Thursday, June 17, 2010

6-17-10: The World Cup Thus Far

I’ve been so caught up in the World Cup that I haven’t had the chance to post in a while.

Things got interesting starting yesterday with the opening loss for Spain to Switzerland. In my office pool I had Spain winning 4-0; I was already close to last place before that bomb. The only game I’ve correctly predicted was Netherlands vs. Denmark.

For the most part my group predictions are very mediocre. Obviously, Group H is out of whack with the Switzerland win, but Chile’s win over Honduras kept that group half alive. Let’s go through the rest in reverse alphabetical order:

Group G:

I watched both opening games (via DVR), and was thoroughly entertained. I have Brazil and Portugal going through, which is still very much in play. Rather than being a matter of how badly Ivory Coast and Portugal beat North Korea, I think it will be which team doesn’t lose to Brazil. I think Portugal is a bit stronger and can work a tie with the South American powerhouse to squeeze through.

Group F:

Paraguay is impressive. They, like ALL OTHER SOUTH AMERICAN TEAMS, had a strong opening game. But, with all four teams tied with 1 point a piece, it’s still wide open. I’m still picking Slovakia and Italy to advance, but it’s not looking good. I think Italy will make it, but I can’t help but think Paraguay will do quite well in their second and third games against Slovakia and New Zealand. The match to watch: Paraguay vs. Slovakia, Sunday @ 7:30AM.

Group E:

I had hoped for a bit more from Cameroon. The Japanese really took them to task with a strong opener. This group looks pretty solid right now with the Dutch and Japanese going through, but I’m looking forward to the Cameroon vs. Netherlands game next Thursday at 2:30PM. Hopefully things won’t be settled by then.

Group D:

Germany and Ghana are going through. The Ghana vs. Serbia game was very entertaining. I was disappointed in Australia’s performance, but not surprised to see Germany win. This one looks pretty settled.

Group C:

Very good stuff from the U.S. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s game against Slovenia, which is a must-have. It’s looking very possible like a battle between the U.S. and England to see who makes it out, but both teams still have a chance to advance if they both beat Slovenia and score 2 or more against Algeria.

Group B:

Argentina has arrived. They had a stirring win today against South Korea. Higuain looks fantastic. I can’t wait to watch it this weekend. The Greeks have also made things a bit more interesting with a win over Nigeria, but I think South Korea will make it through. Unfortunately, I had picked Greece.

Group A:

I knew I couldn’t trust the French. Today’s 2-0 loss to Mexico has sealed their fate. South Africa will be the first host country to not make it out of the Group Stage (no real surprise after the draw happened months ago). Uruguay looks to be a sleeper from this group. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go far. They and Mexico will advance.

One thing that has really come out so far is the great play from South American teams. They’ve gone undefeated thus far. It would really be something to see all five teams (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay) make it through. Right now, it’s very much a possibility.

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