So Sophie reaches the end of her preview of the World Cup. She has enjoyed getting excited about the action…and screamed through most of the first match last night (when she should have been asleep). No doubt Groups G and H will offer similar enthusiasm levels when they get going on Monday and Tuesday!
Dad: The second so-called Group of Death at this World Cup and this one has a real menace about it. And I’m not just talking about the single-handed devastation Cristiano Ronaldo could wreak if given enough space. Portugal ought to be a decent side although the lack of a top class supporting cast for Ronaldo, especially upfront, could cost them. Pepe, born in Brazil but naturalised in Portugal, will guarantee dramatic entertainment at the other end though!
Sophie: That Ronaldo really fancies himself and I’m not keen on people like that. So what if he’s scored 164 goals in 149 appearances for Real Madrid. So what if he’s scored 49 goals in 110 appearances for Portugal. I bet Rick Humphries’ Gammy Knees record (Daddy’s 5 aside team) is more impressive than that (except for in tournaments.) Nah, not interested in Portugal.
Dad: The Germans are highly fancied and have been impressive for much of the last three tournaments. However, this skilful generation have coincided with Spain’s little geniuses, even at club level, and it was only last year that Bayern Munich managed to exert dominance. Spain redressed the balance this year and you wonder if the Germans, who’ve not won anything since Oliver Bierhoff won them Euro 96, have had their chance and missed it. With Marco Reus out injured as well, circumstances have not been kind to them.
As for Ghana and USA, they have both been strong and consistent at previous World Cups. They’re usually good to challenge for second and could make it tough for the two European favourites. They’re certainly not in Brazil just to make up the numbers. My tips… Germany and Portugal (but only thanks to CR7!)
Sophie: My Daddy’s watched a lot of American films and shows since I was born so their accent is very familiar to me. He’s also told me lots about Brad Friedel so for that reason I want them to go through. Germany? Yeah, they’re OK but I imagine I would have felt really sorry for Ghana four years ago when Luis Suarez ruined their World Cup so I hope they can make amends. Go Ghana!
Sophie: Mummy and Daddy went to Brussels when I was ten weeks old inside her and we had waffles and non-alcoholic beer. Yum! I hope they go through.
Dad: So excited about watching Belgium but don’t quite know why. We see their players every week in the Premier League and Marouane Fellaini doesn’t exactly set the pulse racing. Still, they’re a settled, confident and strong side, and with the likes of Hazard and Lukaku, they have bags of talent. They are many people’s dark horses and I hope they do well.
Sophie: The rest of Group H? I have literally no idea. Russia are managed by Fabio Capello (yawn) while Algeria have players from teams like Charlton (double yawn). South Korea can’t be as dull on paper so I’m gunning for them.
Dad: The South Koreans always bring verve and speed to a World Cup and ought to be good to watch again. They could be a little lightweight though and their qualification was unimpressive. Russia rarely perform at tournaments (except Euro 2008) and with no potent striker they could struggle. It would be nice to see Algeria do well, by virtue of their lack of recognisable players. Didn’t Ghilas play for Wolves a few years ago? My tips…Belgium and the others to fight it out with each other on goal difference!