Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Of course, once it was over, it made one realize that there are still more than six months to wait before the first kick-off, but Friday marked the official draw for the 2010 World Cup.

As the event is being held in South Africa, Charlize Theron co-hosted the ostentatious event.

Charlize Theron

As if she needed help, David Beckham's appearance on-stage sporting a high school rugby player's douchebag faux hawk haircut only served to emphasize her glamour.

David Beckham & Charlize Theron

And this guy was easily the happiest and most excited out of anyone in attendance or watching around the world, performing his duties as team picker. Charlize even (facetiously) asked him if he could maybe smile a little more.

Happy Team Puller

The draw was marked by a high level of parity, as only three groups (A, G, and H) have more than two teams ranked in the top-20 in the world by FIFA, two teams (Slovakia and Serbia) are first-timers, and seven (Greece, Slovenia, Ghana, New Zealand, North Korea, Côte d'Ivoire, and Honduras) are making only their second appearances. The groups are also notable for the teams they don't contain: Russia (#13), Croatia (#10), and Ireland (#36), are all out of the tournament.

Group A

South Africa
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World Cup Victory

France received a round of boos upon having their name picked, after the controversial way in which they advanced.1 Still, though, they should have no trouble advancing with, most likely, Uruguay. Mexico will put up a fight for the second slot, but South Africa will probably be bowing out after the group stage. France will most likely lose out in the round-of-32, as their cohesiveness has been a huge question mark.

Group B

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South Korea

Argentina is the class of this group, and should take the first slot. Nigeria will provide a tough test for Greece to finish second, and could very well slip through. South Korea will play the part of whipping boy, as North Korea will in Group G.

Group C

World Cup Victory
United States

What's the difference between a tea bag and England? The tea bag stays in the cup longer. England does not have a stellar record on the world stage - nor does the States; the other winner of this group - but the weak group should let them advance easily. Slovenia and Algeria can take this as an opportunity to gain experience and confidence.

Group D

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The Germans should be able to come out on top of this group, with Australia right behind them. Serbia and Ghana will both provide good competition, but should be outclassed by the other two.

Group E


Another grouping that makes me extremely happy. The fight here will be for first overall - the Netherlands and Cameroon play each other last in this group, and that game could decide who takes first overall.

Group F

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New Zealand

The defending World Champions should have no problem coming out of this group unscathed, and let's call second place for...oh...screw it, New Zealand. They've been hotter than the other two, but really, the three teams only need to worry about the games between themselves - Italy has it wrapped up.

Group G

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North Korea
Côte d'Ivoire

The Group of Death, with three top-20 teams, and two top-10s. Brazil should prove victorious on top of the group, but there will be a vicious fight between Côte d'Ivoire and Portugal for second. I hate Cristiano Ronaldo, so I'm calling it for Côte d'Ivoire. North Korea should just try not to blow anything up.

Group H


The world's #1 team will be looking to add more hardware to their Euro trophy, and they will be looking to finally break through in the World Cup. Chile should come through in second, as European teams haven't fared well in World Cups outside of Europe. Honduras should enjoy their time here, and TFC striker Amado Guevara may give Canadian fans something to cheer for.

There, of course, is plenty of time left before anything even starts; time for roster shuffling, injuries2 and for teams and players to get hot. As always, I'll have England and Netherlands flags up, and will be cheering them through the tournament. And if they get knocked out, I'll just be cheering against Italy and Portugal - with any luck, they won't meet in the final.

1 - And can we give that a rest? It's not like Thierry Henry was thinking, "Alright, I'm going to run offside and then handle the ball to set up a goal." It was probably something more like, "Ah shit, I just touched the ball. Don't hear the whistle, though, might as well keep playing." The referee missed two calls; them's the breaks. It pains me to support the French, but really, there has been much, much worse
2 - England's usually due for an injury just before the tournament starts

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