Thursday, June 22, 2006

World Cup Picks: 22-06-2006

I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert when it comes to sports, or soccer, but it is a game I enjoy watching (and can honestly say I’m totally inept at playing it, but running isn’t much of my things anyway). The four games taking place on Thursday, June 22, feature the last games for the Group E & F teams. The following predictions were also e-mailed to DesertPeace at 1230h, just so you can be sure that this was written before the games took place.

If it turns out that I was wrong, I will not remove this post … it shall remain as a lasting reminder of my genius (if correct, as unlikely as that may be), or my folly (for thinking I could write something relevant about sports. The only follow-up that I will make to this article is to post the final scores, which I will post as a comment.

Czech Republic v Italy: While the Czech's have been scoreless, this final match (against the team that has to win to maintain it's first place standing in the group, which will enable them to avoid facing Brazil in the round of 16) will feature the Czech's first goal of the World Cup finals, but also their last. Look for Italy to win - my score Czech Republic 1 v 3 Italy

Ghana v U.S.A.: The only thing amazing about the way the United States has performed in Germany is how badly the team has played. In order to prevent Ghana from advancing (and assuming I'm correct about Italy and the Czech Republic), the United States will have to defeat the surprise from Ghana: but they won't. Their play thus far has not given any indication of a team with any "reserve" to draw on when they "really need it". This is the World Cup; you need "it" from the very first day. Look for Ghana to be the most excited African nation as they prepare to face first place Brazil in the next round (at which time they will be slaughtered by the Brazilians, who do have more to bring). My score: Ghana 5 v 2 U.S.A. (early American goals and ejections will cause the tides to turn).

Japan v Brazil: This one is so easy, it is almost too easy. Japan has the potential, but their focus has been suspect. Unfortunately, even if they managed to upset the favourites, it wouldn't help their cause. Japan is out of the tournament ... which makes them dangerous. Brazil, on the other hand, wants to shut the mouths of all the critics and arm-chair coaches. They are a great team with talent only limited by gravity and the laws governing the universe ... though there have been times .... My score, not that it matters: Japan 0 v 7 Brazil (it seems unheard of, but Brazil wants to end this part of the finals with an exclamation point).

Croatia v Australia: Desperation may be the key here as Croatia is acutely aware that they advance to the next round (and a possible date with Italy) if they win. To do so, however, will require something that they haven't had as yet: goals. Can they outplay the boys from Down Under? Yes, but will they ... that is the key question. In what may be (if it happens) the greatest upset of the tournament, Croatia will defeat Australia. My score: Croatia 2 v 1 Australia. One Aussie goal will raise the spirits, but alas, too little, too late.


Anonymous said...

At half-time of the first two games - Italy leads the Czech's 1 to 0.

Ghana has scored 2 to the U.S.A's 1.

Unknown said...

Well, I suppose in retrospect it wasn’t wise to expect that Ghana would humiliate the United States, but a 2-1 outcome is close enough (yes, I said 5-2, but I still had Ghana winning).

Italy came close, at least in that they scored two of the three goals I expected – but they held the Czech’s scoreless, so I guess that makes up for the missing point.

The tie between Croatia and Australia is the big surprise. Australia failed to convert several excellent chances for goals, but the tie clinches second for the “soccer-roos”, and they’re through to the next round.

Brazil, well what can you say? Don’t annoy Ronaldo? With two goals Ronaldo now has 14 World Cup goals, and the fire for more. It wasn’t the 7-0 routing over Japan, but 4-1 is a pretty decisive (and impressive) finish.

All in all, I won’t be moving to Vegas to become a handicapper anytime soon. Picked 3 of 4 winners, missed on all counts for goals … sigh.