21 June 2006

WC: Final Games -- Group C and D

Another ho-hum group in C, but at least D has some interest. Things are starting to pick up as the week goes on.

Group C
Argentina 2 0 0 8 1 +7 6
Holland 2 0 0 3 1 +2 6
Ivory Coast 0 0 2 2 4 -2 0
Serbia & Montenegro 0 0 2 0 7 -7 0

Netherlands vs. Argentina, Frankfurt (game to watch)
Ivory Coast vs. Serbia & Montenegro, Munich

Again, a group with nothing to play for. Argentina and Holland will be playing for the top of the group. Since these are the later games, they will know who their opponents would be, probably either Mexico or Portugal. I would expect to see a few key players rested here. Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro play for... wait for it... pride only.

SCENARIO: Argentina win the group with a win or a draw (thanks to goal differential).

Group D
Portugal 2 0 0 3 0 +3 6
Mexico 1 1 0 3 1 +2 4
Angola 0 1 1 0 1 -1 1
Iran 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0

Portugal vs. Mexico, Gelsenkirchen (game to watch)
Iran vs. Angola, Lepizig

A bit more to play for here. The situation is similar to Group B yesterday, but Angola have much more hope than Trinidad & Tobago did, thanks to better goal differential and a more beatable opponent. Iran are certainly not bad, but they don't boast the oppressive defense of Paraguay. They need to make up a four-goal differential on Mexico, but that's not as big as it sounds. Since they need to win and to see Mexico lose, that means they would get two goals back right there.

Meanwhile, Mexico and Portugal could be a very interesting game. Mexico won't feel certain of qualification, so they will fight to at least get a draw. But both teams will prefer to finish atop the group, in order to avoid the potential Argentine juggernaut. So hopefully we'll see two close, hard-fought games.

SCENARIO: Portugal need only a draw to win the group. Mexico need a draw to advance, and a win would get them first in the group. Angola need to win, to have Mexico lose, and to make up an additional two goal besides (for instance, a 2-0 win for Angola plus a 0-2 loss for Mexico).

This could be decent, but tomorrow should be incredibly exicting as all the teams in groups E and F still have hopes of qualifying. Not to mention, the US is going to play. Hold on to your hats!

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