Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum   
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » Archives » World Cup Prediction Thread

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: World Cup Prediction Thread
graywolfe
Member
Member # 739

 - posted      Profile for graywolfe   Email graywolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We can revise later. But here are my far too thorough and CONMEBOL friendly predictions. The final, in my view, will turn on who wins Group C. If Holland wins, Holland will play in their first title game in 28 years, if Argentina wins the group they will, here's how I see it for now, pending five months of friendlies and potential injuries around the world:

I've been looking through the scenarios and how things could play out and here are my general and specific thoughts.

Group A:

Germany gets a cake group, some say they've gotten that a few cups in a row, but four years ago they landed Cameroon and Ireland to go with the cake that was the Saudi's, so not exactly a Cake Group. Winning this should be easy for them. Costa Rica could surprise with their attack and leap Poland and Ecuador but their defense is a bit on the weak side.


1. Germany 9 pts
2. Poland 6 pts
3. Ecuador 1 pt
4. Costa Rica 1 pt


Group B:

England finally gets a cake group. The fight for the second slot should be interesting as it could be a three way fight for two slots. England should definitely advance but Sweden could leap over them. Paraguay has a shot of surprising Sweden and grabbing second but I doubt it.

1. England 7 pts
2. Sweden 7 pts
3. Paraguay 3 pts
4. T&T 0 pts

Group C:

1. Argentina 7 pts
2. Netherlands 7 pts
3. Ivory Coast 1 pt
4. Serbia and Montenegro 1 pt

Argentina and the Dutch own this. Group of death or no, I see no way anyone wins this group other than the Dutch or Argentina. Serbia's poor performance in friendlies (giving up 7 goals in the last 3 games) has me suspicious of their qualifying defensive performance. Ivory Coast shouldn't have been here if not for a horrendous performance by Cameroon in their qualifying finale.

Group D:

Mexico gets bogus draw after not deserving seed in the first place but at least they're paired with Group C which means certain death and certain justice in the Round of 16 as per usual (how a team whose only accomplishment has been losing to the US virtually everytime they play it, and losing in the Round of 16 every World Cup deserves a seed is something I'll never know), Portugal should win the group, but regardless as to who wins, this is a two team group, and it will take a sterling performance from Portugal for either of them to advance beyond the Group of 16.

1. Portugal 9 pts
2. Mexico 4 pts
3. Iran 2 pts
4. Angola 1 pt

Group E:

This group, much like Group G, could feature a shock or two. Italy and the Czech's are wisely prohibitive favorites, but Ghana could be a dark horse, and if Italy or the Czech's pull their foot off the gas, even a little, the USA will draw points off one or both as the USA squad has virtually never played below its talent level under Arena, and under Arena the US could surprise.

1. Czech Republic 9 pts
2. Italy 6 pts
3. USA 1 pt
4. Ghana 1 pt

Group F:

The battle for runner up, and a virtually certain smashing at the hands of the E winner is the intrigue, since Brazil is virtually certain to win the group. Whomever gives up the least GD against Brazil could take it, which might mean Japan as they get a Brazil team that will likely be resting players but at this time I've got to take the best looking team, and Croatia, who won their group over dark horse Sweden, looks second best to me.

1. Brazil 9 pts
2. Croatia 4 pts
3. Japan 2 pts
4. Australia 1 pt

Group G:
This is a group anyone could win, France looked horrible in qualifying, and hasn't impressed at all since Euro '00, even their brief run in Euro '04 doesnt' wash away a terrlibe '02 performance and a horrid qualifying campaign. The Swiss are still probably too young and not all that good, Togo beat out Senegal for the spot and are being underrated in my view, while S. Korea looked unimpressive without Hiddink beyond a recent quality friendly result.

