Thursday, June 22, 2006

Groups E and F finish tonight.

The most open group with a seemingly endless number of permutations is clearly Group E. It is such a shame for me that the two crucial matches will be played simultaneously but it really is fair enough and far more exciting this way. Which game will I watch first and which as the replay I haven't quite decided yet. Hopefully whatever I choose the outcome of the other will still be a mystery as I watch the replay! Group F is pretty exciting too with our Antipodean cousins ready to make history!

Group E

Czech Republic vs Italy:

If Italy wins they go through in first place. If Czech win they likely go through in first but could end up second if Ghana win by at least one more goal than they do

A draw will see Italy go through - in first place if the other game is a draw or US win, in second if Ghana win. A draw will see Czech Republic through in second place unless Ghana win, or US win by at least 4 goals, possibly 5.

Ghana vs US.

A Ghana win will see them through: In first place if the other game is a draw or if the Czech win by 1 less than they do (or possibly 2+ depending on scorelines). In second place if Italy win or if the Czech win is sufficient to keep ahead of them on goal difference/goal scored. A draw will see Ghana through in second should Italy win or if Czech win comfortably over Italy (a narrow Czech win combined with a Ghana draw will lead to Ghanaian heartbreak). A US win will knock Ghana out.

US only have a chance if they win. If they do they will go through if Italy also win. If it is a draw or Czech Republic win the US will need a big victory to get through.

I have tried to go through the possibilities but even then I have not properly covered or explained all permutations. Obviously though the group is so delicately poised that almost anything can happen. The games will be huge. My head will be whizzing with permutations all night.

Shit yeah, this is what the world cup is all about, thank God one group has provided me with the chance to be a constantly readjusting calculator!

What do I want? Victories to the Czech and Ghana would be nice. However both teams are missing key players through suspension/injury!

Group F:

Brazil are through. They will finish first unless the combination of an Australian win over Croation and a Brazilian loss to Japan allows Australia to overtake them on goal difference.

Australia: A win or a draw will ensure the Aussies are through. They will finish second unless the scenario described above occurs and then they will finish first.

Croatia: Will be through in second place if they win. Nothing else but a win will do.

Japan: Nothing but a win will do, and even then it may not be enough. A win and Aussie win will see Aussie through. A win and a draw in the other game will require a big enough win to overturn Aussies 2 goal better goal difference. A win and a Croatia win will also have to be big enough to overcome their superior goal difference. Thus NOTHING LESS than a 2 goal, and more realistically a 3 goal win will give Japan ANY CHANCE of going through. And this is against the world champions Brazil. They should pretty much start packing, their chances are miniscule, but I suppose as Adidas says, nothing is impossible!

A big night of action ahead. Back to bed soon I guess for another crazy night in Germany.

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