Monday, June 21, 2010

Around the World Cup

With one game left in the first round things look like this.

Group A
Uruguay and Mexico lead with 4 points each and the play each other. If they draw, they both advance. If one or the other wins, France or South Africa, each with one point, with a win has a slim chance of overtaking the loser but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Most likely Uruguay and Mexico advance.

Group B
Argentina, with 6 points, has clinched an advance. South Korea and Greece both have three points and Nigeria trails with 0 points.

Nigeria is far from out of it though. They play South Korea in the last game and if they win will probably advance as Greece has to play Argentina. I’m betting that won’t happen though.

Argentina definitely advances along with most likely South Korea.

Group C
Slovenia has the advantage with 4 points followed by the U.S. and England with 2 each and then Algeria with 1. FIFA has sidelined the referee that disallowed the U.S. goal against Slovenia so I suppose it should be the U.S. with 4 points and Slovenia with 3 but that’s not how it works.

I honestly don’t know here but I have this feeling that Slovenia and England tie while Algeria, a team whose short passing meticulous style of play is the sort that gives the U.S. team fits, manages to beat the U.S. That would have Slovenia and Algeria advancing.

Group D
This is a very interesting group. Ghana leads with 4 points followed by Germany and Serbia with 3 each and then Australia with 1. But the last game has Ghana playing Germany and Serbia playing Australia so there are all kinds of possibilities.

It’s hard to believe but Germany could actually be eliminated if they draw with Ghana and Serbia beats Australia. I think they’ll beat Ghana though and Serbia will beat Australia so Germany and Serbia advance.

Group E
The Dutch are in and will be joined by the winner of the Japan v. Denmark match. Cameroon will have to wait until the next tournament. Japan has the advantage because they will advance in the case of a draw, but I’m going with Denmark.

Group F
Paraguay has 4 points followed by Italy and New Zealand in a dead heat with 2 each and then Slovakia with 1 point.

I’m not betting against Italy. Expect them to beat Slovakia and advance along with Paraguay who ties New Zealand.

Group G
Brazil is in, North Korea is out and Portugal has a 9 goal differential lead over the Ivory Coast.

Portugal would have to get pounded by Brazil and the Ivory Coast put as big, or a bigger, whooping on North Korea as the Portuguese did in order for Portugal not to advance along with Brazil. That isn’t going to happen, Portugal advances with Brazil.

Group H
What a group to have for the finale. Chile leads with 6 points but favorite Spain has 3 points after beating Honduras and has a 1 goal advantage in both goal differential and goals scored over Switzerland who also has 3 points.

Spain finishes against group leader Chile while the Swiss play Honduras.

Well, well, this one should be interesting. If Switzerland loses or ties Honduras, which I suspect is unlikely, then Spain only needs a draw with Chile. However if Switzerland beats Honduras then Spain needs a win against Chile in order to avoid elimination.

Even a victory doesn’t guarantee Spain will advance. If Switzerland wins by one more goal than Spain and scores one more goal than Spain, then you end up with a three way deadlock and the two teams to advance will be chosen by lot.

I’m betting Spain beats Chile and Switzerland beats Honduras but not by a big enough margin. That allows Spain to advance and Chile beats out Switzerland in the third tie breaker which is head to head competition.

So, to summarize:

Group A – Uruguay and Mexico
Group B – Argentina and South Korea
Group C – Slovenia and Algeria
Group D – Germany and Serbia
Group E – Netherlands and Denmark
Group F – Paraguay and Italy
Group G – Brazil and Portugal
Group H – Spain and Chile

Let’s see how badly I do here. It can’t be too bad because there are at least four locks.

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