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End of the group stage - a look back

Prior to the tournament starting, I previewed each of the groups, looking at what and what not to expect as well as putting forward my tips to qualify for the second round.

None of the top seeds fell at the first hurdle and realistically only the Czech Republic and Croatia could be labelled as surprises for catching an early flight back.

Group A

What I predicted: Lukas Podolski to shine, not too many goals and Germany and Poland to progress.

What happened: Podolski looks to be a prospect, it was probably more attacking than anticipated and Ecuador saw off Poland into second place.

Group B

What I predicted: Sweden to finish second to England, Joe Cole to be vital to England hopes and the wives and girlfriends to feature heavily in the media.

What happened: My tips for qualification were spot on, Cole was the best of Englands midfielders and the term 'WAG' was invented by a salatious press corps.

Group C

What I predicted: van der Vaart to shine but Holland crashing out with Serbia runner-up to Argentina.

What happened: Not exactly spot on here! van der Vaart played intermittently, Holland unbeaten and the Serbians back home without a point.

Group D:

What I predicted: Portugal and Mexico to finish 1-2 with plenty of goals.

What happened: The finish was spot on (although not difficult to predict admittedly), but this must have been one of the dullest groups in World Cup history.

Group E:

What I predicted: The Czechs to disappoint, plenty of draws and Ghana to sneak through in second place behind Italy.

What happened: Not the draws that I envisaged but the Czechs depart early and Ghana beat out USA for second.

Group F:

What I predicted: Kaka to be the star of the group with Japan acompanying Brazil to the knockout stages.

What happened: Kaka was impressive in the Croatia game and will have a big part to play in the tournament. Japan didn't recover from their opening game defeat to the Aussies - who performed superbly to take second place.

Group G:

What I predicted: France to comfortably take the group with Franck Ribery to shine.

What happened: France stuttered in the first two games and scraped through as runners-up to the Swiss whilst Ribery flattered to deceive.

Group H:

What I predicted: Spain and Ukraine to easily go through with Spain to perform well at a World Cup.

What happened: Spain destroyed the Ukraine in the opening game and topped the group, but Ukraine recovered to qualify for the next stage.