World Cup Preview, Pt. 2: Dance With The One That Brought You

The US Game
Hi, my name’s Luke, and I am your guide to all things World Cup here at the Barcelona Football Blog. This is part 2 of 2 in the preview before the big event, part 1 is available here. Hopefully we will have some live blogs for some of the games and some good predictions from everyone on the board. Besides, this is the World Cup. If you are not excited about it, please stop reading now. Anyway, enjoy the previews.

My father is a man of many colloquialisms. Many of them a somewhat deranged collection of quaint Southern phrases attempting to convey greater philosophical meaning. Well if his goal in all that was to see such things memorialized in a blog, he should be very proud.

Many American football (soccer, whatever) fans are usually wont to become expatriates to other nations, occasionally for legitimate reasons, but mostly because the American brand is so bland and ugly and the team is almost wholly ignored by the American media excepting the lead-up to the World Cup and matches against Mexico. Honestly, these are probably legitimate reasons too, but for some reason I cannot seem to quit the red, white, and blue.

I cannot lie, this, like any good “The Simpsons” episode or Pixar movie is going to be at least slightly political, with a liberal bent, so if you are not in the mood, go ahead and skip on down. Anyway, my relationship with America is contentious at best due in part to a number of foreign policy issues, the continuing poor record on many civil rights issues, a lot of the inner-workings of the American political system, etc. This has led me to consider moving away many times, and yet, I am still here, in law school, hoping to one day change it all, or some such thing.

Being a general fan of the beautiful game (and a Barcelona fan in particular), this led me to consider supporting another national team. Of course this is compounded by the utter contempt in which the game is held by many in the States. Having played for more than 15 years, I cannot count the times I was mocked for playing a “boring” “sissy’s game” that will “never catch on” in America. Frankly it is indicative of a lot more than you would imagine here.

However, I also understand there are a number of people here who love the game and appreciate its intricacies and the game’s popularity is growing, even if it is ignored most of the time. With ESPN finally starting to get its coverage right (if you have not seen the “I Scored a Goal in the World Cup Final” segments, you are missing out completely) and Fox Soccer Channel growing in popularity and availability, it seems the outlets are finally there to extend popularity (because let’s be honest, without a major media outlet to tell them, most Americans are not going to get it). And the real fans of the game here love it more than anything else, mostly because it is so hard to be a casual fan here (at least it was for a very long time). It all makes for something irresistible that is difficult to describe.

Just a city boy!
Another thing is that I like the players on the team. No they aren’t the best in the world, but Altidore, damn I love that kid. Jose Francisco Torres is the poorest of the poor man’s Xavi, but he also looks like the lead singer of Journey, so a holding midfielder who won’t stop believing is just too much for me. And finally Tim Howard, who is either the best goalkeeper in the EPL one minute or singlehandedly responsible for kick starting the Special One’s reign by allowing a cheap Porto goal in during the Champion’s League run in 2004. It’s just something I can’t explain.

So in the end, maybe I have a lot of problems with how America does things, the way it treats its allies, and the worse manner in which it treats it citizens and enemies, but I am also an American, for better or worse, and I always have been. I was raised in American “soccer” and fell in love with it in 1994 watching that amazing run. So in the end, I guess I’m dancing with the one that brought me.

Luke’s Predictions

I had a much longer post planned, but apparently it was too long for Word Press, so here goes with predictions from each group and for the following rounds. Please feel free to post yours below, I am sure you will all do much better than I will.

Group Stages

Group A
For all intents and purposes this is the most confusing group. South Africa has homefield advantage but is the worst team to ever host the games and I believe they will not make it out. Mexico and France are two teams with some very good talent (France with enough to take it deep) but suspect coaching and schizophrenic play in qualifying and the lead up. Uruguay is the quiet group in the bunch with a ton of talent up front but also barely qualifying above Costa Rica. In short, I think Mexico and France kind of cancel each other out with France taking the talent into the second round and Uruguay going through first. South Africa will play tough, but not enough to win.
Moving On: Uruguay (1), France (2)

Group B
Oh Argentina, enough talent to win it all, enough coaching to barely qualify. The Fighting Messi’s should move through this group with ease while Nigeria and South Korea fight for second. Greece is a bus-parking team that I hate to watch to be honest. They were never good and were only put on the map through an astonishing Euro 2004 run. If the South Americans somehow finish second, I look for a solid Nigeria squad (although now missing half its players) to advance.
Moving On: Argentina (1), Nigeria (2)

