Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Predictions.

Group A

I have Germany and Poland progressing from this group, with Germany being group winners. I believe the Poles have a better team than Germany, but the Germans have homefield advantage and that might be enough to overcome their inexperience and allow them to top the group.

Group B

I don't think this group will be as straightforward as everyone thinks. Paraguay have made it to the second round in the last two world cups and I suspect they have more than an outside shot to progress this time. Even so, it would take a brave man to pick them to come out of this group ahead of England and Sweden. I have England finishing first and Sweden second.

Group C

Similar to Paraguay, I think the Ivory Coast can cause some problems in their group. I want to be brave enough to pick them. My buddy Cheick has me convinced that this is the year of the elephants, but I'm not yet completely convinced. I have Argentina and the Netherlands coming out of this group. Argentina first, the Netherlands second.

Group D

No surprises here. Angola and Iran will not threaten Portugal or Mexico. The Angola v. Portugal match should be interesting since it will be another Colonizer vs. the Colonized matchup. Maybe Angola can do what the Senegalese did to the French in '02 but I'm not betting on it. Portugal first, Mexico second.

Group E

The toughest group to pick. I truly believe that either of these four teams, Ghana, Czech Republic, Italy or the U.S. could finish first. I think the first match in the group Czech Republic v. U.S. will go a long way in clearing everything up. Whoever loses this game will be going home after the group stages. I really don't want to have to pick but if my feet are held to the fire I'd go with Italy and the Czech Republic, in that order.

Group F

The best match from this group will likely be Brazil v. Japan. The main reason being that Japan are coached by arguably the best Brazilian player from the 80s, Zico. Nothing else seems intriguing here. I'm picking Brazil and Croatia to finish first and second, respectively.

Group G

France and South Korea progress to the next round with France winning the group. Togo and Switzerland go home. The Togolese will probably leave us some good memories with their antics and wild hairdos but that's about it.

Group H

It would not surprise me at all if traditional world cup underachievers, Spain, were to go out in the group stages. This would be a new low for them since their group includes first timers the Ukraine, 2002 whipping boys Saudi Arabia(they lost to Germany 8-0 in the opening game last time in 2002 giving up a hat trick to Miroslav Klose of all people). I figure the talented spaniards with Xavi, Raul, Fabregas and Puyol will probably top the group and move on along with the Ukrainians.


I realize I didn't pick a single upset. I don't feel the need to be a genius. I think the cup will be pretty straightforward as I noted before. Of course someone won't make it as far as they should, but on balance I think the better teams will progress. Tomorrow I will update with my picks for the knockout stages.

10 Comments:

Blogger Vik Sears II said...

Bernard ...

Is this Blog only for World Cup Vets or can some rookie pseudo soccer fans get a little instruction / explanation on how this World Cup thing works ... Single elimination, double ??? One team from each group or are there wildcard spots available ??? best records in the groups play each other to get out, or is their a small single elimination tournament once said records have been established ???

I'd also like to request that you post some TV times for those of us who have no idea when these games will be on the tube (and are too lazy to find, this is the World Cup Fevah Blog u know) ... If you choose to do this, perhaps you can also provide a little insight on what we (rookie viewers) should watch for ... should we choose to watch that particular game.

Final question .. how the hell can someone (Cheick) convince you of something but you not yet be "completely convinced" ... I would think if he's convinced you then you're convinced ... I was not aware that there was different levels of "convincedness" ... if nothing else, he's partially convinced you ... this would allow you to not be completely convinced ... Make sense .. Clean it up Bernard ...

Excellent BLOG .. I look forward to reading daily, as well as harassing you about soccer and other things ... perhaps I may learn something

Vik

8:47 AM  
Anonymous ED Brown said...

On the eve of the '06 World Cup, I find that my enthusiasm for the games has reached an all-time high. Why? I have an idea why this may be, but I am almost certain that anyone reading your blog cares absolutely nothing about why I am so excited about it.

In prepartion for 'the cup', I've been thinking of all of my great soccer memories in my short life - in total, there are only four (what do you expect? I'm American). The first would be when Mia Hamm hit the game winning-goal in what I think was the 2000 Olympic games (I'm probably wrong about the date)and that amazon women that was the goalie ripped her shirt off and ran around the field like a chicken with her head cut off. The second would be when that brotha from 'Melrose Place', Andrew Shue, earned a place on the LA Galaxy. His most memorable moment came back in New Jersey when he helped set up two goals in a 4-0 win over the MetroStars in front of 50,000 fans at Giants Stadium. He, unfortunately, retired after two seasons in 1997...my short-lived love for the game retired along with him. My third fondest memory would be on 'Bend It Like Beckham' when the little Middle Eastern chic's parents let her go play in the second half of a match that had all of the pro scouts in attendance after telling her that she was to never play that "boy's game" ever again. If my memory serves me, she ended up getting a pro contract after that. Whew...I still get a little choked up about that one. Hmmm, well I guess I only have three great soccer memories.

Anyway, one thing I've noticed recently is that soccer during the Olympics seems to get lots and lots of attention here and the states while the World Cup seems to be "The Tournament" everywhere else in the world. Help me understand why that is (if I am correct) and where the Olympics and the World Cup rank in relevance on the World scale.

ED Brown

11:25 AM  
Anonymous ED Brown said...

On the eve of the '06 World Cup, I find that my enthusiasm for the games has reached an all-time high. Why? I have an idea why this may be, but I am almost certain that anyone reading your blog cares absolutely nothing about why I am so excited about it.

In prepartion for 'the cup', I've been thinking of all of my great soccer memories in my short life - in total, there are only four (what do you expect? I'm American). The first would be when Mia Hamm hit the game winning-goal in what I think was the 2000 Olympic games (I'm probably wrong about the date)and that amazon women that was the goalie ripped her shirt off and ran around the field like a chicken with her head cut off. The second would be when that brotha from 'Melrose Place', Andrew Shue, earned a place on the LA Galaxy. His most memorable moment came back in New Jersey when he helped set up two goals in a 4-0 win over the MetroStars in front of 50,000 fans at Giants Stadium. He, unfortunately, retired after two seasons in 1997...my short-lived love for the game retired along with him. My third fondest memory would be on 'Bend It Like Beckham' when the little Middle Eastern chic's parents let her go play in the second half of a match that had all of the pro scouts in attendance after telling her that she was to never play that "boy's game" ever again. If my memory serves me, she ended up getting a pro contract after that. Whew...I still get a little choked up about that one. Hmmm, well I guess I only have three great soccer memories.

Anyway, one thing I've noticed recently is that soccer during the Olympics seems to get lots and lots of attention here and the states while the World Cup seems to be "The Tournament" everywhere else in the world. Help me understand why that is (if I am correct) and where the Olympics and the World Cup rank in relevance on the World scale.

ED Brown

11:44 AM  
Anonymous ED Brown said...

On the eve of the '06 World Cup, I find that my enthusiasm for the games has reached an all-time high. Why? I have an idea why this may be, but I am almost certain that anyone reading your blog cares absolutely nothing about why I am so excited about it.

In prepartion for 'the cup', I've been thinking of all of my great soccer memories in my short life - in total, there are only four (what do you expect? I'm American). The first would be when Mia Hamm hit the game winning-goal in what I think was the 2000 Olympic games (I'm probably wrong about the date)and that amazon women that was the goalie ripped her shirt off and ran around the field like a chicken with her head cut off. The second would be when that brotha from 'Melrose Place', Andrew Shue, earned a place on the LA Galaxy. His most memorable moment came back in New Jersey when he helped set up two goals in a 4-0 win over the MetroStars in front of 50,000 fans at Giants Stadium. He, unfortunately, retired after two seasons in 1997...my short-lived love for the game retired along with him. My third fondest memory would be on 'Bend It Like Beckham' when the little Middle Eastern chic's parents let her go play in the second half of a match that had all of the pro scouts in attendance after telling her that she was to never play that "boy's game" ever again. If my memory serves me, she ended up getting a pro contract after that. Whew...I still get a little choked up about that one. Hmmm, well I guess I only have three great soccer memories.

Anyway, one thing I've noticed recently is that soccer during the Olympics seems to get lots and lots of attention here and the states while the World Cup seems to be "The Tournament" everywhere else in the world. Help me understand why that is (if I am correct) and where the Olympics and the World Cup rank in relevance on the World scale.

ED Brown

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