The World Cup is just a few hours away so I decided to do some prediction of the matches with a little help from my crystal ball. I will assume the following for the outcome of the First Round Group matches.
Germany, Argentina, England, Portugal, Italy, France, Brazil and Spain will all top their respective groups while Sweden, Mexico, Poland, Holland, Croatia, Ukraine, Czech and Switzerland will come in 2nd in their respective groups. Only the top two in each group will proceed to the next round.
So based on the above, here are the Second Round matches.
First match of the Second Round is Germany (Winner of Group A) versus Sweden (Runner-up of Group B). I do not see how the host nation Germany will lose this game against the Swedes. Germany to win.
Second match of the Second Round sees Argentina (Winner of Group C) taking on Mexico (Runner-up of Group D). No upset here. Argentina will be too strong for the Mexicans.
Third match of the Second Round is England (Winner of Group B) versus Poland (Runner-up of Group A). Both these teams faced each other before in their Qualifying group therefore I expect them to know each of their strengths and weaknesses well. In the Qualifying Group, England finished top above Poland. This will be an easy tie for England. I see England winning by a few goals.
Fourth match of the Second Round sees Portugal (Winner of Group D) taking on Holland (Runner-up of Group C). I feel the Dutch with their speed and attacking play will dump Portugal out of the competition.
Fifth match of the Second Round is between Italy (Winner of Group E) and Croatia (Runner-up of Group F). Italy has always been in the later stages of the World Cup and I don't see them faltering in this match. It will be a tight game though and I see Italy winning it by a single goal.
Sixth match of the Second Round is France (Winner of Group G) versus Ukraine (Runner-up of Group H). France will want to improve on their poor showing in the previous World Cup. The likes of Thierry Henry and Zidane will prove too strong for the Ukrainians.
Seventh match of the Second Round sees Brazil (Winner of Group F) taking on the Czech (Runner-up of Group E). I don't have to tell you who will win this one. Brazil is the defending champion and tournament favourites. Brazil to win comfortably.
Eight match of the Second Round is between Spain (Winner of Group H) and Switzerland (Runner-up of Group G). Spain has more class than the Swiss who are very hardworking as a team. Spain to go through.
So there you have it. The winners of the Second Round matches will move to the Quarter Finals. The World Cup has just got more exciting now.
Germany versus Argentina in the first Quarter Final match. This isn't the best Germany team in a World Cup. They have made it to the Quarter Final with the help of their home support but I think their journey will end in this match. Argentina will be too strong for the Germans.
Italy takes on France in the second Quarter Final match. The French will rely heavily on Thierry Henry who has been superb in the English Premiership. Henry has always fail to deliver in the biggest stage and I think this World Cup will be no different for him. The Italian defence will be too strong for the French forwards. I suspect Italy will win by the odd goal.
England meets Holland in the third Quarter Final match. The Dutch has a lot of youngsters in their team this year. England meanwhile has its best team since winning the World Cup in 1966. The English players are far more experience than their Dutch conterparts and they are at their peak in their footballing careers. England will go through.
Brazil versus Spain is the fourth Quarter Final match. Can Spain provide an upset here? No! Brazil to win comfortably.
So the Semi-Finals will be Argentina versus Italy and Brazil taking on England. I take Argentina to beat Italy and move to the Final. The Brazil-England game will be a cracker! England lost to Brazil in the last World Cup but I strongly feel that if there's any country that could beat the favourites Brazil, it will be England. It is just a shame that these two countries will not face each other in the Final.
So, down to the last two matches of the World Cup. The Third Place match will be between Italy and Brazil, the two losing Semi-Finalists. After losing to England, I see Brazil will be all out to redeem themselves in this match and take the Third Place as a consolation for not winning this year's World Cup.
Ok now finally to The 2006 World Cup Final. Argentina taking on England! These two teams have a long standing rivalry between them. Remember Diego Maradona's Hand of God goal that dumped England out of the World Cup many years ago? But since then, England has triumphed many times against Argentina. The Argentines will provide a hell of a fight for the English and it is anybody's game during a final of this magnitude but surely England will beat Argentina. It will be one hell of a final with lots of goals.
England- World Cup 2006 Winners!!!
Now let the real games begin.