Group C
England v. United States is a confusing matchup and it does not get any easier from there. England should win this group in style, taking all 9 points available, but in big competitions, well, they are England after all. The U.S. has its most talented group of players ever, but there are definite holes there. Slovenia is a former Yugoslav nation that is underrated and beat a more talented Russian team to make it. Algeria is likely the odd man out here. This group is trickier than most people think and the supposed bottom 2 squads could make this real fun with stubborn play. However, England and the US have far too much talent.
Moving On: England (1), United States (2)

Group D
Here is your real “Group of Death”. Serbia have the best defense in the tournament and underrated attacking while Germany are always going to be good regardless (they have not missed qualifying out of the group stages since 1938). Then Australia qualified last year and were very close to going to the quarterfinals and are bringing back largely the same squad. Finally Ghana are solid all around, but losing Essien creates a giant gaping black hole for the Black Stars. I think Serbia surprises a lot of people and Germany get it done, although this group may end up being decided by goal differential after a lot of tough play.
Moving On: Serbia (1), Germany (2)

It escaped from District 9
Group E
The Netherlands are the third most talented team in the tournament and can run out a dizzying midfield combining some of the best players in all of Europe (with or without Robben), not to mention a number of young players poised to make an impact. Denmark is underrated and ran through their qualifying group that featured Sweden and Portugal, the only question is if they peaked too soon. Cameroon is a solid African nation that could surprise if one of the big two falters but relying on Samuel Eto’o here may be their downfall (he’s more of a diva with the national side). Japan are tough and always put up a fight but they rely primarily on staggering free kicks, and that just won’t fly.
Moving On: Netherlands (1), Denmark (2)

Group F
The defending champs get a relatively easy draw and should come through unscathed so long as their team holds up (they bring back basically the same group that won 4 years ago, just 4 years older). Paraguay were the second team to qualify in CONMENBOL, beating Brazil along the way, and they are well organized, possibly making easy work of the two underdogs here. Slovakia are another broken apart nation, having stood in the shadow of the Czechs for a long time. If they put it all together, moving on is possible. Finally, New Zealand are the weakest team in the World Cup and will be lucky to score goals, much less take a point.
Moving On: Italy (1), Paraguay (2)

Group G
Your so-called “Group of Death”, although any group of North Korea seems more like two tough games and trying not to be taken captive by Kim Jong-Il. Brazil keep chugging along whether via Joga Bonita or through Dunga’s stop-motion defense-first attitude, although tripping up is not out of the question. Cote d’Ivoire may be without Drogba and if they are, I cannot see them moving on, but with him, I think they go through second. Portugal are going through their “golden age” supposedly, although you would not know through watching them qualify. They have the talent to do it, but I see them sneaking through at best. North Korea are probably happy to be out of North Korea for a while.
Moving On: Brazil (1), Cote d’Ivoire (2)

Group H
La Furia Roja are making all the headlines either owing to their past as choke artists, the legacy of their 2008 Euro victory, or the mounting pressure coming toward the Barcelona and Real Madrid-heavy side. Spain should make easy work of this group, unless they play down to their opponents. Chile, who finished second in CONMENBOL, should come through second as they possess superior talent. Although Switzerland do play a workmanlike game, relying on superior organization, although holes exist. Honduras has trouble away from home, but are prone to shocking bigger foes at times. In the end, Spain takes all 9 and Chile makes light work of the rest.
Moving On: Spain (1), Chile (2)

Round of 16

A-1 v. B-2
Uruguay against Nigeria square off in a game that should see Forlan and Suarez come through on sheer offensive prowess, although Nigeria may be able to rely on size and strength to run through Uruguay’s defense. Still, I like this Uruguay side as a surprise (although their draw into A helped them out immensely).
Moving On: Uruguay (A-1)

B-1 v. A-2
Argentina against France in the battle of the worst coaching you may ever see on the world’s biggest stage. I’m sticking with my gut and predicting a big win for Messi & Co. because when it comes down to two halfwits coaching a bunch of legends you go with the side with more talent.
Moving On: Argentina (B-1)

C-1 v. D-2
Rivals clash when England meets Germany and the English hope to recreate the magic of ’66. Germany hope that their craftwork machine takes them further, although the absence of Ballack might likely start to take its toll against stiffer competition. In the end, I think England have the edge here based on Rooney’s superior attacking and Lampard’s playmaking, although Schweinsteiger’s tendencies to show up when absolutely needed.
Moving On: England (C-1) (on penalties)

