a strong unit four years ago on African soil, and the USA have a proven ability to act as a fly in the ointment for sides who fail to take them seriously.

However, you have to expect Joachim Löw, who I am guessing will not be wearing his favoured roll-neck sweaters, to guide his side to the last eight at least and Cristiano Ronaldo will also look to drag the Portuguese into the latter stages – but do either of these squads have enough stars to win it?

GROUP H

The draw at least managed to save some of the most under-rated sides until last as the final group is populated by Algeria, Russia and the Korean Republic.

So much of a muchness are this trio that you can take your pick as to which of them will get the opportunity to make their exit in the round of 16.

Pitted against them are star-laden Belgium with their flashy Eden Hazards, Vincent Kompanys and Adnan Januzajs, and this squad have a chance of going a long way.

Fortunately to balance this the Belgians also have Marouane Fellaini – so maybe it won’t all be plain sailing.

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