Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I should be a professional football pundit

So, here is my gratuitous "hate to say I told you so" moment from the World Cup.

At the start of the tournament I wrote this post with some of my predictions. I figured I would probably get them totally wrong and look foolish. Turns out I did pretty well and got a few predictions pretty spot-on. (I still look foolish, but that's for the usual unrelated reasons.)


What I said then:
"WINNERS: Spain. Just too good in every department. Brazil also look a worthwhile bet"
What I say now:
Ok, so I admit it doesn't take any kind of genius to tip the 2 top-ranked sides in the world for a win, but hey, a correct tip is a correct tip. Brazil flunked out at the quarter-finals to eventually runner-up Holland.

What I said then:
"TOURNAMENT TOP SCORER: David Villa. The Spanish team should, at the very least, make a deep run into the tournament, and to top the scoring charts you need to play a lot of games. Not only is Villa a cracking striker, he has a team of brilliant passers who will serve up chances on a plate for him. If not Villa, I'll plump for Brazil's Luis Fabiano."
What I say now:
Villa was the tournament's equal top-scorer with 5 goals, alongside Wesley Sneider, Diego Forlan and Thomas Mueller. So count another one for me. Again, it may have been a fairly easy choice, but I'm still happy to believe in my awesomeness for this correct pick. Fabiano scored 3.

What I said then:
"TOURNAMENT'S BEST PLAYER: I'll go really out on a limb here and say Arjen Robben (Netherlands). If his team do well, the prematurely-balding winger will be at the heart of most of their good play, should he stay fit."
What I say now:
The winner of the Golden Ball was Uruguay's Diego Forlan, although I think Sneijder should have got it. I figured picking Robben was a long shot, but I wanted to be a bit different. As it was he missed the early part of the tournament and also missed 2 clear chances to win the final for his team; but as one of 2 standout players on the team that came runner-up, I don't think I made a bad choice. I should add that virtually no one would have picked Forlan, who is a top player but hardly an obvious choice at the start of the tournament.

What I said then:
"WHICH BIG TEAM WILL DISAPPOINT?: France. Their talented team is riven by internal tensions, they are lacking midfield engine Lassana Diarra, and they have one of the world's most incompetent coaches in Raymond Domenech. They have a relatively easy group but might not make it out."
What I say now:
Admittedly, this was fairly easy to see coming. France, alongside Italy, was the biggest disappointment. And they didn't just disappoint, but disappointed spectacularly; failing to win a single game, refusing to train, and their starting striker sent home for telling the coach to go f*** himself. Now that's how to self-destruct in style.

What I said then:
"THE "DARK HORSE" TEAM (WHICH WILL MAKE AN UNEXPECTED RUN DEEP INTO THE TOURNAMENT): Uruguay could well finish first in their relatively weak group, and in Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez they have two strikers with formidable scoring records in Europe. Serbia may also surprise a few."
What I say now:
Uruguay surprised everyone to finish 4th, and Forlan was joint top scorer and winner of the Golden Ball. Suarez also made a major impact on the tournament, but for the wrong reasons. My other pick, Serbia, did less well, but they still managed to beat Germany, which was a major upset considering the Germans' form throughout the tournament.


So there you are; proof, if you still need it, of how truly fabulous I am. Eat your heart out, Paul the Octopus. ESPN, if you are reading this, give me a ring and we'll talk.

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