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World Cup 2006 - Reaction To Group Stage Draw

By:David Walker

Red hot favourites Brazil received a favourable draw as the group stage of the 2006 World Cup was announced on 9 December. The 16/5 favourites were drawn into Group F with Croatia, Australia and Japan. Hosts Germany also has a relatively easy group with opposition provided in the form of Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador.

However, not everyone was so lucky. Groups C and E have "group of death" credentials with Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia & Montenegro and Holland facing each other in the former, while Italy, Ghana, USA and the Czech Republic will battle it out in the latter.

Germany 7/1
Costa Rica 500/1
Poland 125/1
Ecuador 200/1

Germany should be able to qualify from Group A comfortably, kick-starting the tournament with a match against Costa Rica. Poland could prove to be tricky opponents and will be expected to finish as runners up in the group. However, Ecuador may be capable of providing an upset as they beat Croatia in the group stages of the 2002 World Cup.

England 13/2
Paraguay 200/1
Trinidad & Tobago 1500/1
Sweden 40/1

Second favourites England earned a favourable draw with two relatively weak opponents in Paraguay and first-time qualifiers Trinidad & Tobago. The final round of fixtures pits them against Sweden who they have not beaten in 11 matches. The two European sides will qualify from this group.

Argentina 8/1
Ivory Coast 100/1
Serbia & Montenegro 125/1
Holland 14/1

A tough group and one of two "Group of Deaths" in the opening stage of the tournament. Group favourites Argentina failed to qualify for the second round in 2002, finishing third behind Sweden and England but will be expected to progress along with Holland. Both Serbia & Montenegro and the Ivory Coast will provide stern opposition and it would not be a surprise to see one of them qualify ahead of a perceived favourite.

Mexico 50/1
Iran 500/1
Angola 500/1
Portugal 20/1

Top seed Mexico can be backed at larger odds than non-seeded Portugal but apart from who will finish first or second, this group should be straight forward. Iran have won just once in six World Cup finals matches while first-timers Angola may find the step up difficult, despite finishing top of a tough qualifying group containing Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Italy 11/1
Ghana 250/1
USA 100/1
Czech Republic 33/1

A very tough group to predict. Both Italy and world number two Czech Republic will be expected to qualify, although the USA, themselves ranked eighth in the world, will also fancy their chances of progression. Ghana are one of the stronger African participants and are capable of causing an upset.

Brazil 16/5
Croatia 80/1
Australia 125/1
Japan 250/1

A favourable draw for Brazil who should qualify as comfortable winners of this group. Croatia failed to qualify for the second round in 2002 and may miss out again to Japan, who topped their group four years ago at the expense of fancied European sides Belgium and Russia. Australia have the players capable of springing a few surprises but lack of experience at this level may go against them.

France 12/1
Switzerland 100/1
South Korea 250/1
Togo 350/1

France were heavily tipped to win the 2002 World Cup but finished bottom of their qualifying group failing to score a single goal. There will be no excuses for not progressing from this group, arguably being draw against the weakest European opposition in Switzerland and the lowest ranked African nation in Togo. Despite a heroic showing in 2002 which saw them reach the semi-finals, South Korea may struggle to qualify from this group.

Spain 14/1
Ukraine 50/1
Tunisia 300/1
Saudi Arabia 500/1

Under achieving Spain should qualify from this group, but may be pipped to top spot by the Ukraine, who stormed their qualifying group ahead of Turkey, Denmark and European Champions Greece. Despite a convincing qualifying campaign which saw them unbeaten and conceding only one goal in six games, Saudi Arabia will finish just short as will Tunisia, who have bowed out in the first round in each of their three appearances in 1978, 1998 and 2002.

Article Source: http://www.redsofts.com/articles/

David Walker runs soccer betting and free bets websites. A free email course: "Seven Days to Better Betting" is available at both of these websites.

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World Cup 2006 - Reaction To Group Stage Draw


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