So … if you haven’t joined the Fighting Talker World Cup Prediction Contest, go here and do so. The password is “fighting talker”. I don’t know if there’s going to be a prize, but hey, the worst you can do really is to do worse than me.
Speaking of my picks – I joined the group and made a very rash, quick, and someone purely guess-filled attempt to select how World Cup 2010 is going to play out. I ended up with a lot of “chalk,” as it were, but I made up for that by picking a winner that’s never won the Cup before – and it’s not Spain.
Here’s a brief look at who I have advancing from each group, with the winner appearing first, followed by the runner-up:
Group A: Mexico, South Africa. I just have no confidence in France whatsover and feel like they are going to be a huge disappointment this time around. South Africa has been more than competitive of late and I think hosting helps. I hate to give any credit to Mexico, so I won’t, but they’ll win the group.
Group B: Argentina, South Korea. One of the groups where the top team is far and above (I think, I hope); but second-place is anyone’s guess. I gave a nod to South Korea, but it’s close. Any of the four advancing wouldn’t surprise me.
Group C: England, United States. Down to the reasoning that I will go into here tomorrow – I just don’t think the US can beat England. I hope I’m wrong. I think Slovenia and Algeria are in very tough here and would be shocked with a capital SHOCKED if either advanced.
Group D: Germany, Australia. The Aussies are just plucky enough that they could win this group, but despite the injuries the side has suffered, I can’t pick against the Germans here. Ghana makes me worry for my picks a bit here.
Group E: Netherlands, Cameroon. On first glance I wanted to pick Japan, but maybe the site of their own-goalapaloosa vs. England scared me off. Denmark doesn’t get the job done, I don’t think, so it leaves Cameroon by default.
Group F: Italy, Slovakia. Taking Slovakia in the two-spot because I just don’t trust Paraguay. They are capable of quality soccer, but I don’t see it over 3 games.
Group G: Brazil, Portugal. The oft-repeated storyline of World Cup 2010 is that Portugal is going to go 3-and-out. This is more of just a contrarian pick for me here, but I thik if Portugal and Ivory Coast played 10x on a neutral field, Portugal would get the better of it. The trick here is they’ll only play once, so anything can happen, but I’ll stick with Portugal.
Group H: Spain, Switzerland. Spain is great unless they are playing the USA in South Africa, and the USA isn’t in their group. I flipped a three-sided coin to get the second team.
ROUND OF 16:
* Mexico over South Korea (I hate to pick this, but that’s how I see it)
* England over Australia (barely)
* Netherlands over Slovakia (not barely)
* Brazil over Switzerland (Brazil gets a stroll to show their flair)
* Argentina over South Africa (but not without a sweat)
* Germany over the United States (I want to believe in our defense, but I just can’t – please let me be wrong!)
* Italy over Cameroon (PKs)
* Spain over Portugal (I’m only going to believe in Portugal to a point)
* England finishes Mexico’s run, if for no other reason than I just couldn’t put El Tri in the semifinals.
* The Netherlands beat back Brazil to shock a good many observers.
* Argentina defeats Germany in a juicy quarterfinal.
* Spain bounces Italy.
* It all ends horribly for England, as the Netherlands advance, probably in extra time.
* Argentina stuns Spain to reach the final. I have less and less confidence in this pick the more I look at it, but I clicked everything off first instinct, and you’re not supposed to go against that.
WORLD CUP FINAL:
* There certainly would be no lack of entertainment in a final between the Netherlands and Argentina. Their match in World Cup 1998 is still among my most favorite that I’ve ever seen. Though they did play a scoreless draw at World Cup 2006. But deep down, I really do think this is the year The Netherlands breaks through.
Of note, I said that in 2006, too. Oops.