Last week was a busy one.  With E3 2010, the World Cup, and, of course, my girlfriend being in town, I just couldn’t manage to update as often as I normally do.  I need to hire some contributors.

With that said, Monday marks the end of round 2 of the group stage of the World Cup.  I love this part because, now that every team has played twice, you can determine the requirements and success chances for each time to make it into the knockout stage.  Two teams, Cameroon and North Korea, have already been officially eliminated and are now just playing their last match for the fun of playing, but for everyone else the stakes are still present.  Hit the jump to see my predictions for Round 3 of the group stage.

Group A saw one of the greatest moments for Mexican soccer fans, when the usually sorry team beat ’98 World Champion France by TWO stinking goals.  One of them was by penalty kick from Cuautemoc Blanco.  This man played in France ’98.  I see it as insult to injury.  Uruguay is a shoo-in, but Mexico needs to at least draw against them to make it to the next stage, while France needs to beat South Africa (cake) while hoping that Mexico loses.

It must be embarrassing when the host nation can’t make it out of the group stage, or even win a game thus far.

Group B has Argentina moving ahead, followed by South Korea and Greece.  Nigeria has no chance.  Argentina for sure moves on.  There is no way Greece is going to beat them.  If Argentina wins and South Korea beat Nigeria (totally), the Koreans are in.

The controversial Group C has Team USA facing Algeria… Even for Team USA, this shouldn’t be too complicated.  And like I predicated, Slovenia is the team to watch out for here.  The way the Brits have been playing, I don’t think they’ll beat them at all.  I can see Slovenia and Team USA making it to the next stage… Unless, of course, another anti-American referee cheats Team USA out of their goals.

For Group D, Australia is out.  The total points for the other three teams are so close together that is anyone’s game.  Ghana is in the lead but only by one point.  I honestly did not expect them to be any good.  Then you have the powerhouse Germany, as well as Serbia, which is pretty good itself.  I expect Germany to easily dominate Ghana while all Serbia needs is to tie with Australia.  However, should Australia manage to beat the Serbians, then Ghana will move on regardless of the outcome.

In Group E, the Netherlands have officially qualified while Cameroon is out of the tournament.  So the Japan vs. Denmark match is a total tie-breaker and a total nail-biter.  They both seem equally matched so this should be good.  I am half expecting Denmark to beat Japan, but I am not sure.

Paraguay has proven itself to be the dominating team in Group F.  I expect them to easily beat New Zealand.  Meanwhile, current World Champion Italy is not firing in all cylinders.  They have tied both games they’ve played, but they are playing Slovakia (which I’m sure is out of the running).  New Zealand could still surprise us and beat Paraguay, but I’m sure if Italy can at least tie again (which seems to be all they are good for anyway), they’ll advance.

Group G is one of my favorites.  Now, no one ever questioned that Brazil would move on to the next round, but I simply find it amusing that North Korea would be COMPLETELY HUMILIATED by Portugal, of all teams (who themselves have never been very good).  It’s like they are saying, “Brazil, we are going after you.”  Of course, anyone can embarrass  a no-good team like North Korea, but it makes for a good show.  Brazil vs. Portugal might be an interesting match, for sure, although their places in the knockout stage are already assured, unless Ivory Coast managed to embarrass North Korea in an even more humiliating way (and if Portugal loses).

If you are still reading this far, here’s Group H:  I think both Chile and Spain will make it into the knockout stage.  It’s not that Switzerland is not any good, and if they manage to beat Honduras like everyone else has, then they might have a shot if Spain loses against Chile AND they score more goals than Spain.

This week we’ll see if any of these predictions hold true.  Be sure to leave your comments and share!

~My Two Cents

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