Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France
France were bailed out by avoiding a major power. This French team is hard to like with stoic characters like Anelka, players that whine when their friends are not selected, and a bizzare (albeit entertaining) manager. And then their pathetic capitulation in Euro 2008 when Thuram BEGGED to be dropped because he wasn’t up to it. And of course Henry. As it was I already suspected that France would not be crowd favorites and that they’d be booed. Will be interesting to see what their reception is, the atmosphere in this game should be great especially if it’s a close game.
Still in the end, the French will probably end up going through.
South Africa will make it, they’re not that good, but the euphoria of home-field will carry them through. Probably they’ll get bounced in the 2nd round though. They’ll have to hope they get Nigeria (who I don’t think will make it) or South Korea in the 2nd round to go further.
Prediction: France, South Africa
Greece are experts at 0-0 or winning 1-0. They park the ball in front of their defense. For a team to beat them, they’ll need 1. stamina and 2. the type of player(s) that can create a moment of magic. Argentina have such players. Nigeria and South Korea don’t.
I’m not happy to predict the Greeks going through, I find them boring and bland – not because they’re defensive, I have nothing against defensive teams, it’s just that
Prediction: Argentina, Greece
Group C: England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia
Oh my, the US media will soapoperize the USA-England matchup to nauseating levels. The hype in the US media will be great. England of course is my favorite national team, and the one I follow. They’ll both go through.
Slovenia are unremarkable, I wish Ireland would’ve been here in their place. Now THAT would’ve made for a good group no?
Ireland vs. USA in New York anyone?
Anyway Algeria are not that good. Would’ve prefered to see the Pharoahs make it through instead.
Prediction: England, USA
Group D: Germany, Serbia, Australia, Ghana.
This is one of two group of deaths, but this is probably the tougher one as it’s got all four good teams instead of three.
Germany will go through, let’s get that one out of the way.
Serbia are good, they qualified out of Frances group and won it by miles. Ghana are freaks physically, and in my opinion the 2nd strongest of the African teams. I have a soft spot for the Aussies, I like the atmosphere of their fans, and I like the gutso with which they play. I don’t know if it was just that they were being coached by Hiddink (probably) but they were great last World Cup.
I’m picking Australia as the 2nd team as physically, they’re probably tougher than a “typical” European team not called England or Germany.
I’d love to be able to predict Ghana going through, but I don’t see it. By the way, the coach of Ghana is from Serbia.
Prediction: Germany, Australia
Group E: Denmark, Holland, Japan, Cameroon
Holland and Denmark.
That was easy.
Cameroon are overrated and a one-man team. Japan, not good enough at this level.
Prediction: Holland, Denmark
Group F: Slovakia, Italy, NZ, Paraguay
I’m upset to see Slovakia in here, I’d have preferred the Russians to have made it. Gli Azzuri got an easy group, though they’ll probably find a way to finish 2nd in this group. I expect a very close finish, but in the end Paraguay and Italy will make it.
I’d like to see the Kiwis go through, and it’s good to see them in the World Cup after a while, but they barely got past BAHRAIN to make it into the field. Not good enough.
Italy by the way is my 2nd team. By “2nd” team I mean, I’ll support them often, I have a soft spot for the country.
Paraguay to win the group.
Prediction: Paraguay, Gli Azzuri
Group G: Brazil, Portugal, North Korea, Ivory Coast
First things first, Brazil will go in. This is a sick starting lineup:
Maicon Luiaso Lucio Alves
Pretty intimidating. So long as they don’t draw France, Germany, Italy or other methodical tactical European teams, they’ll be fine. Even against the mentioned teams they’d be favorites but the score might be close.
Ok, Brazil. Vs. Portugal colonial powers, how about that? I’d hoped for France vs. Algeria before the draw (imagine France winning that game in the latter minutes in a controversial manner? Wouldn’t want to be a policeman in Marseille), but I’ll take this.
Then Cote D’Voire. The strongest African team. I say that as they have a blend of experience, leadership, and stereotypical African “strength” (though not as much as Ghana). I think in the end, they have what it takes to beat the Portuguese, and I think they’ll go through. Cote D’Voire can go deep into the tournament IF they avoid Spain in the 2nd round.
One of Brazil or Cote D’Voire plays Spain in a massive 2nd round game.
Drogba vs. Kaka vs. Ronaldo.
Prediction: Brazil, Cote D’voire
Group H: Spain, Honduras, Chile, Switzerland
Spain is the best team in the world right now. Doesn’t mean they’ll definitely win it, but going into it they’re just the best.
This smokes even Brazil:
Capdevilla Puyol Pique Ramos*
Sickness. Players with a * are players who are possibly best in the world at their position. And on the bench they have the likes of Fabregas – the best player in the World Cup not starting, Mata, Negredo. Hell they could field a 2nd team that’d probably win most of the groups.
Also, I have a gay crush on Fernando Torres, I’m enamored with him.
Spain vs. Honduras will be interesting to watch in the US. I’m not Spanish speaking, but no doubt Telemundo will do for this game what the regular English channels will for USA vs. England. I’ll probably look to catch this game at a Hispanic restaurant, wearing my Fernando Torres jersey of course.
There’s a danger here that Spain will be untested for Drogba or Kaka in the next round, they literally should walk this group, unless their former colonies put up a credibly strong fight.
As for the 2nd qualifier…eh, they’ll lose emphatically in the 2nd round to Brazil/Portugal/Cote Dvoire so really it’s a formality. I’m rooting for Honduras to make the 2nd round though, the more boring, characterless teams (like Switzerland) we get rid of the earlier, the better.
Prediction: Spain, Honduras
Now that we have summarized the groups, my top 5 matches, the games that I’ll definitely skip work to watch live:
England vs. USA
Brazil vs. Cote D’Voire
Brazil vs. Portugal
South Africa vs. France
Spain vs. Honduras
So that’s it for now. During the World Cup probably I’ll make weekly posts on the the World Cup itself, but that’s yet a few months away.
What are your thoughts on the draw?