1. France 7 pts
2. Switzerland 5 pts
3. Togo 4 pts
4. S. Korea 0 pts

Group H:

Another utterly bunk group which goes to show that Fifa's got a screw loose when it gives its three weakest and in my view undeserving seeds (France, Spain and Mexico), the three weakest groups. Spain and Ukraine already have this locked up unless Tunisia can pull a shocker and lead their anti-soccer to 0-0 results or 1-0 victories against either Spain or Ukraine. I say it doesnt happen and I say Ukraine surprises Spain and wins the group.

1. Ukraine 9
2. Spain 6
3. Tunisia 3
4. Saudi Arabia 0

Round of 16:

Match 49:
Germany 2 Sweden 1
Should be a fun game to watch, but I think the home advantage, and Ballack save Germany from total humiliation at home, even though I regard Sweden as a better side.

Match 50:
Argentina 3 Mexico 1
Mexico is simply outmatched, this Argentina squad is better than '02's squad in my view in all ways, Mexico has no shot, inspite of their confed cup performance.

Match 51:
England 2 Poland 0
A boring rematch of a boring qualifyer.

Match 52:
Portgual 1 Netherland 2
Now this is more like it, two of the best seven or eight teams in the world, too bad it isn't a quarterfinal. The Dutch win, because they're better and have competant options at striker.

Match 53:
Czech Republic 3 Croatia 1
Another interesting match, but does Croatia have a chance of shutting down the Czech attack like the dutch did? No.. They don't.

Match 54:
France 1 Spain 2 AET
As long as France wins their group, this should be an interesting match, likely pitting the French versus either Spain or Ukraine. I say Spain, and I say an unimpressive Spanish side beats an even less impressive French side.

Match 55:
Brazil 3 Italy 2
Another classic in the great fabled series. Brazil slices through the Italians vaunted defense, but Italy gets a few back of their own in another game that never should have been a Round of 16 match.

Match 56:
Ukraine 1 Switzerland 0
Ukraine gets past an anemic Swiss side in a dullfest not even Schevchenko can save.

Quarterfinals:

Match 57: Argentina 2 Germany 1
Argentina finishes off a German side that clearly isn't what it once was decades ago. A late pity goal salvages some measure of respect for Germany.

Match 58: Czech Republic 3 Spain 2
Spain shows up again, fighting hard in what proves to be a classic battle between two classic attacking teams, one which has lived up to its potential, one which hasnt of late.

Match 59: Netherland 2 England 1
A heartbreaker for England again as the Dutch come away with a hardfought victory.

Match 60: Brazil 3 Ukraine 0
Brazil plays the beautiful game, and Ukraine gets rolled despite trying to play some fierce antisoccer to keep it close.

Semifinals:

Match 61: Argentina 3 Czech Republic 2
The most exciting match of the Cup? Probably, a game filled with attacking flair, and constant back and forth action, a true classic.

Match 62: Netherland 2 Brazil 3
The Dutch and Brazilians fight it to death in yet another spectacular semifinal, the Dutch falling just short yet again and leading to an unprecedented Final featuring no teams from Europe.

Final:

Brazil 3 Argentina 1

Brazil delights the viewers with a game remiscent of their Confed Cup final a year earlier, though unfortunately the Argentines can't provide a late goal of such beauty as they had a year before.

3rd place game:

Netherland 2 Czech Republic 0

Netherlands shuts down the Czech's again.

An all CONMEBOL final? Probably unlikely, but in my view they're the best two teams in the World Cup, and Argentina has a relatively friendly path to the final till the Semi's if they can win their group. If they do not win their group, expect that Holland will make it to the final instead of Argentina.

