Wednesday, June 07, 2006

World Cup Preview - Group A

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

So, the beautiful game takes center stage in two days - the FIFA World Cup is set to begin with hosts Germany kicking off the tournament against Costa Rica. I know most of you don't care about the World Cup - so I'm doing this for my man DJames...who needs some help talking soccer with the in-laws. So I'll start with Group A.

Germany - the hosts come in as the definitive favourite in the group - but that probably has more to do with the teams in the group, rather than the talent on the squad. Germany's star player Michael Ballack is suffering from a calf strain and is doubful for the opener against Costa Rica. While the Germans should win the group rather easily - not much is expected from this group. They will make the round of 16, but I don't think they are good enough to beat England, Sweden or Paraguay - they will face one of the teams in the round of 16. Ballack has cautioned fans not to expect much from this squad - I'll go with Michael's assessment of the situation.

Costa Rica - while they are ranked 26th by FIFA, I always question rankings attributed to teams from CONCACAF. Costa Rica has a decent squad, but I think they will suffer from not facing top ranked teams - they haven't had enough exposure to the world's top teams to be able to compete at this level. I'd be surprised if they managed to pick up a point.

Poland - they have some World Cup pedigree, having gone to Korea for the 2002 tournament (where Pauleta bounced them out with a hat trick). I don't know what to make of Poland's number 29 ranking...they have not faired well against some of Europe's better teams - often being booted right off the pitch. While many are calling for them to come in 2nd to Germany...I'm not convinced.

Ecuador - the darkhorse in this group. Ecuador qualified out of a very tough South American group and have plenty of experience playing powerhouses like Brazil and Argentina...along with facing the likes of Paraguay and Columbia. Many are dismissing them from this tournament - I'm not. They have a number of players who have experience in Europe - look for them to shock the world by advancing to the round of 16.

Winner - Germany, they should win their first two and coast in the third.
2nd place - Ecuador, I see them qualifying with two ties and a win.

Key Game in the group - Ecuador and Poland. There isn't much to choose from between these two, so I see them both playing cautiously in the opener and playing for the tie. Ecuador has the advantage of playing the Germans in their third game, with the Germans place in the round of 16 assured by virtue of wins over Costa Rica and Poland. They ease up against Ecuador and the South Americans advance.

There you have it DJames - your group A breakdown; the in-laws might not care much about this group. Tomorrow we do Group B with England, Sweden, Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago.

For those of you who checked in for this week's Weird and Whacked Wednesday update - I couldn't post an entry without one story.

If you (American readers) aren't interested in the World Cup - your government is! In a story that should catch your interest - the US Government has publicly stated that German authorities should do more to stem the tide of sex trade workers expected to flock to Germany for the tournament. While I appreciate the premise of the statement - where does the US get off telling another government what to do about an issue that is legal in that country. That's right peeps - like the great state of Nevada...the world's oldest profession is legal in the land of chocolate (picture Homer Simpson doing that happy dance as he eats his way through chocolate town).

That's about it for tonight folks...the Oilers got their cans handed to them tonight in Carolina. Have a great one gang.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world - nice article in The Toronto Star.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - i'm going to resist suggesting an OOM PAH PAH song. So I'll go with what's playing right now - goes with the Star article!

All Come True - World Party

"She's making it all come true this time"

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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