D-1 v. C-2
The United States could not have asked for a worse foe here. Serbia has giant defenders who will push the smallish American mids around. The only hope here is the quickness and tenacity of Altidore or Robbie Findley up front. Serbia’s superior play from set pieces is going to hurt the U.S. badly. Serbia wins, possibly in an absolute rout.
Moving On: Serbia (D-1)

E-1 v. F-2
Netherlands against Paraguay might serve as one of the more impressive shows of offensive output of this round. Paraguay will not be able to content with the Dutch strength in the midfield and will lose the battle of possession handily.
Moving On: Netherlands (E-1)

F-1 v. E-2
Denmark and Italy will make for an interesting match-up as youth and young manhood goes against age, and possibly vigor. I am not sold on Italy as their age is finally going to catch up to them against a tenacious and fast Danish team and with Nik Bendtner putting on something of a commanding performance.
Moving On: Denmark (E-2)

G-1 v. H-2
Brazil and Chile will make for a rematch from CONMENBOL qualifying but with a confident Kaka holding court and Fabiano scoring at will, Brazil will likely find this matchup an easy win. Dunga, for all his detractors, knows how to prepare a defense and Chile will find little way through.
Moving On: Brazil (G-1)

H-1 v. G-2
If this is Portugal, Spain might win in a rout as Portugal will have utter fits with Xaviniesta, but Cote d’Ivoire are another story all together. The Elephants are large and Drogba may well prove a perfect foil for Puyol and Pique with his size and pace. Still, Spain will triumph, although this will prove tougher than imagined.
Moving On: Spain (H-1)


Uruguay v. England
If England and Germany was an utter battle, this may well prove an all together easier trial. Uruguay got a seemingly simple draw here and will likely prove somewhat easier. Uruguay have the talent to make it interesting, but England will take it in the end.
Moving On: England

Argentina v. Serbia
Might versus magic methinks. Serbia have the defense to do the Albiceleste in should the quizzical managerial skills of Maradona utterly fail and he perhaps place Messi at left back, or maybe in goal? However, this is the game that Messi makes his biggest mark on the whole shebang, willing Argentina forward.
Moving On: Argentina

Brazil v. Netherlands
Poor Holland, this is the worst matchup they could have asked for. Oranje can play with anyone in the world, but Maicon, Lucio, Dani Alves, and Julio Cesar are going to make Dunga proud in defense, turning the Dutch possession into a mish-mash and providing the offense with all that they need. Brazil goes through, and Holland will have nothing to be ashamed of.
Moving On: Brazil

Spain v. Denmark
The Danish Dynamite’s staggering run ends here. If Italy were younger they would not have made it this far but the midfield and attack are going to hurt the Danes with the defensive backline providing no rest for the weary. Spain wins comfortably, showing off their talent and getting ready for the final run ala Euro 2008.
Moving On: Spain


England v. Brazil
And here lies the English run. Brazil use superior talent everywhere and defensive prowess to finally stymy Rooney and the Three Lions. It is not an easy victory and it will likely be heartbreaking for the English fans and press, but Brazil will pass this test in the end. Felipe Melo may well prove to be in his element in international play and against a strained English defense, causing everyone to forget his play for Juventus.
Moving On: Brazil

Spain v. Argentina
A Barça fan’s wet dream (or worst nightmare if you fear fatigue). This is likely where Argentina’s run ends when del Bosque employs all of his tactical abilities on Messi and the Argentine attack, causing them problems controlling the ball. Xaviniesta find Villa/Torres and this one starts to turn south almost immediately. Messi may carry them this far, but beating a team of this caliber is too much for any 1 player.
Moving On: Spain


Brazil v. Spain
The co-favorites coming in meet in a most epic final. In many ways these are two teams that play very well together with almost no visible weaknesses, not relying on one player to get them through. This will bring both to the final, but in the end, I think Spain’s overall talent advantage shows through as a tip-top Brazilian defense is unable to stifle Villa and Torres as they have with other attackers. Spain’s artful midfield takes this one home 2-1 as the largest monkey in the footballing world is finally removed and the ghosts of the past are expelled. Brazil have to wait for home in 2014 for a possible number 6.
Champions: Spain

Golden Ball: Wayne Rooney
Golden Shoe: Xavi or Messi

The Best Bracketology

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  1. stowe
    June 6, 2010

    that was great, thanks for working double hard to post this. there is a typo in group H when you talk about switzerland. I would love to see spain and brazil in the final and i think most people would agree.

