Monday, December 7, 2009

(Extremely) Early World Cup Predictions

With the World Cup groups now finally being set, many of the experts are coming out with their predictions and analysis about which teams will advance and move on to the later rounds. And since I consider myself an expert because I've watched a handful of CONCACAF games and nothing else, here are my initial predictions for who will advance out of their respective World Cup groups.

Group A - South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

South Africa earned the top seed as the host country, but you could argue that France is actually one of the top eight teams in this tournament and the de facto one seed in this group. This group actually isn't half bad, although South Africa is said to be one of the worst host country squads of all-time. No host has failed to make it out of group play, but I think that will be the case this year. I'm taking France to win the group and Mexico to advance as well.

Group B - Argentina, Nigeria, Korea Republic, Greece

Nothing really sexy about this group, but it's pretty loaded with talent. I want to take Argentina to advance for sure, but after that it could be anyones guess. Greece is still riding the momentum after they won the Euro Championship in 2004, and Korea is nothing to laugh about. I'm going to predict Nigeria to come out of this one, just because there are always a handful of surprises in these things, and I really do think the African squads will perform well as their continent hosts the tournament for the first time ever. Again though, could be anyones game.

Group C - England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia

After the World Cup Draw on ESPN2, all of their analysts were buzzing about how good things looked for America, and that they would advance for sure. I did see one guy from their network predict that the States wouldn't advance, but I'd be willing to bet a lot of money that they do. I know that sometimes when things seem so certain to happen they usually don't, but England and USA are advancing from this group, and there's no way around it. The winner of their game wins the group. Sometimes folks, it really is that simple.

Group D - Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

This group is a lot like Group B, in that the top seed (Germany) will most likely advance for sure, and then the other three teams will battle it out for the second spot. You know what, I've just realized that I barely write sentences with using a comma in them. Look at that, I just did it again. And again! Is that distracting for people? I'm not sure, but I just realized it and now I'm self-conscious. Let's go with Ghana.

Group E - Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

Looking over these groups I'm realizing also that this could be one of the most competitive World Cups we've ever seen. For the most part though, I think it's going to be your typical powerhouses advancing, as well as the teams from Europe. In the World Cup, there are definitely upsets, but nobody has really shocked the world and won the whole thing after not being expected to compete. A powerhouse will win the cup, and I think we can through the Dutch into that mix. I'm not high on any of the Asian or Oceania teams at all, so let's send Denmark through as well.

Group F - Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

This should be a pretty easy path for the defending champions Italy, and I'd actually expect them to sweep the group. Paraguay gets in too basically by default, because like I said I'm not impressed by the teams from the Oceania reason. I feel like New Zealand and Slovakia are kind of just happy to be there, so thanks for playing guys.

Group G - Brazil, North Korea, Cote d'Ivoire, Portugal

As soon as the draw is finalized the first thing people like to do is pinpoint which group will be the "Group of Death", and it looks like this group receives that honor. It might be difficult, but I think you can definitely pencil in Brazil to advance, and I'm going to take the somewhat struggling side from Portugal as well. Cote d'Ivoire (or Ivory Coast, whatever) might be a sexy upset pick, and North Korea has a good squad as well, but I'm thinking the experience and skill of Brazil and Portugal are going to be too much to overcome.

Group H - Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile

One of the biggest highlights for the U.S. squad since the last World Cup was their victory over Spain in the Confederations Cup, but don't expect Spain to be a slouch next summer. They should cruise in this one without a problem. I'd like to see Honduras make it as well to give our hometown CONCACAF region some love, so let's go with them.

Now obviously, very little analysis here and more of a gut feeling kind of thing, but when it comes to the World Cup you're usually pretty safe saying that the top seeds will advance and then there will be a few surprises. All I know is that I'm glad they came out with the groups, as it's already got me fired up for next summer.

More: 2010 World Cup Analysis (Big Dunc)


Bear said...

A - France, Mexico
B - Argentina, Korea
C - England, USA
D - Germany, Australia
E - Netherlands, Japan
F - Italy, Paraguay
G - Brazil, Portugal
H - Spain, Honduras

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