Topic: US National Team
Kickoff is 30 minutes away. Prediction time. These predictions are influenced by the following factors:
1. The home team always plays way better than they should.
2. The home team, in this instance, is not all that good.
3. When the Cup is in Europe, a European team always wins (except for Brazil in Sweden '58). When the Cup is anywhere else, a non-European (i.e. South American) team always wins. Weird.
4. Home field advantage is primarily psychological, not geographic, and having the World Cup in Africa for the first time is a huge deal. Therefore, I am factoring in a "home continent advantage" for African teams in spite of the significant geographic distance.
5. Team adversity is overrated (see: Italy 2006). "Us vs. the coach" can be a motivating factor, too. Translation: don't count out France.
6. Diego Maradona is as bad of a coach as he was a great player.
7. I don't tend to pick a lot of upsets (I have a background in statistics - it's all probability and expected value for me. Also, I don't like fun).
Round of 16:
Nigeria beats Mexico
England beats Serbia
France beats Argentina
US beats Germany (okay: home town call here. But we owe them one from 2002)
Netherlands beats Paraguay
Brazil beats Chile
Cameroon beats Italy
Spain beats Portugal
Round of 8:
England beats Nigeria
France beats USA
Brazil beats Netherlands
Spain beats Cameroon
Brazil beats England
Spain beats France
Golden boot: David Villa
Golden ball: Xavi
Yashin award: Julio Caesar
Best young player: Jozy
Most entertaining team: Netherlands
Dark horse: France. (Do they count as a dark horse? No? Okay: Serbia)