    • ballbeav
      June 6, 2010

      why. you like their skills? or is this just a nationalist preference.

      i like teams that play well to advance.

      • ballbeav
        June 6, 2010

        sorry, that was kinda flippant. im a “norteamericano” but ive never been keen on our national side.

        • For the simple reason that I would love for soccer to catch fire here in the states, and with summer being slow for the American big 4 sports, it really has a chance to do some damage in the American sports world.

      • I know they dont play beautifully, but they did just put 3 past an Australian team that is pretty stingy, and really should have won the CONFED cup.

  2. I am seeing good things for the Dutch, they score a shit ton of goals, and I think the only team that can beat them is Spain. What a great final that would be, real vindication for the ‘tiki-taka’ system and Cryuff!!

  3. Ryan
    June 6, 2010

    I like your predictions! Hopefully Donovan and co. can carve their way deep into the tournament, but this is definitely Spain’s WC to lose.

  4. ajani
    June 6, 2010

    If Cameroon and Ghana don’t make it out of the group stages I won’t watch.

    Well, not really, but I’ll be really upset.

    In a dream world my final would have Ghana vs Spain, but I think Spain vs Brazil is most likely.

    Spain absolutely has to win. Not just because of the talent, and the general awesomeness surrounding the team, but because I’ll be in Barcelona at the time of the World Cup final and if they win I can’t wait to be a part of all hell breaking loose.

      • ajani
        June 6, 2010

        only in my heart 🙂 nope, I’m 100% American. I’m hoping for a good USA showing as well, but we can only hope for so much here

        • Jnice
          June 6, 2010

          Oh, that’s cool. I was born in the US, but both my parents are from Ghana and I’m hoping we at least get out of the group stages like in ’06.

          I want US to do well, too.

  5. By the way, it seems that Drogba had successful surgery in his elbow, I am not a Drogba fan, or even a WC fan, but I want him to play, it is what is best for the WC in general. Knock on wood, but could you imagine Messi, Kaka, Rooney or Ronald being injured, it just takes something away from the game if a squad is missing their star.

  6. *****

    It looks like we are in it for Van Der Wiel, maybe Suarez in next!!

  7. jordi™
    June 6, 2010


    I would make this deal in a second…then i would procure a rusty spoon to decapitate my own head.Screw logic i say…

    • CLUEless(John)
      June 6, 2010

      I believe the most logical answer to this transfer rumor is he’ll to the N O. I will take 50 mil plus Adam Johnson and robinho

  8. poipoi
    June 6, 2010

    I’m spanish and feel someting bad might happen, it’s been so many times in the world cup already although this is surely our best form ever. I wonder how the rest of europe will do… and ghana!!

  9. Jose
    June 6, 2010

    I would make almost that exact prediction, Luke! Only I believe Brasil will beat Spain in the Final. Hell, I’ll even say how it’ll be done: score-less first half, Spain press forward, and two quick and effective counterattacks from Brasil do Spain in. It will end either in a 3-0 rout (in Brazil’s favor) or Spain might put it a late goal to make the finale interesting.


  10. ElShowDeJason
    June 6, 2010

    Mexico is gonna make it out of the group. I don’t say this because of bias… Just logic and whatnot…

    In group A, the biggest match will be Mexico v Uruguay. I think both will beat South Africa, and as far as France, well, I think France will either play really well against both, or really bad against both, making Mexico v Uruguay, probably, the most interesting.

    • lovelymofo
      June 7, 2010

      I’m as negative as they come and I think Mexico will make it past the group stage. Won’t get very far after that tho.

      [I will say tho, that S.Africa might get benificial calls, so that makes me a little worried.]

      • Luna
        June 7, 2010

        No negative thoughts, Mexico will make it, Mexico will make it!

      • June 8, 2010

        By whatever magic, no host nation has ever NOT made it out of group (Remember the Columbian own-goal that sent the United States through in ’94?). So basically, I’m assuming S.Africa will make it out.

        That leaves a jackle/hyde Mexico, a Uruguay squad that played it’s way in v. Costa Rica, and a French squad that left it’s best striker (benzema) at home, and a coach who is fuck-crazy.

