France (Last year: Champions) I took a lot of grief over the last two years for hailing France as juggernauts and last year they finally proved me right. They made their way out of a tough and essentially steam rolled the rest of way with the exception of Nigeria. Having strengthened their team from last year I see no reason not too pronounce as favourites again.
Greece (Last year: 6th Group C) Greece must be planning on doing substantially better than they did last year as they made this group a lot more difficult than they needed it to be. We all know about Greece's rugged style of play and I doubt that will change. I expect Greece to try pull off and upset against France or ROI but I don't know what has changed from last years team that makes them think that is possible.
Italy (Last year: 4th in Group A) I don't believe Italy has ever made it out of the group stages and it seems as though they have their work cut out again for them this year. Italy plays well together but have a team consummated largely of players playing outside of division 1 soccer. They will need more than couple of bounces to go their way to have any chance of getting out of this group. I don't see it happening.
Republik of Ireland (Last year: Top 8 Overall) Last year was a disappointing year by ROI standards. Fortunately this year they have reclaimed some of their players including most importantly a keeper. While they have brought back a few players depth is still a question for ROI. Don't forget that this is the team that fell to Serbia last year. Though they probably won't be close to France I fully expect to see them progress to the knockout stages once again.
Serbia (Last year: Top 8 Overall) It may be hard for Serbia to improve on last years WCP performance but at least they should not be short on confidence. One problem they may have is that I have heard that star player and blog favourite Darko may not be returning. Even if that turns out too be wrong it will likely take nabbing points off either France or ROI to advance and that may be a tough ask.
France have added to their championship team so I don't see many teams competing with them, maybe ROI can give them a game. ROI have brought back several players but their team last year was a mess will be interesting to see how much they have improved. The next three teams are a complete toss up for me. I have Serbia third but that's dependant on Darko showing up. Otherwise they will have trouble finding goals. I see no way Greece finishes bottom of their group two years in
row. They will cause a few problems. I just don't think Italy quite have the skill to really be relevant in this group.
France - France were the class of the tournament last year and have added to an already stacked team, this group should be a walk in the park for them.
Serbia - Crushed ROI last year and if Darko makes a return I don't see ROI being able to cope. No Darko = No playoffs for Serbia!
ROI - ROI may be able to cause an upset and possibly advance from this group. Having a solid goalkeeper will help ROI in their goal of advancing from this group. Lacking depth and not having guys show up to games may be a problem.
Greece - Same old Greece, work hard but lack skills. Still awaiting for them to bring their out of province players that they always talk about.
Italy - Just don't have the players to advance from this group.