3&IN World Cup Predictions

June 11, 2010 2

Hogger’s Predictions

Winners?

A year ago I said Brazil would beat Spain in the final and I’m gonna stick to my guns.  Spain have an incredibly talented squad, by the far the best in tournament, but I have a sneaky feeling that Dunga’s well-drilled foot-soldiers will come to the fore.

Dark horses?

Holland.  A fresh Robin van Persie has the potential to be one of the stars of the tournament, and a supporting cast including Robben, Sneijder, Afellay and Elia means they can’t be ignored.  Obviously they can’t defend and presumably all hate each other, but y’know.

Team to flop?

France.  Last year’s finalists have some very talented players but seem to be riddled with in-fighting and managed by a man so contrary he makes Mary look quite conformist.  I think they could well go out of what looks on paper to be an easy group.

Golden boot?

Luis Fabiano.

Player of the tournament?

Attacking full-backs are all the rage, and I wonder if that will continue this summer: Maicon.

Rising star?

Ajax and Holland’s overlapping right-back Gregory van der Wiel.

Player to flop?

Cristiano Ronaldo.  Please.

Maradona: Genius or Mentalist?

Proper mentalist.  His ‘four centre-backs + loads of stocky attackers’ formation will be more entertaining than effective.  They’re blessed with an easy group and Messi might bail them out, but even so a place in the final looks beyond them.  Maradona will certainly provide some of the tournament’s biggest talking points, whatever happens.

Last Man Back’s Predictions

Winners?

Spain – they just have so much attacking ability and such a strong squad. Defensively they’re very sound and when you add Torres, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Silva and Villa to any team you’ve got goals, goals, goals. I think the Euro win has laid to rest Spain’s big tournament weakness. This is the best generation of Spanish footballers ever, they know how to win domestically, in Europe and I think they’ll win the World Cup.

Dark horses?

Holland – I say this because of their like-clockwork implosion at major tournaments. There’s no doubting their attacking prowess. Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart are top class and will trouble the best teams and probably obliterate the lesser lights. The key to their success lies in at the back. Can they remain solid? If so, and if a defensive star or two emerges, they could do it.

Team to flop?

Brazil. I know Dunga has them well organised and you should never write them off in the World Cup, I just don’t feel it with them this time around. Important players are coming into the tournament on the back of poor domestic seasons, Kaka in particular, and I think they could go out early.

Golden boot?

David Villa or Robin van Persie.

Player of the tournament?

Cesc Fabregas

Rising star?

I’m excited to see if the hype around Angel di Maria is justified and Slovakia’s Marek Hamsik is another to keep an eye out for.

Player to flop?

John Terry

Maradona: Genius or Mentalist?

A gentalist. He’s clearly quite mad, and very often the best players make poor managers, you just wonder if the madness might be a bit liberating for the Argentine players. If things go wrong they know the fingers will be pointed at him and his crazy ways. I think they’ll be fun to watch though!

The Magic Sponge’s Predictions

Winners?

Very difficult to see who will stop Spain. Perhaps it will be a referee or a knife wielding manic interrupted stealing stuff from their hotel room.

Dark horses?

Croatia. Only kidding. I think USA may cause a few upsets. They can actually play football these days.

Team to flop?

England. All those cheap flags, decking and stuff stuck on the front of houses will only anger the football gods.

Golden boot?

David Villa. Or another player with dark hair. I’m unconvinced a blonde will get it.

Player of the tournament?

Hopefully Aaron Lennon, but far more likely to be a player from a side that goes beyond the Group stages.

Rising star?

Look out for Michael Dawson. He reminds me of Pike out of Dads Army.

Player to flop?

There will be many sacrificed on the football alter in the coming month. My suspicion is the first blood will be that of cheats. So maybe we’ll see John Terry taped sniffing some of his dad’s gear off the back of Henry’s hand, or Maradona’s bottom.

Maradona: Genius or Mentalist?

Out to f*cking lunch, baby. Watch out for some eye catching substitutions. Like him taking off their goalie and replacing him with a Pantomime horse.

2 Comments »

  1. James Dobson June 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm -

    It’s finally here! 1,433 days since Italy lifted the trophy in Germany focus turns to South Africa. Here are the group by group Credit Jungle tips but first some overall thoughts…

    Winner – Without doubt The Netherlands. Strength in depth in all positions on the field from the keeper to the front line. Injury prone however it if the key players can maintain fitness they’ve a good chance.

    Dark Horses – probably South Africa. Home nations do tend to be buoyed significantly by their native crowd. Look at South Korea in 2002. That said they won’t win it! No dark horses will win it, the time is not right for the European/South American dominance to be broken.

    England Predictions – If they can’t get past the EASY (England, Algeria, Slovenia, Yanks) group then something is seriously wrong. Maybe all the way but quarter-finals look most likely given Rio’s injury.

    Player of the Tournament – Robin van Persie. this guy will have a tournament similar to Dennis Bergkamp in France ‘98. Remember that goal against Argentina? The Arsenal legend will no doubt conjure up something akin to this.

    Golden Boot – there is no significant trend in the Golden Boot winner over the past few World Cups however, on aggregate, more Brazilians appear to have won it than not. On that basis I am going for Luís Fabiano.

    Emerging Player – somebody South African/from the continent of Africa. Everybody will be looking to Africa. This guy seems to have a good strike rate, Katlego Mphela. Mind you, that’s probably against the likes of Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and other bastions of world football!

    Group A – A tricky one for the host nation. Home support will be crucial. France’s recent record shows that they tend to crash and burn having done well in the previous World Cup. Winning in 98 was followed by a poor South Korea/Japan showing. Runners-up in Germany, I predict a flop. Uruguay missing from the world scene for some time may struggle. South Africa and Mexico to qualify.

    Group B – Almost a mirror of Group D in USA 94. Argentina must be favourites despite an exceedingly average qualification campaign. Greece is as inconsistent as the British summer. The fact that it is in Africa may well play to Nigeria’s advantage. Argentina and Nigeria to qualify.

    Group C – Group EASY (see above). England will qualify, and have to qualify to maintain any respect on the world stage. Given the Premiership quality in the American squad, one would have to fancy them also. The game on Saturday should decide the group winners. England and the USA to qualify.

    Group D – it’s a cliche, but you can never write off Germany. Dismissed in many recent World Cups, they have always shown their stereotypical determination and thoroughbred pedigree. The Africa factor should favour Ghana but like the USA, Australia have many established Premiership players. Serbia can be dismissed, don’t travel well. Germany and Ghana to qualify.

    Group E – Netherlands, Netherlands, Netherlands. This team has experience, natural ability, and is overwhelmed with creative talent. Japan appear to be very good at scoring in the wrong net and Denmark could well plod on underneath the radar. Will Cameroon wear basketball shirts? Will they dance by the corner flags? No one knows. Tough to call. The Netherlands and Denmark to qualify.

    Group F – Paraguay and Italy. I really can’t see this going any other way. The two other teams, New Zealand and Slovakia, are certainly not packed full of big-name players, not always a disadvantage however. Italy and Paraguay to qualify.

    Group G – Surely North Korea can be dismissed. They probably have more pressing matters to worry about back home. Brazil may meet a challenge in the Ivory Coast with their star quality and Portugal will need to prove they are more than just Ronaldo. A fancied nation will go out either way. Brazil and Portugal to qualify.

    Group H – The much fancied Spain may decide they can play football this year. Your guess is as good as mine! Honduras have had something of a renaissance having been in the doldrums for many years and both Chile and Switzerland are regular Second Rounders. Chile and Spain to qualify.

    So that’s it! Let’s broach the Second Round when we get there. Let me know your thoughts and you can all thank me when my tips come good!

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