        I have absolutely no idea who will move on from that group of three. It could honestly be any one of them.

  11. Kxevin
    June 6, 2010

    So, I’ve spotted a glaring flaw in Luke’s preview/predictions post:

    He doesn’t have Les Bleus going all the way. 😀

    Here’s how it’s going to happen: They’re going to put Ruh-Roh Dumbenech in a locker between matches, and drug him during them, sort of like “Weekend at Bernie’s,” only with some World Cup flair. Henry will serve as player-coach, with a cellphone link to Blanc.

    Et voila! France will then play up to its immense talent, rather than looking like a flock of uncoached, clueless gits, and off we go.

    Allons enfants de patrie/La jour de gloire, est arrive!

    • Vj
      June 7, 2010

      And pigs would start to fly, Busi would stop diving, India would qualify for the next finals, I could go on..

      • skyislm
        June 8, 2010

        I like the India bit 🙂
        Wish that would happen, though!

  12. Euler
    June 6, 2010

    It will not be Joga Bonito. Artful? Probably not. It may not even make it to the standard of “attractive” but Brazil will be dynamic and they are going to be very difficult to beat in the cup.

    Their solidity in the back is going to be very formidable. From Cesar out to the dual volante’s in midfield they are going to be very effective at dispossessing the opposition and then controlling play.

    A match up against Spain would be wonderful due to the contrasting styles. Spain’s play focuses so much on the midfield. Dunga’s system sees the midfield as a negative space, one that is largely for transit rather than creativity or imagination. Midfield for Brazil is a negative space. The two teams are just so different in this regard.

    I also have concerns over how Spain’s corner backs will play. Robinho’s unusual positioning on the left could be particularly troubling in terms of tactics.

    Great write up!

    • Ryan
      June 6, 2010

      I really hope that Spain and Brazil meet in the final. It was what was promised last year in the Confederations Cup, although the US had something to say about that… that US-Spain semi-final sure was hard to watch.

      Will Cesar be cleared to play though, with his current injury? And how good is the Brazilian’s 2nd keeper?

      • Euler
        June 6, 2010

        It sounds like Cesar will be ok. Gomes is likely Brazil’s #2. He was in very good form for Tottenham this past season in the EPL. He’s not Cesar but Gomes would most likely be fine. They even have Doni of Roma as their #3. He’s played well for Brazil internationally in the past as their #2.

        Spain and Brazil may have the best depth at goal keeper in the world.

        • stowe
          June 7, 2010

          i don’t watch him much, but i think that Cesar is the only weakness (slight weakness) of a very physical and talented brazil defense. they are big and talented. even the midfielders are good on defense. they will have no trouble with a small and injury prone netherlands team if they meet in the quarters like luke suggests.
          honestly i just don’t want portugal to do well because of thong boy

  13. jordi™
    June 6, 2010

    Oh and since we’ve been discussing van der Wiel, this is an interesting piece about Ajax’s academy.Back to the player- Now i think he would be a great signing , but we should only do it if we intend on resting dani for more than 5 games, we cant just keep stocking up talent ,not playing them, then loaning them away to sell for a loss.


  14. Lev
    June 6, 2010

    “They’re going to put Ruh-Roh Dumbenech in a locker between matches, and drug him during them, sort of like “Weekend at Bernie’s,” only with some World Cup flair. ”
    lol i thought that’s what did they during the last World Cup. I feel so sorry for the French players to have had to put up with this idiot for so many years now.

    About your predictions, Holland against Brazil in the quarterfinals is what I had figured also. And you are absolutely right, they are the worst possible match-up for us.

  15. cliveee
    June 7, 2010

    woah, what a great post, Luke! it’s as if you have seen the world cup already and then u fast-forwarded it for us. thanks!

    A Spain – Brazil final will be dreamy, particularly if Spain win it at the end.

  16. CLUEless(John)
    June 7, 2010

    Reason number 314 I don’t like the English football media. The mirror is reporting we are in it for Clichy, which is fine, but they go on to say that we must be sending Abidal packing, it’s like they are to stupid to ever think that there little prem boy could ever be a backup, I mean gosh he started a tTHE ARSENAL, there is no way he could be a backup. What’s next we are shopping Xavi so we can bring in Rory Dunlap to utilize his extraordinary throw in abilities lol.

  17. barca96
    June 7, 2010

    im hoping for a holland and spain final.
    but they are both known as chokers..

    luke, why didnt you mention landon donovan?
    is he on a decline?
    i havent seen him play in ages.
    and i dont follow epl, so…

    • Luke
      June 7, 2010

      Not enough time/space to mention all the players. Landon is in his prime right now and I think he could very well play a pivotal role in helping America forward, but the key to everything for the US is the defense.

  18. CLUEless(John)
    June 7, 2010

    I personally don’t care for donavan but there is no question tat the was Evreton’s player of the year the second half of last season, totally turned thier season around and tore up the right wing against some of the best defenders in the EPL, that probably boads well for the US next week. But as I have said all month, eveyone should watch out for the Netherlands, I’m pretty sure they can beat Brazil in the semis or where ever they eventually meet. Spain v Netherlands final book it.

  19. Helge
    June 7, 2010

    So here are my predicitions:
    Group A: 1. Mexico 2. Uruguay
    Group B: 1. Argentina 2. South Korea
    Group C: 1. England 2. USA
    Group D: 1. Germany 2. Serbia
    Group E: 1. Netherlands 2. Japan
    Group F: 1. Paraguay 2. Italy
    Group G: 1. Brazil 2. Portugal
    Group H: 1. Spain 2. Chile

    Mexico > South Korea
    Argentina > Uruguay
    England > Serbia
    Germany > USA
    Netherlands > Italy
    Paraguay > Japan
    Brazil > Chile
    Portugal > Spain

    England > Mexico
    Germany > Argentina
    Brazil > Netherlands
    Portugal > Paraguay

    Brazil > England
    Germany > Portugal

    Brazil > Germany

        • Helge
          June 7, 2010

          Yes, I’m fine, thanks 😉

          Note: This is not my wish result, but my predicition.

  20. ermengol
    June 7, 2010

    Great write up Luke. So, Spain won. Let’s get 2010-2011 started already.

    One minor quibble though:

    “Germany hope that their craftwork machine takes them further…”

    That should be “kraftwerk” no?

    • Luke
      June 7, 2010

      Perhaps, but I speak about 0% German. 🙂

    • cliveee
      June 8, 2010

      Kraftwerk will beat everyone with the speakers.

  21. JC
    June 7, 2010

    As much as I want to ignore it, I feel the entire WC has been fixed right from inception. Too often the Host countries have been favored to win the tournament. I can bet you my left testicle that 2014 WC will be Brazil’s and 2018 Englands (If they win the right to host it).
    Logically this WC should be a Brazil Vs Spain final, but I won’t be surprised if an African nation reaches the final.

  22. IS
    June 7, 2010

    Since the mid-90’s I’ve been a Brazil fan, but I must admit, Dunga’s tactics are seriously killing it for me! Effective? Yes. Brazilian? No. So now, while I do hope Brazil reach the final, and while I would still enjoy seeing them lift the trophy; I must admit, I am slightly more attracted to the thought of seeing Spain or (dare I say) Argentina winning it all. Clearly I enjoy watching Spain for reasons that are obvious to any Barca fan. In the case of Argentina, and thanks to Maradona, their team is giving off the ‘underdog’ vibe – and it’s hard not to enjoy watching something seemingly impossible happening. Not to mention, how incredible it would be watching Messi blitz Maradona’s achievements (on the global scale) at the age of 22! (crap!! he’ll be 23 if they manage to reach the final!)

  23. Vj
    June 7, 2010

    England, awful in shootouts, to beat Germany, who have scored 22 straight penalty kicks after Stielike missed one in 1982 and haven’t lost a shootout in any World Cup, on penalties?

    Surely, you jest!

    • Vj
      June 7, 2010

      scratch that, England, whose main penalty kick taker has now missed twice in a row, who are more interested in sending the ball to Greenland rather than between the sticks, who for the love of Gawd can’t convert to save their lives, again, I could go on..

      • Luke
        June 7, 2010

        I know the history Vj, and I am likely wrong, but there is something about this English side I really like, and something about the German side that gives me great pause. Losing Rio versus losing Ballack hurts the German’s much more in my book.

        Like I said, I am probably wrong, but we’ll see.

  24. Hilal
    June 7, 2010

    I thought that Spain and Brazil could only meet in the semis and not in the final…

    • Jose
      June 7, 2010

      If they both win their groups, they can only meet in the final.

      If they both get 2nd place in their group, they can only meet in the final.

