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Nearly there folks, the World Cup starts today. Yes, that’s today, and next time you hear from me I’ll have some actual real actual football to talk about.
Just one more thing before we’re underway. As hopefully you’ll know by now, twohundredpercent is going to be a very busy place over the coming few weeks – our team of, uh, hand-picked experts will be providing the best coverage possible from the comfort of our own living rooms, and we thought it was only fair that we nail our colours to the mast first so that you know where we all stand. And so that you can gauge for yourselves just how little we know about football right from the outset. Ian has already given his more detailed predictions a couple of days back, but now it’s time for all of us to answer a few simple questions ….
Who’s going to win?
Ian: Five out of seven World Cups held in “neutral” countries have been won by them, and Dunga has picked a squad that is tailor made to win it rather than entertain whilst crashing and burning. It has be be Brazil, for me.
Ed: England. I’ve been saying that England will win the 2010 World Cup for the last two years and I can’t lose face and back down now. Rather, I’ll lose face some time in about 10-14 days.
Mark: Spain, beating Brazil in the final. Standard, I know. But I got Spain v Germany right in 2008, and my prediction rate IS once every two years, so…
Gavin: Spain. I’ve been tipping them for every World Cup and European Championships for a decade or two and now they’ve finally come good I’m no longer a lone voice in the wind but one of the crowd. I’ll stick with them.
Who’ll be top scorer?
Ian: A comfortable group phase for Spain should allow Fernando Torres to rack up a hatful in the early stages of the competition.
Rob: Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie or Diego Forlan
Ed: I think this is really impossibly hard to pick… this is, after all, a competition previously won by Toto Schillachi and Oleg Salenko. If Argentina do well, Lionel Messi. Otherwise, I’ll take Wayne Rooney for full integration with my two-year long delusion.
Mark: David Villa. Spain will play more games than 28 other teams. And Villa is due a goal or ten after a relatively frustrating La Liga season.
Gavin: Luis Fabiano
How will England do?
Ian: If they lose their opening match to the USA, the second round at best. Otherwise, no further than the quarter-finals.
Rob: Second round or Semi final
Ed: Win, end 44 years of hurt, spark mass-jingoism in the national press. Although, the latter is guaranteed however well England do.
Mark: Quarters or semis. And if semis, they’ll win the 3rd place match. In 98 and 02, England were actually quite good, despite what a lot of England fans and pundits seemed to think. And they’re due a penalty shoot-out win or ten after a relatively frustrating etc…
Gavin: Out in the quarter-finals again, but without the heartache of penalties this time.
The surprise package?
Ian: Serbia could be good for at least the quarter-finals.
Ed: I had previously thought Ivory Coast, but if Drogba doesn’t make it then I think they’ll flounder. United States.
Mark: Holland. No in-fighting. Robben starting to look his age at last, Van Nistelrooy playing in the right position at last…
Gavin: Uruguay. Any of the lesser South American sides are very capable of having a good tournament with a bit of luck, but Chile and Paraguay look to have tougher draws, in a potential second round as well as the groups.
Villain of the tournament?
Ian: I have a feeling that Didier Drogba may do something extremely unlikeable.
Rob: James Corden
Ed: Diego Maradona. Or the manager of whichever petrol station forecourt they bought the match ball from this time.
Mark: The ball. The World Cup ball gets a metaphorical booting before every tournament but it’s been particularly vitriolic this time.
Gavin: I know I just said England would reach the quarters, but can you just imagine how popular Harry Kewell would be if he does something a bit cheaty to knock them out in the second round?
First manager sacked?
Ian: It has to be Raymond Domenech, doesn’t it?
Rob: Kim Jong-Hun
Ed: Carlos Alberto Parreira
Mark: I’d say Parreira because South Africa will be the first team to go out. But he’ll resign. Domenech is going anyway, so he can’t be sacked, otherwise he’d be the obvious choice. So, Lars Lagerback, Nigeria. Or Capello… (light the blue touch paper, and retire…)
Gavin: Lars Lagerback
Anything else you want to mention?
Ian: Has any player ever been sent off twice in the tournament, or in successive tournaments? Wayne Rooney could manage both. [Rigobert Song was sent off in 94 and 98 – Rob]
Rob: The draw looks very lopsided to me. Group G has more strong teams than A-D put together, and A-D have to provide two semi-finalists.
Ed: There were no hattricks scored at all during the 2006 World Cup tournament. I fancy this balance will be redressed within the first few days (minutes?) of the 2010 tournament.
Mark: First sending-off will be for a tackle by William Gallas…on either Patrice Evra or Nicolas Anelka… France – the new Holland.
Gavin: Watch out for those South Americans, I’ll back all five to make the second round.
So, I think we’re all ready for the off. Enjoy your month ….
Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.
I’ll have my own predictions then.
Top scorer: Wayne Rooney
How will England do? Runners-up
Surprise package: Mexico
Villain: John Terry will lose his temper in the final
Manager to be sacked: Domenech, France will be the biggest, yet the most expected disappointment of the tournament.
Anything else? Shame Poland aren’t playing.
First off, glad I stumbled on your guys’ site. Excellent, wide-ranging stuff here.
Winner: Since I typed this somewhere on the internets, and as we all know, everything there lasts forever, Spain over the Netherlands. Which means Brazil will probably win. Over Germany. Woo.
Top Scorer: Wayne Rooney. I’ve seen myriad Spaniards mentioned quite often, but they have 500 different guys that can put it in the net.
England: Being a Yank, it pains me to say that you guys will knock us off tomorrow, but semis. Against the Dutch. Down to penalty kicks.
Surprise: I’d love to say Chile, but they aren’t getting past Brazil.
Villain: I’d also love to say Ronaldo and Drogba comparing dives on the 15th, but will the latter play overly cautious?
Sacked: Kim Jong-Hun, dumped out of an actual sack in front of Dear Leader.
Anything else: I know we’ve got holes, but seeing the US actually compose a consistent showing in a major tournament beyond one lousy game would make my day. The imperfect 2002 seems light years away.
I predict this will be the best world cup song from North Korea
My predictions would be
Winner: Spain vs Brazil in the Final
Top Scorer: Wayne Rooney (WAZZA)
How will England do: Theyl get to the semis and get knocked out on penaltys to Spain
Villian: I think that Fabregas will dive against England or injure a England player
Sacked: Raymond Domenech
Anything Else: Wayne Rooneys had a great season and its time for him to get some goals in the world cup. I think they should play Rooney as a lone striker with Gerrard just off him.
i thinnnk england will win golden boot steven gerrard