So yeah, there are 31 spots open for prediction. All you have to do is number your teams the way I have done it here. This part is crucial: your number 1 should be the winner of group A, number 2 the runner of Group B and so on. Just follow my lead by looking at the table below, and filling it in with your own predictions.
Then, either in the comments or in an email to fiverupeesadmin AT googlegroups DOT com, send me a numbered list that looks like:
or whatever. You can add your justifications and whatever, but that part is optional. All you have to do to partake in the competition is give me thirty one numbered teams. And you must do so before a ball is kicked; the competition closes at the exact moment the World Cup begins. Who knows, I might even give a prize to the winner (maybe).
So get cracking with your predictions and send them in. You can find the groups by clicking here.
Anyway, here is my bracket:
ROUND OF 16
1. Winner of Group A—Mexico
2.Runner up of Group B—South Korea
3.Winner of Group C—England
4.Runner up of Group D—Germany
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5.Winner of Group E—Holland
6.Runner up of Group F—Paraguay
7.Winner of Group G—Brazil
8.Runner up of Group H—Chile
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9.Winner of Group B—Argentina
10.Runner up of Group A—Uruguay
11.Winner of Group D—Serbia
12.Runner up of Group C—USA
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13.Winner of Group F—Italy
14.Runner up of Group E—Denmark
15.Winner of Group H—Spain
16.Runner up of Group G—Cote d’Ivoire
- France failing to get out of the group stages for the second time in three World Cups. Do not, I repeat, do not sleep on Mexico and Uruguay. You do so at your peril; I watched plenty of the South American and Central American qualifiers, and trust me, neither team is to be messed with. Plus, France just suck. I mean, they're just a terrible team, with a terrible coach, and overrated players. I am very confident about this one. They're out.
- Two tasty all-South American round of 16 clashes. The first between Argentina and Uruguay and the second between Brazil and Chile. Argentina beat Uruguay by a single goal twice in the qualifers, the second time under considerable pressure (in Uruguay, when a draw or defeat could've meant missing the World Cup). But they're more settled now, and I don't see Uruguay having enough to get by them. As for the second game, as much as I love Chile's sexy 3-3-1-3 formation, they got laced 7-2 on aggregate against Brazil in the qualifiers, and I see that trend holding up too. Also, the Brazil-Chile game will be the most entertaining of this round. Remember I said this.
- If it's a contrast in styles you want, watch the Denmark-Italy game. Denmark are actually quite an exciting team to watch based on the little I've seen them play in the last couple of years. Trust Italy to ruin the fun with a 1-0 win, the goal a freaky one that takes a deflection off a set piece in the 78th minute.
- By the way, I see Serbia ruining England's World Cup dream...indirectly. You see, I'm predicting Serbia win their group, pushing Germany down to the runners up spot, so that they play England in the first knock out stage. England may be better on paper, but in big tournaments, I'll take the Germans over the English every day. Some teams just know how to play and win big matches. Germany is one of those teams. England is not. Bye, bye Don Fabio.
- The two most interesting quarter finals for me will be between Holland and Brazil, and Italy and Spain. I expect the bad guys to win one (Brazil) and the good guys to win the other (Spain). Meanwhile, Argentina and Germany beat a pair of teams that have realistically reached their ceiling by getting to the quarters: Serbia and Mexico, respectively.
- In the semis, Brazil beat Germany, who simply aren't good enough. And Spain beat Argentina in the game of the tournament, where Messi and Di Maria put the fear of God into Spain (whose one vulnerability is down the flanks) before ultimately bowing out because of some idiotic substitution by Maradona. We get our dream final: Brazil vs Spain.
- Spain are exactly the type of team Brazil love to beat. They'll sit back, absorb, wait, wait, wait some more, and then pounce. Think Inter-Barca first leg to see what I mean. Brazil will have 40% of the ball but 75% of the goals. Children everywhere will cry, including Brazilians, who wonder what the hell Dunga has done to their team, they barely recognize it anymore, before someone politely tells them that Brazil haven't played "like Brazil" since 1982.
Other random predictions
- Most annoyingly played up thing by the media who have nothing else to write about in the week before the games begin: those horns that make it sound like the stadium has been invaded by bees. Trust me, by June 11, you would've heard the word "vuvuzela" about 8204343299048 times.
- Top scorer: David Villa
- Most heartbroken team: Spain.
- Team everyone is happy is kicked out when they are because their media is starting to bug the hell out of everyone: tie between England and USA.
- Biggest disappointment (team): Portugal, who fail to win a single game.
- Biggest disappointment (player): Wayne Rooney, who gets a red card at the wrong time. Again.
- Most outrageous quote: Diego Maradona, in the couple days off between the group stages and the first knockout stage.
- Possible subjects of said quote: Pele's sexuality, racism in South Africa, the backward nature of Uruguayans, or a reporter's sister.
- Best feud: pick two, any two, players from Holland.
- Best friendship: Pique and Fabregas, who make Spain even more suffocatingly likable.
- Most awkward moment: when British tabloids reveal that John Terry's wife has been having an affair with his Chelsea teammate Michael Ballack. Ballack confirms the rumors before the England-Germany game, saying "Well, I broke my ankle and am sitting here in London, and I had to help my team somehow...plus, I always kinda liked Wayne Bridge.
2. Disfigured corpse