Bay Area Sports Blog

If the World Cup started tomorrow, Italy would repeat.

by vrabbit on Dec.06, 2009, under Soccer, World Cup 2010

This last friday in Cape Town, South Africa, the faith of 32 nations was broken into chapters more well known as Groups. Where the World Cup Draw ends, millions and millions of predictions begin, so I took a crack at writing the book that will be South Africa 2010 with an interesting twist: If the World Cup started tomorrow? How would it all go down?

Here is what I came up with

Group A

South Africa v. Mexico: 1-1

Uruguay v. France: 1-2

South Africa v. Uruguay: 0-0

France v. Mexico: 0-0

Mexico v. Uruguay: 3-3

France v. South Africa: 2-2

(1. France, 2. Mexico): The host nation leaves it all out on the field in each match, but their best efforts aren’t enough to move them to the Round of 16. France, still a bit shaky from the qualifying fiasco, is far from dominating yet still manages to go undefeated. Mexico, with the same amount of points as South Africa, advances thanks to the goal feast that takes place between them and Uruguay … #1 tiebraker is goal difference, #2 tiebraker is # of goals scored – Mexico(4), South Africa (3).

Group B

Argentina v. Nigeria: 2-2

South Korea v. Greece: 1-2

Greece v. Nigeria: 0-2

Argentina v. South Korea: 3-0

Nigeria v. South Korea: 1-1

Greece v. Argentina: 1-2

(1. Argentina, 2. Nigeria): Dominance not necessary for Argentina to take care of business as they draw a relatively easy group sans Nigeria. Nigeria is able to separate from Greece and South Korea due to the added boost that playing on African soil gives them.

Group C

England v. USA: 1-0

Algeria v. Slovenia: 1-3

Slovenia v. USA: 1-2

England v. Algeria: 3-0

Slovenia v. England: 1-1

Algeria v. USA: 1-2

(1. England, 2. USA): The Americans struggle in the opening game, but don’t struggle enough to get rattled and win the games they are supposed to win. If this is supposed to be an easy game for USA, then how easy will it be for England? Slovenia is able to give England all they can handle in their matchup, but not enough to obtain the three points and unseat USA.

Group D

Germany v. Australia: 2-1

Serbia v. Ghana: 1-1

Germany v. Serbia: 2-1

Ghana v. Australia: 0-0

Ghana v. Germany: 2-2

Australia v. Serbia: 1-1

(1. Germany, 2. Ghana): Germany cruises, Ghana sneaks in. The Ghana-Germany game is very, very intriguing. As with Nigeria in group B, Ghana gets an added boost playing in ‘home’ soil.

Group E

Netherlands v. Denmark: 3-2

Japan v. Cameroon: 0-2

Netherlands v. Japan: 1-1

Cameroon v. Denmark: 1-1

Denmark v. Japan: 1-0

Cameroon v. Netherlands: 1-1

(1. Cameroon, 2. Netherlands): It’s not a typo folks, and it’s much more than getting a boost playing in ‘home’ soil. Cameroon matches well enough with both Europeans teams to steal a point from each of them, and out-muscle the Japanese in their opening game.

Group F

Italy v. Paraguay: 1-0

New Zealand v. Slovakia: 0-1

Slovakia v. Paraguay: 0-1

Italy v. New Zealand: 4-1

Slovakia v. Italy: 1-3

Paraguay v. New Zealand: 3-0

(1. Italy, 2. Paraguay): Group F, the pushover group nobody is talking about. Italy could play their bench vs New Zealand and Slovakia and still get six points out of those matchups. Paraguay, usually a team that mostly relies on defense, won consistently throughout Conmebol qualifying and only three other teams (Brazil, Chile, Uruguay) scored more goals.

Group G

Ivory Coast v. Portugal: 1-1

Brasil v. North Korea: 5-0

Brasil v. Ivory Coast: 2-0

Portugal v. North Korea: 3-0

North Korea v. Ivory Coast: 2-3

Portugal v. Brasil: 1-2

(1. Brasil, 2. Portugal): Brasil? Really? Yeah, really. North Korea will quickly learn that maintaining the clean sheet they kept throughout the qualifying stage is much more difficult when you are facing three of the top-20 teams in the world. They do, however, manage to cause enough damage in their final game vs Ivory Coast to lower their goal differential, thus allowing Portugal to move on to the Round of 16.

Group H

Honduras v. Chile: 1-3

Spain v. Switzerland: 2-1

Chile v. Switzerland: 2-1

Spain v. Honduras: 2-1

Switzerland v. Honduras: 1-2

Chile v. Spain: 1-1

(1. Chile, 2. Spain): This will be Chile’s coming-out party, a young, fast, and talented team that will quickly grab everyone’s attention while also becoming a house favorite. They win the group by goal differential. Spain’s game will be as dominant as it has been the past few years, although not necessarily on the scoreboard.

