Saturday, December 10, 2005

European Cultural Heritage Smackdown 2006

I know I've probably spelled that incorrectly (sorry, Becca!) but I discovered to my glee last night that the Final Draw was made for World Cup 2006 in Germany.

Soccer, people. Jeez.

Yes, believe it or not, Jeff turns into a sports fan once every four years and will actually wake up in the middle of the night to catch some games. (I'm not quite as fanatic as my colleague Matt, who may use all of his stored-up vacation time to actually go to Germany, but I still get all excited.) In my world, this compares to the morning that the Oscar nominations are announced -- which, come to think of it, are also fast-approaching! *pant pant pant*

It does appear that there will be some fantastic soccer being played next year. Though this doesn't sound all that exciting, there appear to be two "groups of death," where there are at least three strong teams in a group where only two will survive. One is Group E, featuring (with world standings in parentheses): the Czech Republic (2), the United States (8), Italy (12) and Ghana (50). The big one, however, seems unexpected: the Netherlands (3), Argentina (4), Cote d'Ivoire (41) and Serbia/Montenegro (47). Considered the weaker no-brainers: Group A - Germany (16), Costa Rica (21), Poland (23), Ecuador (37); Group G - France (5), Korea (29), Switzerland (36), Togo (56); and Group H - Spain (6), Tunisia (28), Saudi Arabia (32), Ukraine (40).

Who am I rooting for? Peru, of course! VIVA PER- oh wait, surprise surprise, Peru didn't make it. In fact, thank goodness for Bolivia, otherwise Peru would have come in last place for South America. I could root for Poland for Angela's sake, but they're going to get sacked early by Germany. Then I usually go for the Latin Americans and/or the US... but I also believe that a couple random strong upsets from Cote d'Ivoire and newcomer Portugal will also knock out all the Latins save Costa Rica and Brazil. (The draw was unfortuante for the Latin Americans, alas.)

I'm much more reliable for Oscar predictions. So here are wildly misinformed (but fun!) predictions for FIFA World Cup 2006 -- winners of each match in capitals:

Round of 16:
GERMANY d. Paraguay
NETHERLANDS d. Portugal
CZECH REEP d. Croatia
FRANCE d. Tunisia
ENGLAND d. Costa Rica
COTE D'IVOIRE d. Iran
BRAZIL d. USA
SPAIN d. Switzerland

Semi-Finals:
NETHERLANDS d. Germany
CZECH REPUBLIC d. France
ENGLAND d. Cote d'Ivoire
SPAIN d. Brazil

Final: SPAIN d Netherlands*

Here's the fun part: that final game is more than possible, should #6 Spain upset #1 Brazil and #3 Netherlands tackle #2 Czech Republic. Such a meeting, however, would provide a certain ethnic conflict in me since, as it turns out, my mother's side of the family largely descends from Spain (with some Italian, English and Quechua thrown in for good measure) and my father's side is almost exclusively Dutch (with, ironically, a tinge of Spanish). Given that I have Spain coming from both sides, I'll be pulling for España all the way. ¡VIVA ESPAÑA!

OK, back to my regular life now. Except I wonder if there are World Cup onesies...

1 comment:

jspencer91 said...

The USA was robbed. There is no way Mexico should have been seeded instead of the USA. They've earned their FIFA ranking by running up the score against lousy teams. Who cares that Mexico beat St. Vincent & Gren 7-0, or Dominca by scores of 8-0 and 10-0? So of course USA ends up in the group of death.

Bah, humbug!