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Friday, June 30, 2006

World Cup Deutschland 2006: Odd News and and a Prediction update

Image hosting by PhotobucketAs you may recall, Walski made a prediction sometime back as to which teams would advance from the group stages. We'll do a review of it, but first, some very odd (and funny) news related to the tournament.

In what Walski thinks is one of the oddest bit of news related to the FIFA World Cup 2006, a man in China was so engrossed with watching the France vs Spain telecast, that a fire breaking out in his house was not important enough to tear him away from the TV (as reported by All Headline News):

House On Fire Doesn't Bother Soccer Fan
June 29, 2006 5:38 p.m. EST
Ankit Gupta - All Headline News Staff Writer

Beijing, China (AHN) - A Chinese soccer fan refused to let the small matter of his house catching fire disturb his enjoyment of Tuesday's World Cup match between France and Spain.

A fire broke out in a hutong (narrow alley) in the centre of the Chinese capital at three in the morning local time on June 29 - kickoff time in Hanover - and gutted the traditional courtyard dwelling, the Beijing Daily Messenger reported.

"When the neighbor's shouted 'fire!' I took my little baby and ran out in my nightclothes," the man's wife told the paper. "My husband paid no attention to the danger, just grabbed the television and put it under his arm," she added.

"After getting out of the house, he then set about finding an electric socket to plug in and continue watching his game."

Screw the house, wife and kid... me gotta watch my footie! The dude probably had some yuen riding on the game...

In any case, Walski's earlier prediction had some hits and some total misses. The prediction was accurate for Groups A, B, C, and F, and partially correct for Group D, but in the wrong order (Portugal came out tops over Mexico).

However, the prediction for Group E went totally out of whack, when that group became the inadvertent group of death. Italy came out tops (Walski had predicted them to be second), and an impressive Ghana made history by advancing from the group stages (instead of as predicted). Up till the final game for the respective teams, the top two spots were literally up for grabs.

In Group G, France made a resurgance during their final group match against Togo and edged out South Korea, who lost their final game to Switzerland. Group H also ended somewhat different from what was predicted; Walski correctly predicted Spain to top the group, but Ukraine ended up in second place.

So now, with the second round over and done with, we're now at the Quarter Final stage. And with that, of course, another round of predictions. (Quarter-Final predictions in the full post)

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe tournament so far

Walski's Qurater Finals Prediction: Portugal will edge out England, Germany will lose to Argentina, Italy will triumph over Ukraine, and Brazil will even the score (of their World Cup 1998 final loss) by beating France.

However, the Germany vs Argentina match should be an interesting one to catch - home ground advantage is something not to be dismissed, and while Walski believes that Argentina has more quality on the field, it will be a very close game.

We'll find out over the weekend if these predictions are accurate or not. Sports prognostication is not Walski's forte, mind you. But as always, when Walski predicts wrongly, Walski admits to it, unreservedly.

Happy viewing!