I just realized that my hiatus was showing, so I suppose now would be as good a time as any to make World Cup predictions. If only such predictions weren’t completely impossible to make with any hint of certainty. Today, a team – and nation – all but assured of their impending victory over the host nation were left stunned, and the two “best” teams in the group could not score a single goal. Yes, Mexico’s 1-1 draw with South Africa was quite surprising, and France’s 0-0 outing with Uruguay was wholly uninspiring. Tomorrow, the real fun begins, with the biggest match being the USA executing their upset of merry old England.
Since these prognostications are all in good fun, I’m going to go group by group and make up outrageous outcomes, so that I may look back and see just how far off I was. The best foreknowledge I have at my disposal is Pele’s recognition of Brazil and Spain as the best two teams, which therefore guarantees that neither team will be taking home the cup.
Uruguay takes first, with France taking second. Mexico and South Africa eliminated.
Argentina takes first, with South Korea and Greece tied for second; Greece advances on goal differential. South Korea and Nigeria eliminated.
England takes first, with USA second. Algeria and Slovenia eliminated.
Germany first, Ghana second. Australia and Serbia eliminated.
Holland wins it, and Denmark follows them. Japan and Cameroon go home.
Italy advances, and Slovakia edges out Paraguay. The latter leaves, as does New Zealand.
Brazil, as expected, take first, followed by a surprising Ivory Coast. Portugal and North Korea are disappointed.
Spain takes it, while Chile is content with second. Switzerland and Honduras lose out.
Now that I’ve gotten all those wrong and out of the way, let’s move on, where it gets really confusing. Uruguay advances against Greece, and England knocks off Ghana. Then England beats Uruguay to enter the semifinals. Meanwhile, Holland makes quick work of Slovakia and Brazil similarly disposes of Chile. Brazil just does enough to get past Holland and enter the semis against England.
On the other hand, Argentina has trouble with France and the French somehow overcome. The United States manage a huge win against Germany but lose to the French in the quarterfinals on some terrible refereeing (and questionable defending). So the French are in the semifinals, again. Italy beats Denmark, Spain beats the Ivory Coast, and then Spain beats Italy. So it’s the French versus the Spanish to get into the final.
As unexciting as it is, Brazil beats England and Spain beats France, and the world stops watching because no one cares about a Brazil-Spain World Cup final. Earth explodes, but not before Clint Dempsey makes a rap about the U.S. defeat.