World Cup 2010 Predictions
10 June 2010
As one of the premier crime writers of the epoch, it is naturally incumbent upon me to set down in stone a series of World Cup predictions. History itself will judge whether or not they prove to be accurate. Well, actually, at the moment the future will judge their accuracy, but give it a month and then it will be history that will be judging them.
I do not make these predictions lightly. For something in the region of the last ten minutes now I've been studying the fixture list at the back of the South Africa 2010 Official Licensed Sticker Album, and have come to the following conclusions. (As the odds on each of these events taking place are about to tumble dramatically, the casual reader might be well advised to quickly lay down a bet before it is too late.)
1. This will be the World Cup when finally the footballing world is turned upside down, with many of the old nations eliminated much earlier than anticipated. Four African teams will make it through the first round, albeit only Côte D'Ivoire to the quarter-finals.
2. Spain, after looking masterful in the group stages, will implode against Côte D'Ivoire in the last 16 round and will crash out of the tournament. (Subsequently, the old divisions within Spanish football will once more come to a head, so that Spain stumble and fall, finishing a distant second to Scotland in their Euro 2012 qualification group. By the summer of that year, Fernando Torres will be reduced to signing for Barnstoneworth United for less than £50,000.)
3. The quarter-final line-up in full will be:
Mexico v Australia
USA v Argentina
Cameroon v Brazil
Holland v Côte D'Ivoire
4. What of England? After an embarrassing opening game 2-1 loss to the United States, they will recover - due to the general minceness of their group - to win Group C on goal difference from the USA. Thinking that a defeat to the USA was the height of embarrassment and that the worse that could then happen would be to be knocked out by one of their old nemeses Argentina, Germany or Christiano Ronaldo, they will be proved wrong when for the first time in World Cup history they get knocked out by Australia. While many other nations in that circumstance would be forced to eat Humble Pie, the English will say that they're not hungry... and when they scrape into the World Cup in 2014, managed by Sam Allardyce and still relying on Wayne Rooney, they will once again proclaim themselves favourites and that it is their 'best chance ever'.
5. Côte D'Ivoire will beat Brazil 3-1 in the World Cup Final.
Bonus prediction no. 6:
6. Scotland win the World Cup in 2014, and go on to successfully defend the trophy at Wembley in 2018.