With all the talk about brackets for the NCAA tourney, and seeing this article on dynamic duos, I was inspired to do a World Cup bracket. There still could be a lot happen. There could be so crazy Togo-esque shooting or just simple injuries. I got the layout of the below from Wikipedia, so please respect their Creative Commons license. I’m not going to do game scores, but I’m leaving the matches here just so people can have that info available here.
Here are some of my thoughts. First, despite in the past home field advantage playing a huge role in the World Cup, with Brazil being the only team to not win on their continent, I really can’t see the African teams doing any better. South Africa may be the weakest team in the competition. The big African countries seem also destined to disappoint. Algeria, Nigeria and Ghana could all get out of their group stage, but I don’t see them going too much further. Nigeria’s new coach could prove not to be a perfect fit immediately and Algeria is so inconsistent I could also see the finishing last in their group.
It will be cold, but European players are used to playing in the cold European winters. It may slow down Spain, but Torres plays in England and the rest of the team certainly plays elsewhere in Champions League action. The European teams are also going to be on their own time zone or close to it.
Group A is the toughest call. South Africa, though weak, could surprise in the first round. France has the talent to win it all, but is so dysfunctional you wonder if they will even make it out of the group. Mexico is probably sending one of their best squads ever, but who knows if they can survive the previous coaching debacle. Uruguay‘s chance rest on Forlán as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if anything short of winning it will save Domenech‘s job and I could see a USA-98-like performance coming from them. Ultimately, despite their talent, I don’t see them getting out of the group.
Things get tough to call in the semifinals with Germany vs. Spain. Will Spain show up like they did in the Confed Cup? If so, the Swiss or Honduras could play spoiler. You have to like the Swiss and Chile, conditions-wise. Ultimately, I guess I see the curse of winning off European soil to continue. Dunga seems to have good control of his team. It’s hard to argue with the team that wins the top qualification out of South America, the top team in ELO rankings and the second team in FIFA rankings.
All times are South African Standard Time (UTC+2)
In the following tables:
- Pld = total games played
- W = total games won
- D = total games drawn (tied)
- L = total games lost
- GF = total goals scored (goals for)
- GA = total goals conceded (goals against)
- GD = goal difference (GF−GA)
- Pts = total points accumulated
The teams placed first and second (shaded in green) qualified to the round of 16.
For the World Cup tournament, FIFA uses the following criteria to rank teams in the Group Stage.
- greatest number of points in all group matches;
- goal difference in all group matches;
- greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.
- greatest number of points in matches between tied teams;
- goal difference in matches between tied teams;
- greatest number of goals scored in matches between tied teams;
- drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee or play-off depending on time schedule.
Round of 16