Friday, December 4, 2009
World Cup Draw Winners and Losers
The field is set for South Africa 2010. With the unique drama of today's World Cup draw complete, here's my take on the winners and losers.
Winner- USA: Most pundits will pick the US to advance from Group C. England are obviously the group favorites, but with Algeria, the last qualifier from Africa, and Slovenia, one of Europe's surprise entries rounding out the group, Bob Bradley's men have a clear path to the knockout stages.
Loser- South Africa: While the hosts got the benefit of a one seed, that distinction was negated by drawing France, a side many saw as worthy of the top row. With Mexico and Uruguay also in Group A, the home side will struggle to advance.
Winner- Germany: Germany's advantage isn't so much their manageable group, which includes Australia, Serbia and Ghana, but in the way the knockout stages shape-up. Italy, Holland, Brazil, Portugal and Spain all reside on the opposite side of the bracket, meaning Germany would avoid those top sides until at least the semifinals.
Loser- Ivory Coast: Four years ago Didier Drogba and crew landed in the Group of Death, with their first two matches against Argentina and Holland. The 2010 draw did them no favors either, with Brazil and Portugal in the mix. They may be eliminated at 0-2 by the time they face a beatable North Korean side.
Winner- Charlize Theron: A gorgeous addition to the dais, Theron hasn't looked this good since the movie Reindeer Games. Let's hope we see more of the South African native come next June.
Loser- David Beckham: Beckham's inclusion on stage was odd, given his checkered history at the World Cup. I suppose he was up there for his celebrity status and boyish good looks. That's fine, but if you're playing the role of eye candy, don't show up with a mohawk.
Winner- Spain: The reigning European champs cruised through qualifying with a perfect mark. That record should continue in a group that includes lightly regarded Switzerland, Chile and Honduras.
Loser- Korea: Both North and South landed in the two toughest groups. South Korea are joined by Argentina, Nigeria and Greece in Group B, while their Northern neighbors face Brazil, Ivory Coast and Portugal in Group G.
Winner- Ticket scalpers: The highest demand for tickets during the initial sales period came from the US and England. The brokers will make a pretty penny when those two sides meet on June 12.
Loser- Attendees at my brother's wedding: Unfortunately that USA-England match kicks off one hour before my brother is slated to get married. He still has six months to alter the schedule.