Saturday, December 5, 2009

Draw Results

Fresh from the World Cup draw in Cape Town, here are the group games we have tickets for: -

M2 - Cape Town A3 v A4 11 June 2009-20:30
Uraguay vs France

M11 - Cape Town F1 v F2 14 June 2009-20:30
Italy vs Paraguay

M20 - Soccer City B1 v B3 Thus 17/06/2010-20:30
Argentina vs South Korea

M24 - Rustenburg D4 v D2 Sat 19/06/2010-13:30
Ghana vs Australia

M29 - Soccer City G1 v G3 Sun 20/06/2010-20:30
Brazil vs Ivory Coast

M39 - Soccer City D4 v D1 Wed 23/06/2010-20:30
Ghana vs Germany

It's a shame we did not pull an England or New Zealand game, but we do get a Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Italy & Austraila game to watch in the group stages.

Overall, it looks like it's been a kind draw to England, up against USA, Algeria, Slovinia in Group C, from which they should progress to the round of 16, (hopefully with USA).

New Zealand can't be too unhappy with their Group F draw, ignoring Italy, they only need to get results against Paraguay & Slovakia to progress. Not easy, but not impossible....

Finally Australia have a much harder time of it, up against Germany, Serbia & African dark horses, Ghana, in Group D. This group is going to be a lot tougher to get through, especially with a strong Ghana team playing on African soil, and you can never dismiss the Germans...

Okay, now I need to have breakfast and start looking at buying some more tickets...

Happy Days...!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FIFA are up to their old tricks again...!

Looking back at my last post, I was effectively correct with my prediction for the seeding and groups, except for getting the pot numbers wrong and the the swapping of France for Holland as a seeded team.

If you understand anything about the way FIFA seed teams for major tournaments, you'll know that they effectively make the rules up as they go along, for their own "promotional & marketing" reasons. There has never been much consistancy in the way FIFA apply their so-called rules over the years, and they deliberately make the rules vauge enough to allow for some creative interpretation at a later date. If you need any better evidence of this just look at the "last-minute" decision to seed team in the European qualification play-offs....

So what has FIFA done this time....? Well, for the seeding of the World Cup draw later this week, they have decided to exclude the results from the last 4 European qualification play-off games and therefore used the world ranking as they stood at the end of October. Had the play-off games been use in the seeding calculation, (as they have been in past World Cups and other tournements), then France would have been seeded ahead of Holland....!

So if FIFA creatively changed the seeding of play-off games to help France to qualify for the World Cup, why would they again change the rules to stop them being seeded...? Could it be that in light of the global outcry over the "Hand of Frog" incident, that FIFA are now stealthily penalising France for Henry's handball....??

Never underestimate FIFA's ability to manipulate both the seeding and draw for their own benefit....

Let's do a little test.... I wonder who is going to be grouped with the seeded South African hosts at the draw this weekend...? I am strongly of the belief that FIFA have a vested interest in ensuring that South Africa make it though to Group stages, as it's always better for the Hosts to remain in the tournament for as long as possible, (for those "promotional & marketing" reasons). With this in mind I am going go out on a limb and suggest that we should not be too surprised to see South Africa drawn with some of the 'minnow' teams that have made it to the World Cup. My guess is that they may end up grouped with the likes of New Zealand or North Korea from pot 2, Chile from pot 3 and Slovakia, Serbia or Slovenia from pot 4.

My thoughts from the last post about what the teams we are following need to do to qualify for the Round of 16 are pretty much the same. The only real difference is that now Holland has been seeded, it means that England will avoid them in the group stages, and quite honestly, as long as we don't get drawn with either Portugal or Ivory Coast, I'll be happy. The flip side to that is that the USA, NZ or Australia could be in a group with Holland and one of the other teams above, which I think will make moving beyond the group stage difficult.

Anyway all will be revealed very soon.... I'll be up early on Saturday morning to watch the draw live and be posting here what team we will be watching with the tickets we have....