Posts: 91 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
vulture
Member
Member # 84

 - posted      Profile for vulture   Email vulture   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Can't argue with much of that. Although I'm morally certain that England will actually lose to the Dutch in a penalty shootout. It's a tradition.
Posts: 1768 | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
graywolfe
Member
Member # 739

 - posted      Profile for graywolfe   Email graywolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The one may area I may change my mind with is who wins Group E. It could be Italy. I'm not really sure about it. Spain could also win their group, but of course they usually underachieve, and Ukraine, has supposedly (I havent seen any matches), played a tough, lock down form of soccer, getting their goal from Schevy or whomever, and then sitting tight. It worked brilliantly in a very tough group (Greece, Turkey, and Denmark all trailed them by a substantial degree until Ukraine pulled the foot off the gas when qualification was essentially assured)and now in a cake group, I figure Ukraine will be less likely to have a let down than Spain.

I also think the US could easily take runner up in E, just as they took slots in the previous two Youth Championships despite being drawn into murderous groups. The Czech's performance in qualifying was split between how they did against the minnows (total dominance for the most part), and how they did against Romania and the Dutch which was actually quite poorly. I could see us taking a slot from them, or even Italy. It's not a coin flip shot, but certainly a 30-35% chance shot in my view.

Anyway, i know it's way too early, but I thought it would be fun to set up a prediction early, especially since a look through it will give you the opportunity to see what sort of Quarterfinals and Semi's could happen. This Cup if nothing else, appears to be on schedule to provide us with two brilliant round of 16 matchups, and an absolute bevy of wonderful matchups in the QF's and Semi's. Here's hoping the US is amongst them.

As for England, I just don't see them making the final. The road is simply too tough in my view, they'll have to defeat 1 of Portugal, Holland, or Argentina, as well as probably Brazil, and last but not least, either Italy, the Czech's, Argentina, or Germany (I'm not high on Germany's chances) in the final if they made it that far. I just don't see that happening, not with their coach, and the variability we see in their play. They have the horses, but they don't play like it. I see England bowing out in the QF's or the Semi's.

Posts: 91 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dutchie
Member
Member # 2690

 - posted      Profile for Dutchie   Email Dutchie       Edit/Delete Post 
grewolf,
it's a brave thing, to make predictions like this.
I disagree of course, on several points.
First, let's begin with my own Holland. the Dutch image might rest upon the great name of the coach, and the big name of the attackers. There are however , a couple of negative factors:
- the attackers arent what they once were, Van Nistelrooy still performs, but not as good, Robben (Chelsea) is injured every 3 months, Van Persie (Arsenal) is cool but mwah, Kuijt (Feyenoord) is okay but also less than last year, and Makaay (Bayern) is dramaticly bad. And Kalou ... a whole can of worms, and he wont get a passport.
Also, the Dutch reputation rest upon the qualification. In the qualification there were only 2 important games, against the Czechs. Our home game, we won it a little bit lucky, The Czechs were justifiably denied a penalty, but of course they didn't think so, and one minute later, we scored 1-0. You understand, they could and can drink our blood. In the return game, they had no defence and no Nedved. Conclusion: those games have led to over-rating of the Dutch team.

Let's look at the last 3 games,
- WCqual. home against bleeding MACEDONIA: 0-0
- Friendly home against Germany 2-2
- Friendly home against Italy 1-3 !!!!
The conclusion can be that we're not so hot, actually.

On with the show:
I don't agree with your assesment of Serbia, true they had 3 0-0s, but just 1 goal against!
Also France still finished top of the group, so ...
Spain, mysteriously, performs as bad as the German perform well on tournaments, so yeah, I kinda agree with you there. However, I think an important factor in this is that Spainiairds don't like to be away from home, not 'normal' people, and not footballers. But seeing all the Spainiairds in England, this has changed and psychologically they might be better prepared this time.

Americans are basically Geficked but since they are the Germans of all sports, it would be foolish to totally write them off. If the opponents are caught napping, the Speedy Gonzalezes of Team A. could sneak one or two in, who knows.

Also, as an aside, if Israel started qualifiying in the Asia group, then they would be there all the time.

