Thursday, June 08, 2006

World Cup Preview - Group B

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

If you checked in yesterday - you know that I'm doing a World Cup Preview for my man DJames. I should have mentioned yesterday that my breakdown and accompanying predictions have not been reviewed, commented on or approved by Hazel Mae - but since we don't really know how closely she will be following the World Cup, it is my hope that she would give her thumbs up...oh yeah, and a little Hazel Karma to the boys from Portugal. So, its on to Group B - one of the more interesting groups in the tournament.

England (ranked 10th by FIFA) - the favourite to win the group and with very good reason. Their defenders are solid, led by Chelsea's John Terry - a guy Jose Mourinho said was a world class player...if Terry is good enough for Mourinho, he's good enough for me. As a group, their midfielders are as good anyone side in the world - led by Steven Gerrard (who is nursing a bad hip) and Frank Lampard. Please don't talk to me about Beckham - all image and hype...he isn't all that. Joe Cole provides a nice change of pace and can threaten the opposition with his speed and shiftiness.

The problem for England rests with their strikers - Michael Owen and Wayne "Lock Up Your Grannies" Rooney are both coming off of serious foot injuries and their third option Peter Crouch hasn't proven himself at the international level. They will try to take advantage of his height in the box - but the guy isn't a natural scorer. Having said all this, they have enough to win all three games in the opening round.

England the classic underachievers, who go into every tournament with thoughts of winning it and usually come up short - mostly against Portugal! England gets to the quarter-finals, before losing to....guess who? Portugal!

Sweden (ranked 16th by FIFA) - the Swedes don't get enough respect; they come into every tournament as an afterthought, and usually do very well. They will be lead by some recognizable names - Henrik Larsson, Freddie Ljungberg, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (a good old fashioned Swedish name huh?). They play a sound game and are opportunistic when they have the chance to score. I don't think they have enough to overtake England...but I think they get to the second round - by a very narrow margin.

Paraguay (ranked 33rd by FIFA) - the wildcard of the bunch. They are battling a few injuries up front, this team is capable of pulling off an upset. They qualified out of a very tough South American pool - so they can play. Paraguay will play tight and try to keep games low scoring and create scoring chances in transition - they have a talented group of young players up front. They believe they have a shot to advance in the tournament - with a little luck, they just might.

Trinidad and Tobago (ranked 47th by FIFA) - the sacrificial lamb of the group. They don't face the level of competition the other three teams do - and it will show. Trinidad and Tobago will be hard pressed to score one goal at the World Cup. They would be one of the teams that is just happy to be there.

Winner - England, I see them having enough to win all three games - though beware Paraguay.

2nd place - Sweden, I think the Swedes and the Paraguyans will both wind up with four points, with the Swedes advancing on goal differential.

Key game in the group - Sweden vs Paraguay. I'm calling for a tie in this game - especially if Paraguay manages to hold England to a tie in the first game; they will play for the tie and hope that England beats Sweden in game 3. It goes without saying that if one of these sides wins the game, they go through to the round of 16.

There you have it DJames - your Group B breakdown. Your in-laws might be a little more interested in this group - seeing as though a Portugal vs England match up in the quarterfinals is a good possibility. Tomorrow Group C.

That's about it for tonight - I'm going to go check in on the yahoo gang and see what's up there - Hubie might be talking some trash about still being in first place in the Hazelspeeps Fantasy Baseball Pool. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - what English fans must be singing to themselves and their team

The Stand - The Alarm (Irish punk/rock)

"Come on down and meet your maker
Come on down and make the stand
Come on down, come on down
Come on down and make the stand!"

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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