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World Cup Draw 2006
The draw for the 2006 FIFA World Cup was held in Leipzig, Germany on December 9, 2005. It is the biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympics and has been eagerly awaited. 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 advance to the direct knockout stage.
The first team to be kicked out was England, could this be a sign, could they possibly finish the tournament first? Fifa controversially seeded them second, partly due to their recent thrilling win over old rivals Argentina.
Group A consists of Germany, Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador
Group B consists of England, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and Sweden
Group C consists of Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia and Montenegro and the Netherlands
Group D consists of Mexico, Iran, Angola and Portugal
Group E consists of Italy, Ghana, the USA and the Czech Republic
Group F consists of Brazil, Croatia, Australia and Japan
Group G consists of France, Switzerland, South Korea and Togo
Group H consists of Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia
The matches start in Munich on June 9 and will last for a month, with the final being played on July 9 in Berlin.
While it’s easy to look at the groups and pick two likely qualifiers, we all know it won’t turn out that way. The failure of holders France to progress from the group stage in 2002, eliminated after barely scoring against Senegal, is a fresh memory.
Oddsmakers have quickly slashed England’s odds to 6/1 to win the tournament on the back of what looks to be an easier group. Hundreds of millions of pounds will be traded around the world at this event before the winners are announced. You can still get a £20 free bet on betfair.com by entering promo code 6CHE3VPVJ when prompted.
The favorites remain multiple winners and current holders Brazil, but the usual suspects Italy, Netherlands, Spain, France, England, Argentina and Portugal have their enthusiastic following. Don’t forget Germany either, as they will be very difficult to beat on their own soil, even if they don’t have a great side on paper this time around. Trophies are never won on paper, and they will be there or somewhere, they always are.
Groups C and E look the hardest to qualify for. Africa’s challenge is bigger and probably stronger than ever before, despite their two most successful countries, Nigeria and Cameroon, failing this time around. Can the Asian countries, particularly Japan and South Korea, maintain the huge progress they made in 2002, although of course that was on home soil, and it will be interesting to see how Australia fares. They qualified for the first time since 1974 and recently beat England, albeit in a friendly where England played two different teams throughout the match. Most Australian players ply their trade in the English Premier League, so they will know many of the other players well enough, and vice versa.
I have to mention for the first time in the qualifiers Trinidad and Tobago, the smallest nation to make it to Germany, and how delighted they must have been to draw England. Their talisman and former European Cup winner Dwight Yorke will lead his nation with great pride. Most of T&T’s players play their football in the English 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 ever seen, and surely more foreign fans will travel to Germany than ever before. Provisional figures suggest that England will only take over 100,000 fans, and when you consider that some grounds will only have 30,000 tickets on sale, it promises to be a big fight for them. The Netherlands, France and Italy will also have large followings, as will the Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden and Poland. A very busy summer awaits German hoteliers.
England will be hoping to do well, although deep down everyone is doubting another Brazil victory led by their flamboyant star Ronaldhino, but an England v Brazil final would be an attraction worth seeing. That is the hope in England for sure.
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