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Monday, June 19, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day Eleven

Each team now has just one game left in the group stages, some area guaranteed qualification, others know they are going home while for many there is still everything to play for.

So what’s happened in the last few days?

Well Portugal grabbed a couple more goals against Iran as predicted; unfortunately for me Pauletta wasn’t among the scorers. Ghana appear to have put another of my bets out of the window with a shock 2 – 0 win over Czech Republic. Credit to Ghana who deserved that result. Along with the eventful 1 -1 draw between USA and Italy which saw 3 red cards, it leaves the group wide open with all four teams still capable of making the last 16.

Day 10 bought me some better luck. The previous day I had place a treble for Italy, Czech Republic and Portugal to win, but on day 10 I predicted all three results correctly getting about £12 for my £1 bet. Despite Ronaldo having eaten too many pies Brazil beat Australia 2-0, while Croatia had a goalless draw with the Japanese. Brazil are through to the next round though a Japan and Croatia could still get the final spot ahead of Australia (but I don’t fancy Japans chances of beating Brazil).

In Group G South Korea held the French to a draw to seal the treble, and with Henry getting a goal I felt a little happier still.

Day Eleven saw Togo losing to Switzerland 2 -0, not that they were completely out classed. In fact had in not been for their Pfister, the Togo coach quitting and then coming back along with the whole squad threatening to boycott the game over a pay dispute. Given they were promised the money before and the fact they are one of the few teams with players not earning more in a week than I do in a year you do feel sorry for them. The Ukraine then recovered strongly from their loss to Spain with a 4-0 bashing of Saudi Arabia. In the final game of the day Spain came from behind to beat Tunisia 3-1.

Results Summary
Day 9

Portugal 2 – 0 Iran
Czech Republic 0 - 2 Ghana
Italy 1 – 1 USA

Day 10
Brazil 2 -0 Australia
Croatia 0 – 0 Japan
France 1 – 1 South Korea

Day 11
Togo 0 – 2 Switzerland
Ukraine 4 – 0 Saudi Arabia
Spain 3 – 1 Tunisia

Some predictions going forward.

Group A – Germany and Ecuador are both through and play tomorrow, my tip is for Ecuador to top the group.

Group B – England will draw with Sweden, enough for both to qualify meaning England will play the Germans in the last 16.

Group C – Argentina and Holland are sitting pretty on 6 points each but the South Americans have looked the class act of the tournament so far so I see them topping the group.

Group D – Portugal play Mexico with the Mexicans need a point to guarantee qualification. I can see Angola beating Iran, but even if Mexico lose I don’t think they will end up with a worse goal difference than Angola so will join Portugal in the next round.

Group E – The Czech Republic need at least a draw to be in with a chance of going through with Italy. Given their current problems up front this could prove difficult. A win for Ghana puts them through while the USA can also progress if they win. I’ll stick my neck out and say Italy and Ghana will go through but it really could be any of the four teams.

Group F – Brazil are through and I don’t see Japan troubling them in their last game which leaves either Croatia or Australia. Another difficult one to call but I think the Aussies may just have enough to edge this one.

Group G – Togo are out and France should pick up three points from this one. However that may not be enough as they would need to win by at least two goals to guarantee progression, not a tall order but given the way they have been playing, far from a certainty. Korea play the Swiss with a win for either putting them in to the last 16 and a draw could even see both go through. Prediction France and Switzerland.

Group H – Ukraine seem to have shaken off the loss to Spain with a demolition of Saudi Arabia, a team Tunisia could manage only a 1-1 draw with so you have to fancy the Ukrainians to have the upper hand in that match which would see them through to the knockout stages. Spain are already through, but expect them to consolidate this with a win against the Saudis.

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