Indulge me here - I just got done watching the World Cup draw, and I feel like commenting on the groups, who gets to the second round, who wins the whole enchilada, and how screwed the U.S. really is.
Group A: Germany, Ecuador, Poland, Costa Rica
The home team gets a relatively easy draw. Germany should make it, along with a sneaky-good Costa Rica squad.
Group B: England, Paraguay, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago
England should have no problems with this group, as long as Sven Goran-Eriksson doesn't forget which country he's coaching. Paraguay will probably also make it.
Group C: Argentina, Ivory Coast, Netherlands, Serbia and Montenegro
Wow. Talk about a Group of Death. You can't bet against Netherlands or Argentina, but the Ivoirians could sneak up on an unsuspecting side. Either way, this draw is DFL bait for poor Serbia.
Group D: Mexico, Angola, Portugal, Iran
Mexico gets the easiest draw ever. Portugal's coach won the Cup with Brazil last year, and I think they'll get past the "old-colony-exacting-revenge" trap that cost France in '02.
Group E: Italy, Ghana, Czech Republic, United States of America
If C is the "Group of Death," Group E is the "Group of Barely Clinging to Life," containing teams that were seeded 8th, 9th, and 11th overall. The US isn't sneaking up on anyone after their '02 performance, but Italy has a habit of laying eggs in international competitions, so I'll go with the Yanks and the Czechs.
Group F: Brazil, Australia, Croatia, Japan
Two things you never bet against in international soccer: Brazil, and Australia coach Guus Hiddink.
Group G: France, Togo, Switzerland, South Korea
France and Switzerland survived European qualifying's Group of Death together. I don't see Togo putting up the fight Israel and Ireland did, and South Korea probably can't keep their '02 form away from home.
Group H: Spain, Tunisia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia
Can we eliminate all these teams, give C and E an extra spot each, and call it done? Ukraine looked good in qualifying, and Saudi Arabia, coming off a DFL in '02, could do the same thing the US did that year and surprise someone. Either way, you know the group sucks when someone is picking Saudi Arabia to get out of it.
Finals: There's no one on Brazil's side of the bracket that could even compete with them. I think England's got the best team on the other side. So Brazil and England meet in the finals, with Brazil - of course - prevailing.