Posts: 93 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dutchie
Member
Member # 2690

 - posted      Profile for Dutchie   Email Dutchie       Edit/Delete Post 
And hey, there was ALREADY an all south-american final, in 1950, Uruguay beat Brazil 3-2 (At home in Brazil, very dramatic! I think a Brazilian striker committed suicide after that). I admit, it wasn't a REAL final as such, it was a groupmatch, but for all practical purposes it was, since who won that match, would win the cup. Be more precise!
Posts: 93 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dutchie
Member
Member # 2690

 - posted      Profile for Dutchie   Email Dutchie       Edit/Delete Post 
South-America still leads Europe 9-8 on an all time WC result and I don't see Germany or Italy winning it 3 or even 2 in a row, so Brazils record is quite save.

As for your group, actually, I think on paper you'll finish last. Italian defense is horribly solid, Czech attack is disgustingly good, and Ghaneans will outrun you, so it's a toughie. But then, you knew that b4hand. Also, the ball is round. And the Ghaneans, the African teams have the image of being very strong, maybe even technically skilled but not tactically sound, in European eyes. Don't let that skewed, slightly racial view fool you. If you have to read English press, try to get the view from Black Englishmen, you'll get more than the standard meme of 'strong but dumb'

As an aside: wouldn't it be a hoot if T&T beat England? It'll be Senegal-France all over again ...

Posts: 93 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Athelstan
Member
Member # 2566

 - posted      Profile for Athelstan   Email Athelstan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I predict that England will win the World Cup in 2006 and I’ve got my money down at 11/2. I base my prediction on the fact that I’m English and a blind refusal to consider the facts, form, history and the petulant nature of our players. I’ll also be wearing my lucky St George socks. I forgot to wear them when we played Brazil in 2002.

I don’t know what sort of coverage the World Cup will receive in the US but when the US played in the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup I could find no mention, in my limited access, in the US media. I thought they gave a brave and gutsy performance. They lost nearly all their matches but they played the Game well.

Posts: 715 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
vulture
Member
Member # 84

 - posted      Profile for vulture   Email vulture   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Pah! England's only chance is to drop Beckham, and that isn't going to happen.
Posts: 1768 | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
graywolfe
Member
Member # 739

 - posted      Profile for graywolfe   Email graywolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dutchie, my all CONMEBOL final was meant to (my bad)express the fact that this would be the first ever all CONMEBOL final in Europe, that is why I expected some Euro's to not be fond of, or respect the sentiment. I was not aware of a previouse final (or pseudo final) that had been all CONMEBOL before, but I was aware that there had never before been one in Europe (considering the only non-Euro team to win a European held World Cup was Brazil 48 years ago in Sweden).

As for you view of the Dutch, I'll take your's over mine, the main area where we might disagree, is what will happen if the Dutch manage to win their group (something I don't expect to happen because of how brilliantly Argentina has played for the most part and how much better they strike me than their '00-'02 selves). If they win their group they'd likely get Mexico, and then if they win either Germany, or Sweden in the QF's (England if England fails to win their group but does advance), I think all these games are very winnable for the Dutch but I will defer to you.

I'll have to take a look to see how they did against Romania, did you see those matches? What would be your interpretation of them, as I found the Dutch group to be them, the Czech's, Romania and a bunch of nothing. Interested to see what you think of it.

As for Israel, I definitely think it's a forgone conclusion that the political issues that have kept them out of Asian qualification screwed them out of a place this time. With their performances against France, Switzerland and Ireland, it's essentially impossible to believe they would have failed to qualify for a slot over the Saudi's, or at least for a playoff against T&T instead of the lying, whining cheats from Bahrain.

