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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, June 14, 2010

The way it figures, the second place team in Group C (Slovenia, England, USA and Algeria) will play the winner of Group D (Germany, the Socceroos, Ghana and Serbia). Slovenia has a win, and so presently leads Group C, but the commentators don't expect that will hold up, so it'll come down to goals scored when it's time to decide who gets Germany in the second round.

Back in March there was a great deal of sportswriter hand-wringing over the prospect of expanding the field of the NCAA hoops tournament. The 64 (or 65) team bracket is indeed a lovely thing, but the World Cup format is tough to beat for pure sports enjoyment. You get the pleasure of watching your team play several times; you get to stress about how upcoming matches may play out-- and then they ratchet it up in the knock-out rounds. It is brilliant. The early matches so far seem to be playing out true to form-- the Socceroos getting blown out and the Germans running up the score; the crafty Dutch over the cheery Danes-- but there are sure to be some stunners, and I can't wait until Group G (Brazil, Ivory Coast, North Korea and Portugal) start playing.

UPDATE: One of the other things I like about World Cup is that it allows you to support several teams (and to have several villains too). So, for example, naturally I'm with the US all the way, however far that is, but I'm also hoping that this will be Spain's year, and because this is the first time the tournament is being played in Africa I want to see Cameroon do well. Japan just handed the Indomitable Lions a tough loss, and that could shake things up in Group E (Cameroon, Japan, Netherlands and Denmark.)

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