Germany v Ghana
It is fun but usually wrong to predict German failure. Euro 2008 was yet another example of Germany’s ability to deliver in major tournaments; they reached the final despite being low on star players and performing poorly in the early stages.
Ghana, however, will give them a good game. They showed impressive resilience to finish runners up in the African Cup of Nations without a host of top players.
Probable upset? **
England should be ok. While they have struggled to beat the very best, Capello’s side have been ruthless against the rest. And yet there is a hint of danger about this game. There is a risk of compaceny, fuelled as ever by hype from home.
And then there is the USA. They were the team of the Confederations Cup, where they beat Spain and gave Brazil an almighty scare. And they will be very, very up for this.
Probable upset? *
France v Mexico
In truth, all of France’s group games are potential upsets. Unconvincing in qualification, many consider France very fortunate to be in South Africa at all. Domenech has not addressed the issues which led to the disastrous Euro 2008 campaign.
The 3-1 defeat at Wembley disguised a confident peformance from Mexico. Their form has been much improved since Javier Aguirre’s return as manager.
Probable upset? ***
Italy v Paraguay
Few are tipping the World Cup holders to defend their trophy. Italy are not a bad side, just not an inspiring one. They should come through this group comfortably but if they are to have a wobble it will be against the Paraguayans, a competent outfit who impressed in qualification.
Probable upset? *
Let’s be honest: this is a guessing game not a science. Where does everyone else see big teams in danger?