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Friday, December 09, 2005

"Nothing that UEFA or FIFA do surprises me any more, and I'm very surprised this has not been sorted out long in advance."

As tonight's World Cup draw approaches, TDH would like to remind loyal readers that yes, football is a business. The graybeards and baldies in Leipzig will undoubtedly want to see some match-ups that'll create extra interest by drumming up the baser nationalist emotions.

So, in the completely tactless spirit of free enterprise, TDH presents FIFA's dream groups and games for Germany 2006:

"Test Series Group"
England, Australia, Trinidad & Tobago, Sweden
An Ashes rematch, a visit from the Windies, and, just for good measure, a chance for England to extract some revenge from those marauding Vikings

"Find-the-War-Criminal Group"
Argentina, Paraguay, Serbia & Montenegro, Croatia
With the Serbo-Croatian blood feud, and a Mercosur derby to boot

"Dutch Grudge Group"
Brazil, Netherlands, Angola, Iran
Featuring the Netherlands against two of its former colonies, plus a rematch of the fantastic game against Brazil in 1998.

"Unfriendly Neighbors Group"
Italy, Switzerland, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia
The Battle of the Alps, The Battle of the Mediterranean Boat People, and a chance for Tunisia (home to Middle East peace talks) and Saudi Arabia (home to Middle East terrorists) to face off

"Spanish Grudge Group"
Spain, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Portugal
Two more colonies get their chance to hand their old ruler its come-uppance, and the Portuguese try to topple big brother

"Don't Mention the W*r Group"
Germany, Japan, Czech Republic, Togo
TDH won't mention the matches either, except to point out that Togo was once a German colony

"Immigrant Turncoats Group"
Mexico, US, Poland, Ghana
Thankfully there's no Tebbit Test in the US, but if there were, a lot of Mexican-Americans and Polish-Americans would probably lose their citizenships; TDH doesn't know about Ghanaian-Americans, but they had to go somewhere

"Leftovers Group"
France, Ivory Coast, Ukraine and South Korea
TDH is struggling here, it has to be said; Drogba may get a chance to face some former teammates, and then there's that thing about who makes the best ships and trains, but....

Okay, eat your heart out, Sepp! Even if the fix is in, you'll be lucky if the draw turns out so crassly.


So, Harried Harry has indeed made his way back to Pompey, and at the top of his shopping list is Desailly. TDH is watching the seconds tick away until, after a few decent matches at centreback, Marcel suggests that he should go to Germany. Anyone want to start a pool? Closest date without guessing too soon wins. TDH takes January 23, two days after a possible away win at Birmingham.

And speaking of betting, the FA have been talking to Betfair about the massive trading activity surrounding Redknapp's return. Now, there's a handy way to pay for the buy-out from Saints, eh Milan? Just kidding, please don't sue....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That was tense. Well in my eyes there are a couple of groups that could be considered groups of death. The US are certainly in one of them. The Australians are in another. I think it's a heartening sign of how world football has become more competitive in that in most of the groups it's 3 from 4 with a chance of making the second round. It's the first world cup i can remember where i couldn't confidently pick two to go through from each group.

I'm reasonably satisfied with England's group, although paraguay are a dark horse. But England HAVE to finish first. Otherwise? Germany in the second round. Oh God.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention argentina's group as well. As for the American's chances: They'll have to beat either Italy or the Czechs. I'd give them a chance against both sides though, considering the Italians and Czech's records of underachievement at tournaments. Consider the South Korean's victory over the Italians in the last world cup.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TDH has confused the Netherlands with Portugal in one of the grudge groups, although that '98 semifinal was indeed a classic.
The US is in a very tough group. Ghana could be the surprise of the tournament if Essien can learn not to maim the opposition.

10:30 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Hmm, I think you'll find that the Dutch had possession of quite a bit of Angola for seven or eight years in the 17th century. Then they ceded it to the Portuguese....

7:02 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

very interesting draw - the England group is pretty easy. Italy have a very tough group - The Czech's a stronger now than during qualifying thanks to Nedved's return to the fold, and Ghana are a good team, and USA are one of the better unseeded sides.

England's big threat is Ibrahimovic, who is improving by the day. In Italy he's now regarded as one of the best strikers in the world for his outstanding form with Juve.

Group H is also quite tight - no outstanding sides. I'm pleased with it because it should see Ukraine go through. I'm putting money on Sheva topscoring the tournament. You should get decent odds, given Ukraine's lowly status.

7:03 AM  

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