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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, December 09, 2005

World Cup 2006 Draw

As many of you have seen in my Blogger profile, soccer (call it football, calcio, futebol, anything you like) is one of the great enthusiasms in my life.

And today, one of the most exciting events will take place at 2:30 PM EST, live on ESPN2 in the US, which will set the soccer-loving world alight!

The World Cup 2006 Draw

The 32 nations that have qualified for the finals will be divided into eight groups of four.

Fans will then know where and against whom their beloved nation will play.

These are the seeded countries, placed into pots from which a celebrity or ex-footballing legend (get used to seeing Frankie Beckenbauer's face a lot) will then choose each country's name, similar to a lottery.

POT ONE -- SEEDS

Germany (hosts)
Brazil (holders)
Argentina
England
France
Italy
Mexico
Spain

POT TWO

Australia
Angola
Ghana
Ivory Coast
Togo
Tunisia
Ecuador
Paraguay

POT THREE

Croatia
Czech Republic
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Sweden
Switzerland
Ukraine

POT FOUR

Iran
Japan
Saudi Arabia
South Korea
Costa Rica
Trinidad & Tobago
United States of America

Special pot: Serbia & Montenegro


Once chosen, a riot of opinions about the strengths, unfairnesses, or Group of Death scenarios will be sparked around the world -- yes, even in the United States.

Because the US may not be a soccer-loving nation, as say, Brazil or Germany are, but there is no dearth of soccer-lovers here. There are millions whose hearts are in their mouths, cheering on Bruce Arena's boys.

Come join me live at 2:30 PM EST, as I post in real-time on Sundries, about this monumentally exciting event!

2:30 PM EST UPDATE:

Live Audio on .ram here. Right-click, copy, then paste unto your RealOne url bar.

Live "MatchTicker" for the Draw here, although I'll be providing much the same service. They might be quicker though!

ESPN2 GENEARATED SCENARIO: The US could get these draws, in best-case and worst-case scenarios,

Best Group (Worst for the US): USA France Ecuador Switzerland
Worst Group (Best for the US): USA Spain Togo Ukraine

Everyone's gut feeling, at my soccer forum, is that the US will draw either England or Australia, even both!

Iran would be cool, since this time, the US could beat htem. They have the weaponry with EJ, Landon, and Beasley.

Lots of filler-stuff right now. No action yet, unless you count Heidi Klum.

3:30 PM EST UPDATE: The ESPN2 Irish-born analyst, Tommy Smyth, a man who surely must be the first in his family to walk upright, because he is deadly idiotic, just mentioned

"Good-looking balls"

Maybe he's upset he cannot reference his "stick the ball in the ole onion bag" today...

Still the prelims via Markus Siegler, Germany's FIFA rep, no actual draw going on.

FINAL GROUPINGS FOR WORLD CUP 2006 IN GERMANY

Group A:

1. GERMANY
2. COSTA RICA
3. POLAND
4. ECUADOR

THOUGHTS: Boring group, and Costa Rica have a chance...

Group B:

1. ENGLAND
2. PARAGUAY
3. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
4. SWEDEN

THOUGHTS: Two even on paper, England and Sweden. Good defenses, generally. Good attacks, save Paraguay, even including Roque Santa Cruz of a defensive-minded side.

Group C:

1. ARGENTINA
2. IVORY COAST
3. SERBIA & MONTENEGRO
4. NETHERLANDS

THOUGHTS: Argentina are SCREWED (again). Considering Argnetinians are the conspiracy theorists par excellent regarding FIFA, at the best of times, they must be going ballistic in Argentina today. This is the GROUP OF DEATH.

Group D:

1. MEXICO
2. IRAN
3. ANGOLA
4. PORTUGAL

THOUGHTS: A cagey group. Not as "easy" as it looks. Mexico and Portugal are, on paper, the strongest teams, but Iran and Angola just may play to their weaknesses.

Group E:

1. ITALY
2. GHANA
3. USA
4. CZECH REPUBLIC

THOUGHTS: The worst group the US could've hoped for. I am heart-broken. This is the MINI-GOD (Group of Death). If they don't win their first match, they are practically eliminated. This could get the best football matches though, in terms of quality of match play.

Group F:

1. BRAZIL
2. CROATIA
3. AUSTRALIA
4. JAPAN

THOUGHTS: Almost ridiculously easy for Brazil (again). Zico, Brazil's icon of the 1980s is now manager of Japan, and OF COURSE, YOU KNEW IT, that he would get his homeland in this group. How FIFA fix this, I don't know.

Group G:

1. FRANCE
2. SWITZERLAND
3. REPUBLIC OF KOREA
4. TOGO

THOUGHTS: Technically easy for France. Switzerland, the Koreans, and Togo are MORE-OR-LESS evenly matched. Togo are the weakest of course, but like any unknown quantity, they could surprise.

Group H

1. SPAIN
2. UKRAINE
3. TUNISIA
4. SAUDIA ARABIA

THOUGHTS: A laughably easy group for Spain, the mega-chokers of the World Cup (followed by the Dutch). If they don't qualify out of this grouping, then they have no business being in the World Cup.


More thoughts a bit later. I am being swamped by phone calls from abroad for reactions!

