Two people have asked me this week about who I think will win the world cup. That makes me an expert. (Hey, last time around nobody asked me.
So, here’s my expert opinion–I don’t know.
No really, nobody knows. All they’re doing by giving predictions is guessing–well-researched guessing in some cases, but guessing all the same. Plus, it’s that Blink-type (sixth sense?) feeling as well. I tried tuning into my sixth sense and I found that I don’t have one.
But, that doesn’t prevent me from hazarding a guess. The reason I think that it’s difficult to pick a winner this time around is that there isn’t a clear favourite.
Yeah, I know Brazil is a favourite but aren’t they a favourite every time? Plus, I am not sure about their defence and Ronaldo hasn’t exactly been sharp for Real Madrid. A physical team could cause them problems.
England has a good chance but they don’t have Rooney (for now) and Owen’s just coming back from an injury. Lampard has kinda disappeared in the latter half of the season. Gerrard has played too many games. No holding midfielder. Good defence though and that might keep them in games. Need someone to manufacture goals. I think the set pieces by Beckham will be crucial with Terry, Ferdinand, and company trying to muscle in goals.
Argentina are in a tough group and they’ll always be tough and physical, so you can’t count them out. Will Requillme, Messi, and Crespo lead them to the promised land? Hard to tell because Messi’s been injured. Requillme will be influential as he was against Arsenal in the Champions league. Good team but tough group.
Italy is torn by scandal and now injuries. Last I heard two defenders are out, at least for the first game. They’ll manage defensively, but there are other problems. Totti’s coming back from injury and he’s a key player. This is a dangerous team though, because I get the feeling that people are ignoring them and they could cause some surprises. Or they could fall flat.
Holland is my team and I hope that they’ll do well, but with the Dutch you never know when they’ll self-combust. Injuries here as well, and Van Basten has had to call up a couple of players as stand-bys. Ouch, what is it with injuries this pre-World cup? If they get out of the group, they’ll be a tough opponent because they have quality up-front with Ruud Van Nisetelrooy (sp?), Robben, Van Persie, and company. And they’re a young team, and they did well in the qualifying rounds.
Czech Republic are a good team as well and I think that they should do well in this world cup. However, the problem for them is that all their stars are ageing and they have lost one player to injury. They should be a team that progresses far, especially if they play to potential. You can never count Nedved out, he’s so talented. It will be interesting to watch this team perform.
One team that isn’t getting too much hype is Portugal, at least not around here. However, you’ve got to like this team–a lot. Their coach was the same guy who won the World Cup last time around with Brazil. They made it to the Euro 2004 final. They are a hungry team and have some quality players–Ronaldo and Figo for instance. Scolari should be able to take this team deep into the tournament but do they have enough to win it?
Germany is the enigma. They’re playing at home so expect them to do well. They haven’t impressed so far though and with Ballack likely out for the first match, they may face problems. Apart from Ballack, Lehmann’s the only player I can think of who’s been in great form. Who’s playing up front for Germany? Exactly.
France just found out that Cisse is out of the World Cup. I’m thinking that’s not so bad because maybe the Saha-Henry combination will cause problems for defenders. Saha’s got pace and we all know what Henry can do. I read somewhere that Henry doesn’t like playing with Trezeguet and the Saha-Henry combo has done well. The problem for the French is that they have been unimpressive and their key players Zidane, Makalele, Thuram, Vieira, and Barthez are in their final leg (pun not intended) of their career. They must like their chances though.
Other teams to be wary of in this world cup are Spain and Ivory Coast, but Spain are perennial underachievers and Ivory Coast are new to this whole affair. Spain is an intriguing team with loads of talent but they’ve not converted that talent for a long time, so till they get past the quarters and into the semis, we’ll all say–See, the same thing happened.
Ivory Coast is in a tough group and while it may be tough for them to beat Holland and/or Argentina, you never know. Drogba’s a pain in the rear end to defend and with Toure and Eboue, the defence is pretty darn good.
So, there you have it, my prediction–no clear winner. It’ll all be decided on the pitch and not by experts.
Clearly, I’m no Nostradamus.