It certainly has been a long long time since we have had a chance to write something here at LES. But what better way to get back into things than a World Cup Preview!
If you need a refresher on who is in what group click here.
I am going to assume that if you are reading this you have been keeping up with all of the pre-WC drama, the injuries and the in’s and out’s of your favorite squads so I am going to jump right on in to predictions! Here, in group order are my Round of 16 Predictions:
South Africa (A)
Based on how I think each team will advance from their groups our Round of 16 Matchups should look something like this:
France (A) VS. Argentina (B)
England (C) VS . Serbia (D)
Germany (D) VS. USA (C)
Nigeria (B) VS. South Africa (A)
Netherlands (E) VS. Paraguay (F)
Brazil (G) VS. Chile (H)
Italy (F) VS. Japan (E)
Spain (H) VS. Portugal (G)
The best games from my projected Round of 16 are: France vs Argentina, England vs Serbia and Spain vs Portugal.
Based on my projected Round of 16 matchups and who I think will win each one, Here are my Quarter final Predictions:
France VS. England
Germany VS. Nigeria
Netherlands VS. Brazil
Italy VS. Portugal
Obviously all of the games in the Quarter Finals are ones to watch out for, but if I had to pick one and only one to watch I would be forced to go with Netherlands vs Brazil. It was very hard not to say France/England because that is a fierce rivalry and is going to be a splendid match (If it happens).
France VS. Germany
Brazil VS. Italy
And the Final:
Germany VS. Brazil
France VS. Italy
And from a Brazil/Germany final I would pick Germany to win. The German team, even with their injuries and setbacks, to me are still the strongest team in this World Cup. I will say that the 3/4 Matchup of France and Italy would be a 3/4 match worth watching for once, usually the 3/4 is the only elimination game nobody watches, but if France and Italy meet up to compete for 3rd place, it would be a hell of a match.
And for anyone who is reading this, and planning on doing a World Cup Predictor in an online league or anything like that I do have some advice:
1. Don’t fall in love with previous Champion Italy, it is very rare to win back to back World Cups. Italy will go far, but don’t bank on them winning just because they won the last WC.
2. Nigeria is a serious Dark Horse, there is always one, and I think Nigeria has serious potential as the Dark Horse this time around. Other teams with Dark Horse potential are Japan, USA and Serbia.
3.If you notice, in 2006 Ivory Coast was the big Dark Horse for many, and most people would give them that title again this time around. I would not put money on the Ivory Coast, especially if Didier Drogba is actually going to miss the WC. And also they happen to be in the Group Of Death. So better luck next time Ivory Coast.
4. And my biggest piece of advice, don’t ride the Spanish speaking countries too deep: Spain and Argentina. Spain has the #1 world ranking and a very favorable draw, but there seems to be a complacency about this team a la 2002 France who got shocked in the first round and went out bottom of their group. I’m not saying thats Spain, but be ware. And Argentina, they could be another team shocked in the group, a capable but not great group of teams in with them, and really could end up being on an early plane, mostly by the hand of Diego Maradona (did anyone get that one? HAND of Diego Maradona? No? Okay)
5. And last but not least, don’t let your Homerism for the US or any other team make you pick the them to win 5-0 every game. It won’t happen. The US are good but certainly not world beaters this time around.
Well, the World Cup 2010 starts in just two days time, let us all start removing all heavy and sharp objects from whatever room your TV is in, and begin coming up with new insults for referees and players that they will never hear. Enjoy your World Cup. I know I will. And best of luck to all 32 teams, let’s hope for some great games.