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Germany ’06 : My Predictions June 6, 2006

Posted by Aniket in Aniket, Football WC.
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Once again Football Fever is going to infect the world. Over the next one month, the entire world will be keeping a close watch on the events that unfold in Germany. For the time has come for what is possibly the greatest sporting extravaganza known to mankind, barring the Olympics (though some may challenge this). It's time once again for the best players of the beautiful game to come together & fight for a single aim – the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
            This is the third World Cup that I would be watching & only the second which I would be following closely. I was a 10-year old cricket obsessed kid during France '98 & the football World Cup meant nothing much to me. I only saw the finals & immediately took a liking to the game. Zidane became my new hero & Croatia my favourite team. But a lot has changed since then.
            By the next World Cup in 2002, I was a complete football nut. I looked forward to the event with great anticipation & had the privilege of being able to watch almost all the matches live, since the matches were broadcasted after school hours & before the prime-time soaps. By then Spain had become my favourite team, a choice that holds good even today. Hence I was extremely disappointed when they lost in the quarters to Korea. But the World Cup was a greatly enjoyable experience for me.
            Four years on, I look ahead to Germany '06 with the same anticipation. And I'm sure that the World Cup will live up to it's reputation of being the greatest spectacle on earth. Here are my predictions for Germany '06:

Group A:
Germany, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Poland
     Pretty straightforward, I expect the Germans to go through with the Poles & Costa Rica fighting for second. But Ecuador might well spring a surprise.

Group B:
England, Paraguay, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago
     England & Sweden are favourites to qualify. Paraguay can do it only if they manage to beat one of those two. As for T&T, well, look forward to the Trinidad test against India – that's your only hope for any sporting success.

Group C:
Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia & Montenegro, The Netherlands
     The group of death. Normally you'd expect the Argentines & the Dutch to qualify. But both of them have very young squads & at the World Cup, experience counts for a lot.  Thrown in the resurgent Serbs, who went unbeaten through qualifying, & the Ivory Coast which is possibly the best african team in the tournament, & you have a very complicated situation. But I see the Dutch & Argentina making it out of this one.

Group D:
Mexico, Iran, Angola, Portugal
     Seems easy on paper – Mexico & Portugal should go through. But Iran are capable of producing a shock & so too are Angola.

Group E:
USA, Czech Republic, Italy, Ghana
     Possibly the toughest group after Group C. The Azzuris should go through but even that is no certainty. The other spot can be easily taken by any of the other three but my favourites are the Czechs. In fact I expect them to top the group, with the Azzuris coming second. The match between these two, on the last day, will be vital.

Group F:
Australia, Japan, Brazil, Croatia
     Brazil are most likely to go through but the race for the other spot is wide open  . Japan has had a good run-up to the World Cup with some good performances in the friendlies. Croatia have many quality players & with Guus Hiddink in charge, it is likely that the Aussies might create an upset or two. In fact, I fancy them to take the second spot.

Group G:
France, Korea, Togo, Switzerland
     I expect the French to get through this group without much discomfort. The Swiss failed to impress at Euro 2004 & hence I expect the Koreans to beat them to the second spot. As for Togo, it's the same as for all African teams – you never know.

Group H:
Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia
     Another easy group with the Spaniards progressing to the next round. Ukraine would have been favourites for second place but without Shevchenko, they are not the same team. Tunisia have a chanced of qualifying while for Saudi Arabia, qualification for the knockout phase is as likely as a flood in Riyadh.

Knockout phases:
      It gets tricky from here on, as one small mistake is all it takes for a giant to be knocked out. According to the draw, the quarters will throw up interesting match-ups like France-Italy, Brazil-Spain, England-Argentina & Netherlands-Sweden (yes, I expect the Swedes to beat the Germans). My prediction is that England, Netherlands, France & Brazil will make it to the semis & that Brazil will go on to win a sixth World Cup.

Upcoming Stars:
     I had expected Wayne Rooney to emerge as the biggest star of Germany '06, but given his current condition, that seems very unlikely. Amongst the others, I expect Arjen Robben, Petr Cech, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Joe Cole, Rubens Baraja & Mateja Kezman to dazzle at the World Cup. And no, I don't expect Theo Walcott to even get a game.
     I guess the stage is set for a great tournament. Let's keep our fingers crossed & hope for the best.       

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Comments»

1. Bharat Maheshwari - June 6, 2006

Ruben Baraja….eeeehhh… he’s not been selected to play for the Spanish team… and he is 32 years old…no exactly young.

2. Amit Goyal - June 6, 2006

I bet on Lionel Messi and Riquelme as the stars of this world cup!!

3. DesiPundit » Archives » World Cup predictions - June 10, 2006

[…] The World Cup has started, but before it did, Aniket provided us with his predictions. […]

4. Big Paul - June 19, 2006

Hmmmm.. your prediction on the poles did not come true. Your quarter final line up looks solid with the exception of France, who probably won’t make it.

I od not believe Brazil will win the World Cup. I think Holland, England, Germany or Italy will win it. As an outside bet maybe Portugal or the Czechs (despite a shock loos to Ghana).

Anyway we’ll see.


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