20 Comments:

  • Thanks for reminding me...I'll be tuned in.

    GO USA in '06.

    By Blogger Robert, at Fri Dec 09, 01:54:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Outlook calendar was set up for that since... the day the date was annouced.

    By Anonymous SHUSSBAR, at Fri Dec 09, 02:19:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I'm ready, forza Azzurri!

    By Blogger Renato, at Fri Dec 09, 02:24:00 pm GMT-5  

  • ready to man my post cap'n. oh, and good luck to the "scratch", not that they need any :).

    By Blogger Jorge, at Fri Dec 09, 02:29:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Thanks for reminding me...I'll be tuned in.

    And thanks for reminding ME to post that Univision are also covering this, for Spanish-speakers.

    Not that you need that, of course, Robert. ;)

    But they do start their coverage a full 30 mins earlier than ESPN.

    GO USA in '06.

    USA USA USA!!!

    But also:

    INGER-LUND! INGER-LUND! INGER-LUND!

    My heart is split-sideways. Sigh.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 09, 02:47:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Outlook calendar was set up for that since... the day the date was annouced.

    All of France must be in tenterhooks too, Shuss!

    Let's hope for a less Group of Death group for France, than France, Uruguay, Denmark, and Senegal turned out to be in 2002...

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 09, 02:48:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I need a German-English translater aufforderung! ;)

    By Blogger Renato, at Fri Dec 09, 02:49:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I'm ready, forza Azzurri!

    FORZA AZZURI! But not too much. *g*

    I'm sure you'll get a super-easy group this time, though, Renato. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 09, 02:50:00 pm GMT-5  

  • ready to man my post cap'n.

    Great to see you here, Jorge! :)

    oh, and good luck to the "scratch", not that they need any :).

    Predictions for Brazil, with sadness:

    They won't win the WC in Germany.

    This is Germany's World Cup to lose.

    Germany v. Argentina in the Final?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 09, 02:51:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Predictions for Brazil, with sadness:

    They won't win the WC in Germany.

    This is Germany's World Cup to lose.

    Germany v. Argentina in the Final?


    Isn't it a bit early for anti-woofing?

    By Blogger JSU, at Fri Dec 09, 03:22:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Isn't it a bit early for anti-woofing?

    Hey! I'm not Futbolmetrix! ;)

    No seriously -- I've been predicting this since before 2004. Brazil NEVER go all the way, when they are the frank World Cup faves, except for 1962.

    I had a dream I saw the US in the Final though...

    The US will win a World Cup one day, but not sure it'll be next year.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Dec 09, 03:29:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Well, I wasn't talking about the comment that Brazil won't win, but your attempt to jinx the Argies.

    ;)

    By Blogger JSU, at Fri Dec 09, 03:40:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Arg IC Ned S&M

    Ha!

    Your powers of woof are strong, Vic.

    By Blogger JSU, at Fri Dec 09, 04:01:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Italy and Czechs for the US. Not easy, but could've been worse. They came very close to getting the easiest group (Spain, Ukraine).

    I wouldn't watch the draw on Univision if you paid me. An hour and a half of pro-Mexico commentary is way too much for me to handle. I'd rather hear Tommy Smyth stick in the ol' onion bag a thousand times!

    By Blogger Robert, at Fri Dec 09, 04:21:00 pm GMT-5  

  • An intelligent woman who is a prolific reader and writer, has a great sense of humor, can wear a bikini, and knows so much about sports!!!!!!!! Inglesita, where have you been all of my life ????

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Fri Dec 09, 05:22:00 pm GMT-5  

  • "If they don't win their first match, they are practically eliminated."

    Not true -- I think all the teams, including Ghana, are perfectly capable of taking points off each other. (Though I'm sure Bruce "first tackle, first foul, first shot, first goal" Arena will go for the big opening win.)

    Vic, your pessimism about this seems very English. Try this thread for a classic American antidote.

    By Blogger JSU, at Fri Dec 09, 07:23:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I know nothing of Soccer but I have a question.
    Where is Iraq? Or since Uday has been sent to Allah, have the boys gone soft and been eliminated (no pun) in earlier play?
    Seems to me Uday is turning over in his grave. I can't believe Iraq's not in there.

    By Blogger Paul, at Fri Dec 09, 07:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Incidentally Bruce's audio comments afterward are here.

    He's freakin' hilarious, as usual. (And with that American attitude.)

    Paul: Iraq messed up in an early-ish Asian qualification round and were beaten out by Uzbekistan, who failed to qualify themselves. They did well in the Olympics, though.

    By Blogger JSU, at Fri Dec 09, 07:39:00 pm GMT-5  

  • JSU: Thank you. I think I do recall a story now about Iraq's players still having all their fingers, legs and families after a defeat.
    I would have liked to have seen them on TV.

    By Blogger Paul, at Fri Dec 09, 09:50:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Wow did we get hosed(U.S. that is, y'all did well with the group. Plus Rooney will be well rested, having not played a meaningful match since the fifth round of the FA Cup or so).

    But hey ze German's will certainly move on, play deadly boring, and beat somebody better on penalties...

    By Blogger Pooh, at Sat Dec 10, 12:07:00 am GMT-5  

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