As for England, Beckham while a distraction is a huge help on set pieces and of course on crosses, too big of an asset to leave at home. It's a shame you guys can't figure out how to play Lampard and Gerrard together. What's odd is, the way I'm looking at it, it appears England has a far better chance of making it to the Final if they finish runner up to Sweden than if they do as group winner. As group Winner they've got the Dutch, the Argentines, or Portugal in the QF's, which strikes me as a likely "go home" match, if they finish runner up, they play a German squad I think they match up very well against in the QF's, and would then get the murder match against the Dutch, Argies, Czech's or Italy in the Semi's. In my view, England's best shot to make it their farthest since Italia '90 is to finish runner up and hope Brazil gets knocked out in that deadly Czech/Italy/USA/Ghana Vs Brazil Round of 16 game, or in the semi's against whomever plays them among the Dutch, Argentines, Portugal, or whatever.

I'm just hoping the games live up to the potential and the US overachieves, that would leave me ecstatic.

Posts: 91 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dutchie
Member
Member # 2690

 - posted      Profile for Dutchie   Email Dutchie       Edit/Delete Post 
Graywolfe, I totally agree with your overall expert-ish analysis, except for maybe the England German match. Normally, and in light of the 5-1 beating they got last time, and their not-stellar record as of late, I'd say England over Germany. But, Germany is a great tournament country. And for that we hate them more than the English do. Also, the home advantage, etc. the incredible pressure, the fact that their players won't be as tired as the English ones, goes in the germans favour. Also, Johan Cruijff, in his incomparable style, said about the Germans: "You haven't beaten them until they are out of the stadium, on a bus on the outskirts of town ...." They are the ultimate comeback kids, the never-giver-uppers.

However, English have on paper the better players, for sure. So, its a tossup, hard one to call.
In light of Van Nistelrooys topscoring position, I have to revise my assement of the Dutch attack.

The two Holland-Romania games were adequate, I'm sorry that I don't really remember them, I was in a bar, I drank beer, I saw this incredibly interesting Swedish exchange student, and we talked about something incredibly important I'd wish I can still remember, but alas, memory escapes and all that ....

Grey, maybe you wanna check out www.voetbalstats.nl it's bi-lingo, so u can see the most comprehensive site about Dutch football.

But, kudos for your after-group-stage analysis.

Posts: 93 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dutchie
Member
Member # 2690

 - posted      Profile for Dutchie   Email Dutchie       Edit/Delete Post 
Gray,
I admit being somewhat too gloomy, but then I hate this coach, he's such an arrogant pig, and he kicked all my fav players off. In general, the Dutch agree with you, in that they'll think we'll survive the groupstage. The one psychological danger might be that we beat the Argentinians last time, 1-0, and that that will give us false courage. If all goes as planned, we both win the matches against IvoryC and Yugo, and we fight for top of the group ... pipe dreams.
I dislike our coach Marco van Basten, as a person, (even though he was my cousins classmate and I even sorta met him once in 1983, way b4 he became famous) because of two reasons:
- he stated that after a football practice, his girlfriend should carry his sportsbag, since he did all the work of training etc.
- He won European footballer of the year, one year after Ruud Gullit, who dedicated his award to then still locked up Nelson Mandela. His comment was that he wasn't gonna "do something like THAT", said on a tone as if he thought Gullit had done it for show or something.

I dislike him as a team-manager since he's kept Seedorf and Davids and even Van Bommel of the team, in favour of notably worse players. A good coach is that one who incorporates the best players and makes a team out of them. He fails to do so conspicuously in the cases of Clarence Seedorf and Mark van Bommel. I have a 'the bigger they come, the harder fall' kinda scenario in mind I guess.

