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Monday, May 27, 2002

World Cup Mania-Part III- Who's playing whom? The World Cup grouping announcement show is like the NCAA March Madness bracket announcement (except all 32 teams are know-there are no bubble teams) on steroids, where soccer buffs will see who their country will play and whether they got stuck in the Group of Death. Inevitably there will be one or two of the groups with three good teams in it, and thus one of them will be going home early, given that only two teams will advance. Let's look at who's playing who. My picks to advance are in parentheses.
Group
A (Denmark) (France) Senegal Uruguay
B Paraguay Slovenia (South Africa) (Spain)
C (Brazil) China (Costa Rica) Turkey
D Poland (Portugal) South Korea (USA)
E (Cameroon) (Germany) Ireland "Saudi" Arabia
F (Argentina) England (Nigeria) Sweeden
G (Croatia) Equador (Italy) Mexico
H (Belgium) Japan Russia (Tunisia)
The US has a fairly weak group, and should make it through to the round of 16. England got dumped into group F, this year's Group of Death, with Nigeria's Super Eagles likely knocking England out early. Irish fans may be out of luck, as they'll likely lose out to the Indomitable Lions (gotta love 'em) of Cameroon for a spot in the next round. CNN's house expert disagrees with me on some of these, thinking that the Guay brothers, Uru and Para, should advance, as could Turkey, Russia and Japan.

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