Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cup Predictions: Part One

Alrighty time for some WC predictions! First I'd like to point you to where I've been getting lots of great information:

-Big Soccer- Tons of information- you usually have to sort through some of the over-hyping or Euro-snop, etc. riff-raff but the content can provide information you don't find anywhere else.

-World Cup Blog- Great site that is fairly easy to navigate. Lots and lots of info on each team. Good place to find info on individual players, teams, etc.

-Soccernet- Great place for general news.

-Gunslingers- Intelligent and entertaining predictions with a nice geo-political slant.

Now to the predictions (All times US Central):

June 9 (11 AM, A)- Germany-Costa Rica: The opener sees a bright Tico side looking to shock the world but Germany's traditional style stymies them for the most part of the match. Germany looks nervous and cautious, something that is completely understandable given that the tournament is in Germany and they have so much pressure on them. The Germans get a goal on a counter-attack early in the second half for PODOLSKI. KLOSE adds the second on a set piece in the last ten minutes. Costa Rica's valiant efforts mean they deserve more after providing hope for a thrilling Finals but ultimately the hosts are too much. Final: Germany 2 Costa Rica 0

June 9 (2 PM, A)- Poland-Ecuador: Each team knows they need three to start themselves off here. Ecuador looks more the side we saw away from home during qualifiers rather than the dominant force at home high in the Andes. Poland is cautious at the start as they seek to feel out their opponents. The first half is a sleeper but as the second half gets on each of these squads will look to get a winner. Ecuador will come close through Delgado and sub Cristian Lara before getting a goal from a powerful strike by winger EDISON MENDEZ. Poland immediately pushes forward and gets the equaliser from ZURAWSKI just before injury time sets in. Final: Ecuador 1 Poland 1

June 10 (8 AM, B)- England-Paraguay: England have a mess in attack on their hands with Rooney out going into their opener with the South Americans. Crouch partners Owen up front to start the match out. In the beginning each looks tentative but gradually Gerrard and Lampard start to take their hold in midfield. But a foul in their own half leads to a well-struck ball by EDGAR BARRETO which beats Paul Robinson. The second half leads to a frantic England side who know they cannot lose their first match. Joe Cole starts to get forward but Crouch is anonymous up front and Owen is lacking a partner. Eventually about half-way through the first half a run by Cole leads to a chance for Owen which is saved but bounces right back to LAMPARD who cleans it up. Initially England presses for a winner but a sublime chance for Julio Dos Santos is missed on the counter and England are lucky to still be even and feeling lucky decide to kill the match. Final: England 1 Paraguay 1

June 10 (11 AM, B)- Sweden-Trinidad & Tobago: Sweden come out with confidence against the Carribeans and immediately make their mark on the tournament. The first-half sees goals for IBRAHIMOVIC and ANDERS SVENSSON. T&T get back in the match early in the second with a STERN JOHN strike and briefly they are rejuventated and look to equalise. But a LARSSON strike quickly ends that. Sub and Championship Manager favorite KIM KALLSTROM adds a fourth late in the match for the Swedes. Final: Sweden 4 Trinidad & Tobago 1

June 10 (2 PM, C)- Argentina-Cote d'Ivoire: One of the most anticipated first round matches gets underway with the African side pushing forward Akale, Drogba, and Kone. But Sorin and the Argentine defense manages to keep the Elephants in check for the whole of the first half. The second half starts with a bang as Argentina finally starts to get in an attacking groove. Riquelme, Tevez, Gonzalez, and sub Messi lead the attack against Eboue, Toure, Toure, and co. At the hour mark the Argentines finally find their way through as a wonderful pass from Riquelme sends TEVEZ through and the Corinthian makes it a lead for the South Americans. The Elephants immediately throw on Bonaventure Kalou for a more attacking outlook and are rewarded when he provides DROGBA with a rebound chance and the Chelsea man equalises. Late efforts from Messi and fellow-sub Aimar as well as Riquelme and Cambiasso don't find the back of the net and Group C opens with a draw. Final: Argentina 1 Cote d'Ivoire 1

June 11 (8 AM, C)- The Netherlands-Serbia & Montenegro: ORANJE takes the field against newly seperated S&M in another intriguing Group C match. The match opens with Oranje seeking to impose their attacking style through Van Der Vaart, Robben, Kuijt, and Van Nistelrooij. S&M tries to keep the attack at bay with their very strong backline led by Vidic and Kristajic. The Netherlands open their account half an hour in with a Van Bronckhorst cross finding the head of VAN NISTELROOIJ. Ruud's shot beats Dragoslav Jevric and Oranje have the lead at 45 minutes. The second half starts with The Netherlands feeling more complacent and this leads to Stankovic, Djordevic, Kezman, Zigic, and sub Vucinic all go close. Marco Van Basten subs in Landzaat, Boulahrouz, and Van Persie but the close calls lead to Oranje going back to an attacking game. Van Persie and Van Nistelrooij come close but the match remains at the same scoreline. Final: The Netherlands 1 Serbia & Montenegro 0

June 11 (11 AM, D)- Mexico-Iran: Two teams I won't be cheering for open up Group D play looking for three crucial points. Mexico scores a quick goal through BORGETTI and adds a second from LUIS PEREZ just before the break. Iran fights their way back in with a strike VAHID HASHEMIAN off a Mahdavikia pass early in the second half but Marquez and co. kill off the rest of the match. Final: Mexico 2 Iran 1

June 11 (2 PM, D)- Angola-Portugal: The Portuguese take on former colony Angola to open their account. Most Louisiana residents watching will no doubt make clever jokes about that other Angola, but unlike the Angolese we are most familiar with in Louisiana we should definitely cheer for THIS Angola. Anyway the match starts off with a stunner as AKWA gets the opener within five minutes. Surely the Portuguese aren't reliving the humiliation of World Cup 2002? They figh back though and DECO evens it up before the half. CRISTIANO RONALDO gives Portugal the lead at the hour mark and sub HELDER POSTIGA adds a third late to give Portugal the victory. Final: Portugal 3 Angola 1

More predictions coming later!

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