Tomorrow it starts. The 2010 World Cup will kick-off in Johannesburg, South Africa when Mexico takes on hosts South Africa at 4PM local time. Mexico is going to beat South Africa 3 – 2, but the game won’t be as close as the score line suggests. Mexico will dominate possession and dictate the tempo of the game, but South Africa will get a couple of breaks and at least not be completely humiliated in front of their fans. How do I know this? Well, I don’t exactly know it for sure, but that what I’m predicting. I printed out my copy of the official ESPN SoccerNet World Cup 2010 Bracket and took a stab at predicting how this shindig is going to pan out. A quick note before I lay down some prophetic utterances. My predictions are half head and half heart. They’re definitely biased, but I at least tried to keep with in the realm of reality.
Group Stage Predictions
Group A – South Africa, Mexico, France, Uruguay
South Africa becomes the first host nation to not make it out of their group as Mexico tops the group and France squeaks past Uruguay to make it into the knock out round. In the most exciting game of the match, France and Mexico play to a 2 – 2 draw in a rematch of the Battle of Puebla. Tempers are already riding high before the red card filled match due to Giovani Dos Santos refusal to pay back Anelka the 50 pounds he owes him from that one time they went clubbing together in London. In one of the weirdest red card violations in World Cup history, Anelka is sent off after sticking his hands down Giovani’s shorts while searching for his missing cash.
Group B – Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece
Argentina assert their dominance in Group B, taking all nine points from their three matches. Maradona gives us all a taste of what might be in store for the unfortunate inhabitants of Buenos Airies by streaking half-naked across the field after their final match against Greece. Nigeria advance in second place.
Group C – England, United States, Algeria, Slovenia
In one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, the US defeats England in their first match and goes on to win the group. Wayne Rooney receives a red card after the completion of the historic match against the US for kicking the ball into the net repeatedly and refusing to leave the field. England easily deposes Slovenia and Algeria for a comfortable second place.
Group D – Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
The Group of Death proves too much for the Germans as they get bounced by Ghana in their last match. Ghana takes the group on goal differential and Serbia also makes it through in second.
Group E – Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon
The Dutch waltz through their group, winning every game by multiple goals. Second place comes down to the wire as Cameroon beat out Denmark on goal differential for second. Japan gets humiliated, getting beat soundly in all three of their games. This prompts calls for a seppuku watch in their team hotel the night before they fly back to Tokyo.
Group F – Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia
An aging Italy and an uninspiring Paraguay comfortably place one and two in the snoozer group of the tournament.
Group G – Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal
Ivory Coast tragically fails to make it out of their group after fighting Brazil to a 2 – 2 draw. After losing a heart-breaker to Portugal in their final match, Didier Drogba reacts completely out of character and lightly slaps Deco in the face and then screams obscenities at the camera. Portugal take second place.
Group H – Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile
Spain destroys Switzerland and Honduras in their first two games and help Chile into second place by drawing them in their final game, while fielding a mostly b-team. Switzerland breaks their historic stance of neutrality for the first time in hundreds of years, briefly declaring war on Spain before they come to their senses. Shamed by their emotional outburst, the Swiss attempt to make amends by gifting custom designed Swatches to the Spanish national team commemorating the newly dubbed “Five Minute War”.