Round of 16

49 – (1A) France v. (2B) Nigeria: a must-watch battle from beginning to end will be decided by a penalty shootout, Nigeria advances.

50 – (1C) England v (2D) Ghana: Ghana’s magic runs out, England finds a way to win with early and late goals.

51 – (1D) Germany v. (2C) USA: USA’s game has gotten better over the years, but not to the level of German soccer. Germany wins by three goals.

52 – (1B) Argentina v. (2A) Mexico: Maxi Rodriguez anyone? Argentina finds a way to prolong Mexico’s drought, but it will be a hard-fought game and a definite must-watch for all soccer fans.

53 – (1E) Cameroon v. (2F) Paraguay: The Lions scrap their way to a win in a very physical game.

54 – (1G) Brasil v (2H)  Spain: more eye-candy for soccer fans, Spain finds a way to hold Brasil in check, win it in overtime.

55 -  (1F) Italy v. (2E) Netherlands: expected to be a close matchup, the Azzurri dominate for the most part (althought not necessarily on the scoreboard. Italy advances.

56 – (1H) Chile v. (1G) Portugal: sometimes stars take over in WC games, and that is what Ronaldo does here. Portugal moves on to the next round.


57 – (W-53) Cameroon v. (W-54) Spain: Cameroon is unable to break Spain’s stingy defense, loses by one goal.

58 – (W-49) Nigeria v. (W-50) England: England is unable to find the back of the net, partly because of Nigeria’s defense. Nigeria gets just one goal, but enough to move on to the next round.

59 – (W-52)Argentina v. (W-51) Germany: The last time Maradona faced Germany, he had to settle for a 2nd place in Italy 1990 after a controversial call gave Germany the penalty kick that decided the final matchup (1-0 Germany). Tough for him, as he won’t get his revenge. Germany moves on to semis.

60 – (W-55) Italy v. (W-56) Portugal: Italy focuses on keeping the ball away from Ronaldo, Portugal goes out of sync. Italy wins.


61 – (W-57) Spain v. (W-58) Nigeria: The Super Eagles soar above the stage, no longer feeling they don’t belong in this competition, they stun Spain and move on to the final.

62 – (W-69) Germany v. (W-60) Italy: both goalies are stars in this game, as both teams are able to get clear shots at goal but the scoreboard doesn’t change much. Penalty kicks, who is the best goalie in the world? Italy moves on to play Nigeria.


Nigeria v. Italy: We’ve seen it before around here … Colorado Rockies … Arizona Cardinals … Tampa Bay (Devil?) Rays … underdogs make it all the way to the final game only to come up short. Nigeria, all of Africa on their backs, can’t change the pattern. Italy wins back to back World Cups.


My goal is to create a new prediction as we get closer to the opening game next June, but wouldn’t it be fun if it actually happened this way? Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave any comments/questions.

6 Comments for this entry

  • ID Crisis

    Good bracket, Italy may be a little old to go all the way, I like a lot of your picks and I’d favor Germany to win it all

  • Crazy

    That’s very true about Spain, but after the loss to the US in Confederations, I think Brazil sees the blueprint to beat them (speed up the sides with the forwards and strong fullback play) and will execute on the big stage. I love Spain (my second favorite team) because of their excellence with halfback play and strong fullback use, but I have this distain for Torres, especially after his lackluster performance in the Euro Cup and overall hype as this “tremendous” forward.

    Let me ask you, what are the chances of Ivory Coast advancing over portugal? Portugal has been playing uninspired and the Ivory coast is playing in front of basically a “home” crowd. I feel due to Portugal’s inability to become inspired to play and Cristano Ronaldo’s need to be paid to have the urge to play (glad he left ManU, I like Berbatov more anyway), Ivory Coast could pull off the upset. I do agree that Ivory Coast only has one good player, but at least he WANTS to play for his country.

    Also, since I can see you have much more futbol knowledge than I do and it’s nice to talk to someone who appears to be nonbiased , how do you feel about Ghana’s chances? The “home” field advantage seems good, but their speed just boggles my mind and after their under-20 WC performance I see them becoming a huge threat in the near future if they can improve their goalie play.

    Thanks for all your great analysis and look forward to so much sh*t talking during the WC this summer…


  • mennea

    I hope to god you’re right, but, hey, anything is possible…

  • vrabbit

    Hello there, which part of this do you hope is right? Italy winning? Nigeria going that far?

  • 1251alex

    I think that Mexico beats uruguay in a thriller. They upset the host. Against France, I am not too sure yet.

  • Sid Nossett

    England vs USA on the first weekend, I can’t wait for the game. Win this one and we’re in.

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