      If they both qualify from their groups, but in different positions, then they’ll definitely meet in the Round of 16.

  25. Ciaran
    June 7, 2010

    Group A: Uruguay 1 | France 2
    Uruguay’s attacking might to carry them through in 1st & France to drool over the line by beating Mexico
    Group B: Argentina 1 | Nigeria 2
    Argentina with a decent backbone and flair upfront should be strong enough to get through in 1st. Nigeria to get through with a strong showing against Greece
    Group C: England 1 | USA 2
    Easy group for both with England gaining 9points and being declared by the UK press to be champions already. USA with little trouble following them with 6
    Group D: Germany 1 | Serbia 2
    Germany always perform on the big occasion and will qualify in 1st. Serbia are great defensively and shouldn’t concede against the other countries
    Group E: Netherlands 1 | Denmark 2
    Netherlands could well be the best team in the opening rounds, blowing away all teams on way to 9points. Denmark v Cameroon should be an interesting match but tactically Denmark will be superior
    Group F: Paraguay 1 | Italy 2
    Italy, historically, start tournaments slowly and I expect it to continue here and Paraguay to pick up the first 3points on offer and qualify from there with Italy beating Slovakia on the last game
    Group G: Brazil 1 | Ivory Coast 2
    Brazil will come through this group thanks to their rugged defending but if they pick up any defensive injuries it could be a problem. Ivory Coast have the physicality to get past an ‘all-style no-substance’ Portugal team
    Group H: Spain 1 | Chile 2
    Spain and Chile both to qualify by the end of the 2nd games with Spain to win to avoid Brazil if needed

    A1 v B2 Uruguay to beat Nigeria clearly and go through to the quarters
    B1 v A2 Argentina to beat France in regular time
    C1 v D2 Serbia to upset England in extra time after 0-0
    D1 v C2 Germany to progress comfortably against USA 2-0
    E1 v F2 Netherlands to destroy Italy and make retire most of their old guard
    F1 v E2 Denmark to come through against Paraguay against the run of play
    G1 v H2 Chile G1 to cause an upset and send Brazil home in a 3-2 thriller
    H1 v G2 Spain H1 to come through very tough test against Ivory Coast 2-1

    1/4 Finals
    Serbia to beat Uruguay 2-1
    Argentina to beat Germany 2-1
    Netherlands to beat Chile 3-1
    Spain to beat Denmark 2-0

    1/2 Finals
    Netherlands to beat Serbia 2-0
    Spain to beat Argentina 2-0

    Spain to beat Netherlands 2-0

    • Helge
      June 7, 2010

      Chile kicking Brazil out of the tournament? That would be sooooo much fun 😀

      • y2k156
        June 7, 2010

        I think Chile will beat Brazil as well. I do think that Argentina will win the Semi and Final though. With Maradona lining up Messi, Di Maria, Tevez, Higuain and Milito in same 11 for semi final.

  26. Eklavya
    June 7, 2010

    Have you guys seen this ad?:



  27. Cesc Blanc
    June 7, 2010


    I mean, pre-World Cup friendlies don’t tell the whole story, but you realized that Mexico are pretty good in form, killed Italy, had a good run against England in a game they should have won and the system they play isn’t done by a coach who doesn’t know what he’s doing but rather one who knows it quite well, don’t you? Further, they play with 3 attackers, Uruguay plays with 3 in the back. Tell me who will have the upper hand. Comparing poor Aguirre who did very well at Osasuna and okish at Atletico with Domenech, who hasn’t even coached a professional club in his career is pretty funny.

    I realize you guys are from the US, but the Mexico bias is at times quite funny.

    • Luke
      June 7, 2010

      If we are basing this wholly on pre-WC friendlies, well then we are looking at a Mexico-Brazil final, which is patently silly. Look, outside of Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, and the US, I have watched more Mexico games than anyone. I know how they work, I know how they roll, and no offense is meant but Aguirre is not a good coach. He managed Mexico in 2002 during the WC and he was marginal then with a better Mexican squad (his kicking of a Panamanian player last year is just one of his more nutty instances).

      Mexico has been better recently and I am the first to admit that, but beating an American pep squad for the Gold Cup is not a victory to hang your hat on, and neither is any game played at the Azteca, since you don’t get that homefield advantage in South Africa.

  28. June 8, 2010

    south american team has pretty good chance to win the world cup this year, but of course, team from europe is always there to put up a god fight.

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