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How it stands...

What with one thing or another (mainly cricket), I've not caught a lot of the World Cup action over the weekend and today was a similair story with a Twenty20 game late afternoon/early evening (a five run defeat, running myself out on 49 with five balls left and thirteen needed to win).

This week should see a lot more action being watched (even with the stupid 3pm kick offs) and it does all time quite well as we now approach the final round of group games. Most of the groups are done and dusted with some jostling for first and second taking place, but one or two are set up for a decent finale.

Whilst having a bit of time on my hands - and trying to stay awake during the second intermission of game 7 of the Stanley Cup final (current time 3:10am) I at least have a chance to catch up on where the groups stand and what is at stake heading into the final set of matches.

Group A:

How it stands - Ecuador and Germany have both qualified, level on points with Ecuador having a better goal difference. They meet in the final game, with England looking on as an interested spectator.
Prediction - Germany to win and top the group, with Ecuador in second place.

Group B:

How it stands - England are through with six points, Sweden sit in second needing a point to qualify with Trinidad & Tobago harbouring an outside chance if they slip up.
Prediction - England to at least avoid defeat and win the group, Sweden taking second.

Group C:

How it stands - Argentina and Holland have both qualified with six points and face each other to decide the final standings. Both will want to win to avoid Portugal in the last sixteen.
Prediction - Argentina to win and establish themselves as firm favourites to win the tournament.

Group D:

How it stands - Portugal are through, Mexico likely to join them unless they are defeated by Portugal and Angola beat Iran and overturn a goal deficit.
Prediction - Portugal win the group, Mexico in second.

Group E:

How is stands - The most intriguing group as all sides can still. Italy play the Czechs and Ghana face USA. The two winners will go through. A draw will be good enough for Italy and the Czechs unless Ghana or USA win, then the Czechs will crash out.
Prediciton - Italy to go through, probably with a point and Ghana to win, edging out the Czechs to second place.

Group F:

How it stands - Brazil are through, realistically Japan are out, which leaves the Aussies and Croatians battling for second with the Croatia needing a win.
Prediction - I was impressed with Croatia against Brazil but having dropped points against Japan I have a feeling Australia will sneak through in second behind Brazil.

Group G:

How it stands - A little bit of intrigue here with France currently in third behind Switzerland and South Korea, who play each other in the final game. France definitely need a win or they are out, but a 2-0 sees guarantees them qualification.
Prediction - France to get the win they need to qualify through in first place (and avoid Spain) with a draw good enough for the Swiss to go through in second.

Group H:

How it stands - Spain are through already and Ukraine rebounded against Tunisia to all but set themselves in second position.
Prediction - Spain and Ukraine to win their final games and finish 1-2 in the table.

All of this would see a last sixteen as follows, and surprisingly with none of the top seeds being early casualties:

Germany v Sweden
England v Ecuador
Argentina v Mexico
Portugal v Holland
Italy v Australia
Brazil v Ghana
France v Ukraine
Spain v Switzerland