Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why first is better than second.

There are no promises or sure things in the World Cup, but looking at the matches in the knockout rounds, some teams have a much harder road to the final than others. The miracle goal by Landon Donovan gave the United States first place in Group C, so their first match in the round of 16 is against Ghana, second place finisher in Group D. The Americans are slight favorites at most of the gambling establishments and should they prevail, they meet the winner of Uruguay and South Korea. These are not names to strike fear in the hearts of opposing football teams. Uruguay was good back before I was born, but I am very old, and South Korea finishing second in their group is one of the big positive surprises of the tournament so far. The Yanks playing a semi-final match is a real possibility.

Then there is England. They finished second to the United States in Group C, so they face Germany in their first round. The Germans have made it to the semi-finals in eight of the last eleven World Cups. Very tough game for the Limeys in such an early round.

Should England pull off the win, they face the winner of Argentina-Mexico. Win that game, and they are likely to face the current European champs Spain. Who would they meet in the finals? Probably Brazil, but it could be the Dutch. Heck, if everything bounces the right way, it could be the United States.

Predictions in this World Cup have been pretty useless so far, but I have to say I don't like the Limeys chance to go deep in this tournament. If they do prevail, they will have earned one of the toughest victories in 80 year history of the World Cup, the most prestigious championship for national teams on the world stage today in any single sport.

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