I thought it was a good idea to give the tournament its own thread.
With a lot of Brits, Germans, Dutchmen, two Portuguese, at least one Serb, a Dane, a Spaniard, a Greek, an Australian - and even a few Americans (do those suckers play soccer?) - it should be very lively here
We have an Argentine visiting us every now and then, so maybe he’ll show up if Maradona and his men kick some ass over there. As far as I know we have no (regular) French, Swiss, Japanese or Korean visitors, nor anybody from the African nations (or do we?). A pity Austria, Poland and Sweden didn’t qualify
This is how Ladbrokes thinks about the chances of the 32 participating teams :
Spain 7:2 (3,5:1)
Brazil 9:2 (4,5:1)
Ivory Coast 50/1
Italy 16/1 France 20/1 Portugal 22/1 Ivory Coast 50/1 Serbia 50/1 Chile 50/1 USA 66/1 Uruguay 66/1 Paraguay 66/1 Cameroon 80/1 Ghana 80/1 South Africa 80/1 Mexico 80/1 Nigeria 100/1 Denmark 100/1 Korea Republic 125/1 Australia 150/1 Greece 200/1 Switzerland 200/1 Japan 250/1 Slovakia 250/1 Slovenia 250/1 Honduras 500/1 Algeria 500/1 Korea DPR 1000/1 New Zealand 2000/1
A bit surprising maybe that Argentina is rated so high. After all, their performance in the qualifications was almost laughable. On the other hand: it has happened in the past that teams who didn’t do well in the qualifications, eventually became world champion (Brazil ’02, Germany ’90). They do have the players, those Argentines, but do they have the coach?
The low marks for Italy are remarkable. They didn’t do well lately, and I think people are also influenced by the knowledge that defending champions usually aren’t successful. The low marks for Slovakia are remarkable too. They eliminated the Czech Republic, so they must have at least a decent team. I’m sure the Czechs would have had a higher rating if they had qualified.
For the rest I can live with these ratings. Spain and Brazil are clear favorites, Argentina a bit of a dark horse, I don’t now what to think of them. England, Holland and Germany are outsiders for the title. I expect the winner to be among these six teams. France? Portugal? The Portuguese were some kind of dark horse for me too, they have such good players and (so I’ve heard) a coach with brains (they’re still looking for Diego’s brain in Argentina), but according to the Portuguese on the forum, the team doesn’t really work. We’ll probably have to wait for Mourinho to lead the country to a title. Any of the African teams? Ivory Coast or Cameroon sure have some talent, but I don’t think they’re disciplined enough to reach the end stages. They will, once again, drown somewhere in glorious fashion. But okay, who will be the next world champion? Spain has the best players as well as the best team, but they’re under enormous pressure to do what Spain has never done before. I tip England. They have the players, they have the coach, and I think they have the guts.
I’m looking forward to newcomers (or relative newcomers) like Slovakia, Slovania and North Korea. As surprise teams I tip team USA and Uruguay. Paraguay is said to have a good team, but their recent results weren’t impressive. I’d put my money rather on Uruguay. With Forlan and Ajax ace Suarez they have a hellova striking force. And the USA have a physically strong team, which is also a good mix of experience and youth. Yanks, go for it!