East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Friday, June 09, 2006


E GROUP OF DEATH: Czech Republic, Ghana, Italy, USA
One of the three excellent teams here will go home early, and everyone thinks it'll be the U.S. But there's a good chance the Americans will claim a draw with one of the European countries, and then it could come down to whoever puts the most goals past the unfortunate Ghana team. The other reason this is the worst group to be in is that even if you come second, you'll be up against Brazil in the next round, so don't expect anyone to hold back.
Predix: Czech Republic 1, Italy 2

D GROUP OF CRIPPLING INJURY: Angola, Iran, Mexico, Portugal
Portugal are favourites but they're not a slam dunk. Mexico are always strong, and the underrated Iranian team are very, very dangerous: in their form and mid-priced strike power they're reminiscent of Turkey four years ago. Forget Angola.
Predix: Portugal 1, Iran 2

F GROUP OF SEVERE PAIN: Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Japan
This and group C are the only groups with four good teams, not that the three that aren't Brazil are going to worry the champions. The winner of the three-sided coin for second place gets the reward of probably not having to face Brazil again, unless they make the final, which they won't.
Predix: Brazil 1, Croatia 2

C GROUP OF A BAD CASE OF THE FLU: Argentina, Holland, Ivory Coast, Serbia & Montenegro
There's a clear top two and bottom two, but it won't be easy for the favourites. Of the top two, Argentina have more talent, but Holland are more reliable. Either of the bottom two could upset the mercurial Argentinians, but the Ivory Coast seem more likely, having the advantage of still being a country. Every tournament a African team pulls off a stunner, and with Didier Drogba, the Ivory Coast are the most likely candidate.
Predix: Holland 1, Argentina 2

B GROUP OF MILD DISCOMFORT: England, Paraguay, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago
England are strongly favoured. The Swedes will be more concerned about keeping out a dangerous Paraguay team. Trinidad & Tobago are there to make up the numbers.
Predix: England 1, Sweden 2

A GROUP OF WELLNESS: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Poland
Home advantage should see Germany through comfortably. Both Costa Rica and Ecuador are good enough to trouble the Poles.
Predix: Germany 1, Poland 2

G GROUP OF SPIFFINESS: France, South Korea, Switzerland, Togo
Togo are happy just to be there, and neither South Korea and Switzerland are that great. Those two teams face each in the last group game, so coming into that match with an edge in goal difference will be vital.
Predix: France 1, Switzerland 2

H GROUP OF ORGASM: Saudi Arabia, Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia
A mediocre group is enlivened by Spain's disaster potential. If the Spanish play to their abilities, the crucial game will be Ukraine vs Tunisia on the last day of group play. Expect the Ukraine to need only a draw and so to play ultra-defensively.
Predix: Spain 1, Ukraine 2

Full predictions here.


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