This is an abnormally busy week, but there’s no way I’m letting the World Cup pass without a full preview. So let’s get to it, though I don’t know much:
Germany will win an incredibly crappy group. Between Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Poland, it’s a crapshoot of course. I’ll go with Ecuador, simply because they are from South America.
Games to watch: Germany vs. Costa Rica – 6/9 – First match of the World Cup
England will win this group. Sweden should also make it through, though Paraguay could survive if they get really lucky.
Games to watch: England vs. Sweden – 6/20 – (only if it matters, because it’s the last game to be played in the group).
Group C – Group of Death!
Ahh… the dreaded group of death, which requires a game-by-game analysis to determine what will happen. One thing is always true, which is that one of the favorites of this group (Argentina or Netherlands) will not be happy at the end of the group stage.
On a whim, I believe that Ivory Coast is the best African team (as some of us detailed back in December). Ivory Coast will “steal” a tie against Argentina, and a win against the Netherlands in their second outing. The Netherlands will then be desperate against Argentina, who will also be looking to get points to advance, resulting in a classic showdown on June 21, where Argentina will prevail. Argentina should make it through simply because they were eliminated 4 years ago from the Group of Death. Give ‘em some love!
Games to watch: Argentina vs. Ivory Coast – 6/10, Netherlands vs. Ivory Coast – 6/21, Netherlands vs. Argentina – 6/21
Group D –
Angola vs. Portugal should be an interesting match on June 11, at least from a cultural perspective. The soccer won’t be too interesting in this group, as Mexico and Portugal will run away with the group, and what is sad is that they could both be clinched when they play each other in their final game on June 21.
Games to watch: Portugal vs. Mexico – 6/21 (only if it matters)
Group E – US is doomed. Doomed!
Certainly the second-worst group. I hope the Czechs are as injured as everyone claims they will be. Really, it all comes down to the US’s performance in the second game against Italy. Taking down Italy would be monumental, and necessary for the US to advance. I’m guessing that the Czechs and Italy will advance, simply because I feel as though the US’s luck was all used up in 2002. Don’t worry though, this will cause them to be more motivated in 2010 as they will make the semifinals in Freddy Adu’s World Cup debut. (I Know, I shouldn’t look that far ahead).
Games to watch: US vs. Czech - 6/12, US vs. Italy – 6/17, Czech vs. Italy – 6/22, US vs. Ghana 6/22
Brazil and Australia. Australia is really excited to be here, and their opening match against Japan could propel them to the next round.
Games to watch: Australia vs. Japan – 6/12, Brazil vs. Croatia – 6/13
France and Korea. The few articles I read have all written off Korea as some lucky team from 2002 (they made the semis, thanks to the refs). Anyways, they really impressed me, and I believe they will find a way to get past Switzerland, the other contender in this group.
Games to watch: France vs. Korea – 6/18
Spain and Ukraine. A very weak group. I don’t plan on watching any of the games from this group.
Games to watch: None.
Round of 16
Germany over Sweden – Germany has the home crowd
Argentina over Portugal – Portugal will be happy w/ the round of 16.
Italy over Australia – Italy has too much power.
France over Ukraine – Ukraine is weak.
England over Ecuador – England will advance.
Ivory Coast over Mexico – Upset special – Ivory Coast makes it through! It’s pandemonium!
Brazil over Czech Republic - Wow. What a 2nd round game, but I’m assuming the Czechs are dinged up.
Spain over Korea – Spain will be out for blood after losing to Korea because of the refs in 2002.
Argentina over Germany – if this happens, there will be rioting. Even if Germany wins, there will rioting.
Italy over France – France has a lot of older players from ’98 still.
England over Ivory Coast – the run finally ends.
Brazil over Spain – cakewalk.
Argentina over Italy
Brazil over England
Brazil over Argentina – its hard to pick against Brazil.