As for non-european finals: This year there was the under 20 WC Football in the Netherlands, and the SEMI-FINALS even, lacked any sort of European team. Semifinals were total African and SouthAmerican, Argentina-Brazil and Nigeria-Marroco 3-0. Final was Argentina-Nigeria 2-1. Big man in Argentina was Lionel Messi, who wasn't messy at all, except for messing with the opponents defense ... [Wink]

Posts: 93 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RickyB
Member
Member # 1464

 - posted      Profile for RickyB   Email RickyB   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dutchie, Davids is my favorite player in the world, but he's OLD. Same with Seedorf, who plays for my beloved Milan. Van Bommel we can argue about, but Van Basten's style requires speed and stamina, and even though Davids is a hirse, I don't think he has enough of these anymore.
Posts: 19145 | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
graywolfe
Member
Member # 739

 - posted      Profile for graywolfe   Email graywolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well as good as Messi is and was in that tourney, I'm happy to report that the US Nats shut him down in the American 1-0 opening game win over Argentina in the WYC's last summer. Unfortunately Sigi's inept attacking tactics, and roster and lineup decisions rendered the defensive prowess of the team moot and that all came home to Roost when the Italians rolled us in the Round of 16. [Frown]

Anyway, you'll have to wade through a bunch of b.s. at times, but I've never come across a more informative (picking and choosing) site for World Cup and General soccer analysis than bigsoccer.com. The debates in the forums there are often fascinating and elucidating. Much more informative and helpful than my own analysis, although I did a terrific job in the fifa picking competition back in '02 [Wink] .

Posts: 91 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dutchie
Member
Member # 2690

 - posted      Profile for Dutchie   Email Dutchie       Edit/Delete Post 
RickyB, whoa, who woulda tunk you cared about football? Didn't forget one of those Maccabi's beat my beloved Ajax out of every Euro competition 2 years ago .... grrrrr!!
Ajax sucks now.

I agree that Davids and Seedorf are not as good as they were, but still. Seedorf plays consistently in AC Milan, which is a Champions league finalist. Still he's passed over for guys from our number 5 local club!
Davids, he was the most popular player in 1998 and Euro2000 by far, and I guess upto 2002. Now he's the laughing stock, somewhat. Van Basten really insults him with his policies. It's not funny.

Seedorf? Nobody even mentions him anymore, the last one was our first female football anchor, more than half a year ago (She's Jewish btw, in the old jewish liberal tradition, quite leftwing. Both her father and aunt are big, 25 year, TV personalities here).
Let's not forget that Seedorf is a four time champions league finalist AND a 3 times winner. While the other midfielders cannot even come close to that record.

Van Basten is just too scared, since he lacks personality to control the group. A large part of the guys he picks are 20 something guys whom he coached at Ajax Junior.

Posts: 93 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RickyB
Member
Member # 1464

 - posted      Profile for RickyB   Email RickyB   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You kidding? I'm a BIG soccer fan (I use football for gridiron). My two favorite teams are Milan and Ajax, and the Dutch national team (I also root for the US team).

Speaking of Ajax, - yes, we suck nowadays...gonna have to fight to qualify for UEFA. oh, the shame.

Anyway, it's very possible that Marco prefers to go with guys who aren't as likely to give him grief, but can you blame him? Remember what those idiots did to Leo? To Gus? To Rijkaard? The stupid focking factions, the black and white horsecrap? Seedorf and Davids were among the chief culprits there. I can't really blame Marco for trying to head that off from the start.

Posts: 19145 | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hannibal
Member
Member # 1339

 - posted      Profile for Hannibal   Email Hannibal   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I say, replace Iran with Israel!!
let israel win the world cup as an act of sympathy!!.

oh well, I am a fan of Brasil, as you maybe know, logically they have the best team now with Kaka, Robinho, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Adriano. this five is basically unstopable.
the only team that can defeat Brasil is Brasil, just like in the 1982 world cup. plus, its very though for a south american team to take the cup in europe, (brasil was the only one to do it, back in 1958 sweeden) not to mention that brasil has allready been to 3 finals in a row, and won 2 of them. statistically its going to be hard to keep that up.

but again, "on the paper" they have the best team in the world by far, probably the best in history. Ronaldinho is better then Pele or Maradona. and the rest of them arent far of.

Posts: 3495 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RickyB
Member
Member # 1464

 - posted      Profile for RickyB   Email RickyB   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ronaldinho is better than Pele? Getting a little ahead of ourselves, I think.

