Tuesday, June 06, 2006

FIFA 2006 World Cup Preview and Predictions #2

The 2006 World Cup starts this Friday in Munich, Germany. This week I will be giving my preview to the tournament and my predictions for the group phases and for the rest of the tournament. Here are Group C & Group D.

Group C
1. Argentina
2. Ivory Coast
3. Serbia-Montenegro
4. The Netherlands

This group could have just as easily been labeled the group of death for this World Cup. Argentina, regardless of their first round exit in Korea/Japan, are one of the top 5 nations in FIFA. Crespo, Saviola, Tevez; they will provide the goals. Riquelme will be the Maradona Lite for this side. He will be the transmission of the offense, funneling the attack to the forwards. If he is on his game, Argentina will be a tough side to crack. I see them taking the top spot in this group.

The Netherlands, assuming that they will be healthy, will be another side to be feared. If van Bommel and Van der Vart can get the midfield organized, and feed their forwards, Robben, van Persie and van Nistelrooy, the Dutch will be a lethal force. With Van Der Sar in goal, the Dutch defense should be touch to penetrate. If they have health and fitness issues, their entire make-up will change. If they are not fit, they will have more problems that they can deal with. A healthy Dutch side takes second, a Dutch side with health and fitness issues, goes home.

Serbia and the Ivory Coast will provide tough tests for their group, as Kalou and Drogba should be able to score for the Ivory Coast, that is if the are given service by their midfield. If the Dutch don't show up for the tournament, look for the Ivory Coast to slip into second place and the 2nd round. Serbia will need to rely on Kezman for goals, but their midfield will need to match up with the Dutch and Argentinean midfields to get results.
Predictions: Argentina & The Netherlands

Group D
1. Mexico
2. Iran
3. Angola
4. Portugal

As this is the World Cup, there really are no easy groups, and this one will be a test for each side in it. Angola will be out for blood against former colonial ruler Portugal; Iran will want to run out of the gates fast and strike early against everyone to show that they can be a world soccer power; Mexico are desperate to prove that they were worthy of their top seeding position and Portugal are out to show that they should be used in the same sentences with other great countries as Brazil, Argentina, Italy and so on. This volatile mix-up of teams out to prove something could pose for very fast, wide open and entertaining matches.

I see Portugal taking maximum points from Iran and Angola, Deco, Figo and Ronaldo proving to be too much for either team to deal with. The Mexicans should have no problem with Angola and should either draw with or squeak through with 3 points against Iran. The Portugal/Mexico match will be a barn burner, as it should decide who takes first in the group. I see Portugal taking first in the group.
Predictions: Portugal & Mexico


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