For the first time in three years I missed taking a punt on the Giro d'Italia final standings, so to make up lets have some ill-informed predictions for the World Cup:
Group A - France and Mexico
Group B - Argentina and Nigeria
Group C - USA and England
Group D - Germany and Ghana
Group E - Cameroon and The Netherlands
Group F - Italy and Paraguay
Group G - Brazil and Portugal
Group H - Spain and Chile
Likely to be fewer upsets in the group stage this time round, but I still reckon that the USA can finish on top of group C and that's not just wishful thinking.
Unfortunately I can't see Australia getting through to the knockout stages this time – the team is lacking in goal-scoring ability and Verbeek is the sort of coach who is too obsessed about not losing to actually win games. I would be delighted to be proven wrong, especially as a second place in the group could set-up the succulent prospect of knocking out England to progress to the quarter finals. Not going to happen, but for another couple of weeks we can at least dream ...
And the final? I think we'll have Argentina v. Spain with the South Americans winning out 3 - 1. (Now where did I put that Argentina shirt from 1986?)