Also, speaking only for myself, the only thing that would be worse than never making the WC, would be for anyone to "let us win". [Smile]

Posts: 19145 | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
graywolfe
Member
Member # 739

 - posted      Profile for graywolfe   Email graywolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
African Nations Cup is just about over, with Nigeria's B squad beating Senegal's backups 1-0 in the third place game. Egypt through match fixing has made the final (the ref, fearing for his life, elected not to give a PK to Senegal in their match with Egypt in the 90th minute, to quote from espn's match report (not a column, but a report, suggesting how thoroughly obvious the blatant bit of ref cowardice was) check out the link:
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report?id=194936&cc=5901

I've never seen a match report touch with such certainty upon a questionable call.

Anyway, save for Ivory Coast, all the African entrants to the World Cup crashed out before the semi's. Angola, Togo and Ghana imploding in the group stage, while Tunisia crashed out in the Quarters suggesting that early predictions from myself and others that Africa would suffer their worst collective performance in a World Cup ever, in the modern World Cup era, are justified. The only African sides in the world cup that appear to be any good are Ghana, Tunisia, and Ivory Coast, and only Tunisia got a favorable draw, and still likely not favorable enough for that defensively oriented team with two naturalized Brazilians as their only attacking presence.

Right now, this looks like the kind of cup that will give UEFA supporters a healthy ego boost as nothing out of Asia or Africa inspires confidence, Conmebol sent forward a pair of uninspiring partners for Brazil and Argentina, and Mexico and the US alike got horrendous draws in terms of round of 16 matchups, and in the US case, in terms of group play (Mexico will have to play Argentina, Netherlands, or Ivory Coast after advancing out of their group, the US would likely get Brazil with a small chance of Croatia if they advance).

This will be a cup all about UEFA and Argentina and Brazil, the positive I see is that we'll get potentially outstanding matchups in the quarters and semi's very much unlike Japan/Korea in '02, but we won't be able to enjoy the upsets that have fueled quite a bit of spectator interest in previous Cups.

Posts: 91 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
s.m.beatty
New Member
Member # 2789

 - posted      Profile for s.m.beatty   Email s.m.beatty       Edit/Delete Post 
Comment about Ronaldinho is premature. Riquelme may be better. Conmebol final in Europe is unlikely. Americans under Arena have never underachieved (read will not lose to Ghana). They may overperform and knock off one of the more talented sides, but the element of surprise (see '02) is lost. The overrating of Mexico is obscene. Australia is my dark horse because of Hiddink. African Nations Cup is a little discouraging but I still like one side to upset as is consistent with the trend of recent cups. I could see Ghana or the Ivory Coast knocking off one of the tournament favorites. Togo, Angola and Tunisia are in weak groups. Portugal, France and Spain are all overrated. Call it Tunisia. Hosts always advance deeply and Germany are a good tournament team. Ballack is a magician and they are working a new style (read no defense). England are talented but there is too much drama and they can't beat Sweden. I like Sweden's attack. The Dutch will blow up at some point. Italian defense will progress. I question the number of Czech options with Nedved's health in question. Shevchenko doesn't have enough help. Spain will choke and have injury problems. Portugal's time has passed and I'm really sick of watching all them damned stepovers. France were old in '02...and the team is pretty much the same. Can't quite figure out who the random semifinalist will be this year. Call it Paraguay.
Posts: 1 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RickyB
Member
Member # 1464

 - posted      Profile for RickyB   Email RickyB   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"The Dutch will blow up at some point"

Hey! I resemble that remark!

Seriously, I think chances for a blow-up are low this time. Quality suffered somewhat, of course, but I think if there's one thing Marco gave the Orange back (other than real commitment to attack, something sorely lacking under Dick the Dick) it's a group of guys who are truly grateful to be there. Not the whole team, but enough of them to diffuse the formation of hostile camps. And there IS plenty of talent, so if they manage to win the group (Messi and Riquelme....damn, what a combo. Scary.) then they could go all the way.

