Friday, December 09, 2005

World Cup 2006 Draw

The draw for the 2006 World Cup was held today, and the results are in.

GROUP A
Germany
Costa Rica
Poland
Ecuador

GROUP B
England
Paraguay
Trinidad & Tobago
Sweden

GROUP C
Argentina
Ivory Coast
Serbia & Montenegro
Holland

GROUP D
Mexico
Iran
Angola
Portugal

GROUP E
Italy
Ghana
USA
Czech Republic

GROUP F
Brazil
Croatia
Australia
Japan

GROUP G
France
Switzerland
South Korea
Togo

GROUP H
Spain
Ukraine
Tunisia
Saudi Arabia

The short-straws appear to have gone to the USA, who fell just short of qualifying as a top seed, and the Czech Republic, 2nd in the World, who somehow ended up together in the 'Group of Death', along with top seed Italy and upstart Ghana. The Netherlands, the other team that just missed out on a top seed, drew with Argentina, Ivory Coast, and Serbia & Montenegro, making their first appearance.

Aside from Group E, look for stiff competition in Group G, with France, an always competitive Swiss squad, 2002 semi-finalist South Korea, and Togo - who knocked off 2002 cinderella Senegal in the qualifying round, and is seen as a sleeper for the '06 tournament. Group D, with top seed Mexico, and strong Iranian and Portugese squads, could be difficult as well. Angola rounds out that foursome.

Of the top seeds, Spain should have a relatively easy path to the elimination round, having to go through Ukraine, Tunisisa, and Saudi Arabia. Anything less than 2 wins and a draw would be a massive dissapointment. Host country Germany has a relatively easy group as well, with Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Poland, who's coming off a dissapointing 2002 tourney.

We'll have to wait and see the final squads for the 32 finalists before we get a true idea of how the round robin will shake out, but I'd say that some countries have a lot more reason for optimism today than others.

3 Comments:

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Avi Schaumberg said...

Agreed that E is the GoD. If they get a bit lucky, South Korea might even knock-off France, and I've no doubt the Dutch could take Argentina. As for England v Sweden, we faced them last time! I demand a new European partner!

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Avi Schaumberg said...

Domenech sounds nervous:

"We know the Swiss and we did not beat them during the qualifying campaign (0-0 and 1-1). South Korea is a bad memory and we don't know Togo. We remember what happened with Senegal (at the 2002 World Cup)."

 
At 12:49 AM, Blogger Sheamus Murphy said...

The Guardian is labelling Group C the GoD. Argentina and the Dutch, sure. But Ivory Coast gets the nod given Didier Drogba's emergence and the black-knights of Europe in Serbia and Montenegro has caught many eyes as well.

The English press is salivating at their draw, but they would meet the winners of Group C in the quarterfinals.

I guess the loss of lustre of France and Italy, added the fact that the US is, well, the US, is not setting the soccer world alight, although anyone will recognize that it's a tight group. Their recent high ranking is a blip, not a longstanding trend.

I'm salivating already.

 

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