Saturday, May 27, 2006

Let me get my crystal ball...

This is a futurology exercise, inspired by Steve's predictions of the World Cup. Here is my modest contribution, based more on my gut feeling than my football knowledge.

Group A:
This seems like the easiest group there is, along with D. Germany and Poland should go through, the previous inspired by the home supporters (that always works wonders), despite having had a few lows lately. Costa Rica and Ecuador don't have any stars but often these teams turn out to be surprises because they're less tired and have been training together for a lot longer than european teams, or teams with players based in Europe.

Group B:
England can probably go very far, mostly because of the players, I wouldn't trust the manager to do any wonders. Sweden are always very strong in big tournaments and are one of my personal favourites (not in terms of who I think will win, but the ones I like the most lol). But Paraguay can't be forgotten and Trinidad and Tobago (I can't believe Latapy is still playing!) will probably provide some interesting matches, according to my crystal ball...

Group C:
This has to be the toughest group and there can be some surprises. Serbia and Montenegro are really strong, Holland has been better but can probably manage to perform well, Ivory Coast are very good as well (they could've won the African Nations Cup if it wasn't for a missed penalty from Drogba) and, of course, Argentina have a wonderful group of players than can go very far and I hope they do.

Group D:
Portugal are obviously favourites in the group, although Mexico are above us in the Fifa ranking. After watching the friendly today agains Cape Verde, I'm feeling more confident but sometimes crazy things happen...I'm mostly relying on the team spirit (teamgeist - the name of the ball). We really have to qualify for the second round, it'd be really embarrassing. I'll post more about Portugal later on. I think Iran can be a surprise, they've been training for the World Cup for ages and are more skilled than people imagine. Angola, of course, will be wanting to kick some portuguese ass like they did a couple of years ago in a friendly (I'm surprised the portuguese players kept their legs in one piece), so that should be a tough game.

Group E:
I'm not sure Italy will be in top form this World Cup - there's a lot of scandals going around over there and their minds will be elsewhere. I hope so because I usually don't like their game. But, of course, they'll go a bit far using their defensive style everyone loves (to hate). The Czech Republic won't be as good as in 2004, the USA have been more and more consistent lately (I can't remember the 2002 world cup, in case my stomach turns, but Portugal lost against them...2-0 or something, no, it was 3-2). Finally there's Ghana and these African teams can always be a good surprise.

Group F:
I'm not even gonna talk about Brazil but the fact is...usually European teams win when the tournament is in Europe. I'd like that to be the rule (there was an exception once when Brazil won in Sweden). As much as I respect the passion brazilians have for this game, it's not funny at all when they're always winning. Croatia have had better days, Japan must be a very hard-working organized team (yes, I know how stereotypical this sounds) and Australia...who knows? Many of the players have experience but I'm not sure they'll be the surprise of the tournament.

Group G:
Togo won't go very far in this group, I'm afraid. France have been very irregular lately but, let's face it, they always have excellent players...Switzerland can finally show some of the good work they've been doing in a big tournament, I believe they can go through. Korea is another bad memory for me from 2002 but this time the referees won't be helping them.

Group H:
So...Spain...I like Spain in many areas of life but not in football...they're not as good as their clubs. They have many great players (mini-Liverpool over there) but they're missing something. Ukraine did a good qualifying but maybe they're lacking experience to be in a world cup. Saudi Arabia...I have no idea, really. Finally Tunisia...same thing, sorry. I'm getting too tired to make up something.

So, my main bets to go far: Brazil, Argentina, France, England and Germany (home factor)


Cathy said...

Between you and Steve, I am good to go! :0). I actually enjoy watching soccer. I despise hockey and baseball.

Meow said...

Don't really go in for Soccer much, but with the Aussies in this year, I of course will go for them !! They beat Greece (I think it was) in a friendly match here just the other day !! Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy !!!
Take care, Meow

jackt said...

Go USA!!! We need a PR boost for soccer in this country. A decent showing by the USA team will help a lot.

Devil Mood said...

Cathy: It's a shame Canada isn't there...we could have a mini-world cup between our blogs :)

Meow: They might do well but cheering and supporting them is the most important thing: people get excited and happy and's fun!

Jackt: Yes, you're right about that. But it's nice that the whole country isn't interested in only one sport. over here, no one cares about anything else but football..

kimananda said...

I remember that match between Portugal and the US. I had spent the previous long time having to say over and over why I was rooting for Portugal, and not for the US (my line was something like, for baseball, I want the US to do well, for football, I go for Portugal), and was looking for a crushing defeat of my native land by my adoptive land (and keep in mind I hadn't been out of Lisbon for that long at that point). And wearing a Portugal shirt, which I haven't been able to bring myself to wear again, as it's clearly cursed.

I was teaching for the start of the match, and at the break, when I went into the teacher's room, it was instantly obvious that everyone was waiting to see my reaction. I was gutted.

Let's hope that doesn't happen again.

Devil Mood said...

Kimananda: Oh what a shame :( Don't wear that shirt again. We're going to be the jinx or whatever this time :) But it was brave of you to adopt that position.

Steve Awesome said...

I think you underestimate Portugals chances. In terms of favourites you have clearly Brazil and then Italy (they will be fine with the form and players) followed by a group of maybe's that include England, France, Argentina and yes Portugal. (I think your better than the Spanish and will be inspired by your 2004 run)

HanktheDog said...

This is the season at our home when it's all sports playoffs-the whole pack is involved. I just don't care for the yelling and loud cheering. Labs are peaceful characters.

Devil Mood said...

Steve: If you say so...we'll see, who knows? I just want the world cup to start, that means I'll have my 2 exams done :)

Hank: I know what you mean! My dog Sky is very upset when we shout during matches. He has bad memories of the euro2004 when Portugal went to the was non-stop shouting over here ;)

Maddy said...

mine goes to France and

Chloe said...

clueless. as always. :)
but i trust your judgement.

Devil Mood said...

Maddy - Feeling clairvoyant today? :)

Chloe: No worries, this is just fun but people forget about it and go crazy.

Scholiast said...

I fear Germany will do as well as always - although I'm much more in favour of Brazil winning every time than Germany any...

I quite like mini-Liverpool, of course, but I'm soooooo hoping England will make it this year! (Even when Norway's in, even when Norway's playing England, I'm with the three lions..)