As for general predictions, the only deviations I have from the opening forecast is as follows:

Paraguay and not Sweden advancing in group B
Iran and not Mexico in D
USA and not the Czechs in E (patriotism talking there, plus I believe in the American team, and I have this wild-ass hunch that the Czechs are jumping the shark as we speak).

Croatia look good, so can't quite pick them to not advance, but Australia will have more than 1 point. They'll beat Japan (who are overrated, imho) and maybe take a tie from someone else. It's not so much the players as it is Gus. The man is a tournament technician of the highest order.

I have a bad feeling about Ukraine. (The Ukraine is weak!). It's a shame for Sheva, but whatchya gonna do?

Posts: 19145 | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
graywolfe
Member
Member # 739

 - posted      Profile for graywolfe   Email graywolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"The Dutch will blow up at some point"

Hey! I resemble that remark!

Seriously, I think chances for a blow-up are low this time. Quality suffered somewhat, of course, but I think if there's one thing Marco gave the Orange back (other than real commitment to attack, something sorely lacking under Dick the Dick) it's a group of guys who are truly grateful to be there. Not the whole team, but enough of them to diffuse the formation of hostile camps. And there IS plenty of talent, so if they manage to win the group (Messi and Riquelme....damn, what a combo. Scary.) then they could go all the way.

As for general predictions, the only deviations I have from the opening forecast is as follows:

Paraguay and not Sweden advancing in group B
Iran and not Mexico in D
USA and not the Czechs in E (patriotism talking there, plus I believe in the American team, and I have this wild-ass hunch that the Czechs are jumping the shark as we speak).

Above your post I disagree with the Riquelme over Ronaldinho comment. Granted Ronaldinho has 10x more than Riquelme has to work with but until Riquelme achieves what Ronaldinho has (Back to back player of the year awards, absolutely astonishing performances several Champions League tournaments running, helping lead his International squad to Copa America and Confed Cups titles over Argentina no less, both times)that can't really be argued convincingly.

As for the post I'm quoting. Paraguay supposedly is missing Roque Santa Cruz for the cup, and considering that I think Sweden has to be the favorite, even if they haven't impressed since Euro '04, particularly with Ibrahovich and the voodoo they've been using against England since the sixties. No way I'm taking Iran over Mexico either. Mexico advanced out of group play in '86, (banned in 1990 due to cheating in a Youth tournament) '94, '98 and '02 (four consecutive advances out of group play) and this is despite playing in enormously difficult groups every single time. Mexico can advance out of a cake group. Even if they are America's ----- at soccer at this point (I believe the US has lost only one game to Mexico in our last eleven games against them and we've got a GD of like +10) they still no how to advance out of group play. As for the Czech's or the US, I'm getting more confident with each passing month but considering how many injuries and recovery programs we have (O'Brien, Reyna, Gibbs, Donovan, GAM etc) I am a little concerned.

I expect us to get punked in Germany this wednesday and then we'll hear all sorts of b.s. about how we're a paper #5. One thing people don't know about wednesday's game: the US will be starting only two definitive starters in the game (Dolo and Keller). Our entire back four will be a combo of non-starters, our midfield will be composed of only one or two players likely to make the roster, let alone start (Mastro and Convey) and at forward we have nothing other than the recovering GAM, and inconsistent Twellman. Without our engine in the midfield (temperamental Donovan is out with an injury) we're in deep do-do. I'm picking a 1-3 defeat. Germany supposedly will start their first XI, or the closest amalgam possible. Very frustrating to see Donovan go down with injury and Dempsey get suspended and excluded by Arena due to a fight at his club teams practice.

[ March 20, 2006, 08:33 PM: Message edited by: graywolfe ]

Posts: 91 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1