But while you do that, here’s some great theme music to get you in the World Cup mood:
Group A: Winners – Mexico, Runner Up – France, Knocked Out – Uruguay, South Africa
Mexico enters the World Cup with two strong outings against England and Italy and should breeze through the group stage, France will try and erase the embarrassment of ‘Handballgate” and should make easy work of both Uruguay and host South Africa. Sorry Bafana Bafana but without Benni I don’t give you much hope this year.
Group B: Winners – Argentina, Runner Up – Nigeria, Knocked Out – South Korea, Greece
Argentina is one of the top two teams in this tournament and will make short work of their group, winning all three games, while Nigeria will win out over both South Korea and a weak looking Greece. No Cinderella story for this group as both Greece and South Korea fail to win a game as they draw their game against each other.
Group C: Winners – England, Runner Up – Slovenia, Knocked Out – USA, Algeria
This group will be the one I profile later today, as a die hard England fan, but this prediction is made with a clear head. England will beat all three opponents and USA will fail to recover from their opening heartbreak and fall to Slovenia. They’ll lose out and go home with a feisty Algerian side that had to beat Egypt to get here but go home without a win to their name.
Group D: Winner – Germany, Runner Up – Australia, Knocked Out – Ghana, Serbia
With the second place team in this group matching up with the Winner of group C, I pray that |Germany wins their group and with their world class pedigree that should be easily accomplished and they’ll be off to the Semi-finals. Australia are tough and work hard, their work rate will win over a Ghana side that will be exposed without influential midfielder Michael Essien leading their team. Serbia who?
Group E: Winner – Netherlands, Runner Up – Cameroon, Knocked Out – Denmark, Japan
The only thing the Dutch need to prove this year is if they’re over their choking when it comes to the knockout stage, their talent is too great for any of the teams in this group and Cameroon will outplay a resilient Danish side while flattening Japan in their encounter.
Group F: Winner – Paraguay, Runner Up – Italy, Knocked Out – New Zealand, Slovakia
Italy traditionally starts slow in big tournaments so I’m giving Paraguay an edge here that they will tie with Italy on points but go through on goal difference. The New Zealand boys will play rough and it will be Italy’s goal to get out of the group with all their players in one piece.
Group G: Winner – Brazil, Runner Up – Ivory Coast, Knocked Out – Portugal, North Korea
Brazil is my favourites to lift the Cup, after England of course, and their group is easily the hardest in the tournament. Brazil, Ivory Coast and Portugal will all make short work of North Korea, so it will come down to goal difference for the runner up position. Portugal has failed to impress and their qualifying campaign was rough, I give the edge to Ivory Coast as an African nation, even without talismanic striker Didier Drogba being fully healthy they will score goals in the bucketload.
Group H: Winners – Spain, Runner Up – Chile, Knocked Out – Switzerland, Honduras
Poor, poor Honduras. Chile and Spain have such scoring options that Honduras could go home letting in the most goals in World Cup group stage history. Switzerland and Chile will battle out for second place, but the South Americans will win out and show that they are a legit contender.
So here are my Round of 16 teams: Mexico, France, Argentina, Nigeria, England, Slovenia, Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Cameroon, Paraguay, Italy, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Spain, Chile
To break that down, it includes 7 European nations, 4 South American Teams, 3 African Teams, Mexico and the Aussies from down under.
With that I leave you to watch Mexico and South Africa open the World Cup 2010. Check back later this evening for a preview of Group C and a preview for the showdown between the USA and England
Henry Whitfield is an avid sports fan who covers everything and anything in the sports world, while focusing on hockey and football. Follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield.