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World Cup Draw 2006
The draw for the 2006 Football World Cup took place in Leipzig, Germany on December 9th 2005. It is the biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympic games and we have been eagerly looking forward to it. The 32 teams were divided into 8 groups of four in a televised ceremony that was watched live in over one hundred and sixty countries. The top two teams in each group will progress to the knockout stages.
The first team to be kicked out was England, could that be a sign, could they end the tournament finishing first? Fifa had controversially seeded them second, partly due to their thrilling injury-time win over arch-rivals Argentina.
Group A includes Germany, Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador
Group B includes England, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, and Sweden
Group C includes Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Netherlands
Group D consists of Mexico, Iran, Angola, and Portugal
Group E includes Italy, Ghana, USA and the Czech Republic
Group F includes Brazil, Croatia, Australia and Japan
Group G includes France, Switzerland, South Korea, and Togo
Group H includes Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia
The games start in Munich on June 9th and last for a month, with the final being played on July 9th in Berlin.
While it’s easy to look at the groups and pick the two likely qualifiers, we all know that’s not how it will turn out. Memories are fresh of the failure of holders France to progress from the group stage in 2002, left out after barely scoring a goal from the likes of Senegal.
The oddsmakers were quick to cut England’s odds slightly to 6/1 to win the tournament on the back of what looks like an easier group. Hundreds of millions of pounds will be traded on this event worldwide before the winners are known. You can still get a free £20 bet on betfair.com by entering the promo code 6CHE3VPWJ when prompted.
The favorites remain multiple winners and current holders Brazil, but the usual Italians, the Netherlands, Spain, France, England, Argentina and Portugal all have their enthusiastic following. Don’t forget Germany either, because on their own soil they will be very hard to beat, even if they don’t have a great side on paper this time. Trophies are never won on paper, and they will be there or around, they always are.
Groups C & E look the most difficult to qualify through. Africa’s challenge is bigger and possibly stronger than ever before even though their two most successful countries, Nigeria and Cameroon, failed to make it this time. Can the countries of Asia, particularly Japan and South Korea, maintain the tremendous progress they made in 2002, although of course that was on home soil, and it will be interesting to see how Australia performs. They have qualified for the first time since 1974 and they beat England recently, albeit in a friendly where England played two different teams throughout the game. Most of the Australian players ply their trade in the English premier league, so they will know many of the other players quite well, and vice versa.
I have to mention the qualifiers for the first time Trinidad and Tobago, the smallest nation to reach Germany, and how proudly they drew England. Their talisman and former European Cup winner Dwight York will lead his nation with great pride. Most T&T players play their football in England’s lower leagues, but that will only make them a more dangerous opponent, and England will certainly not take them lightly.
It promises to be the biggest football tournament yet, and there will certainly be more foreign fans traveling to Germany than ever before. Provisional figures suggest that England will take just over 100,000 fans, and when you consider that only 30,000 tickets will go on open sale at some grounds, it promises to produce a mighty crowd. The Netherlands, France and Italy will also take huge hits, as will the Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden and Poland. German hoteliers are in for a very busy summer.
England hopes to do well, although everyone doubts another Brazilian victory led by their shining star Ronaldhino, but England’s final against Brazil would be an attraction worth seeing. That is the hope in England for sure.
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