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BBC World Cup poll - The big four

by Honest Frank (U1645784) 10 June 2010
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Hello all

The winners of a poll conducted by the BBC Sport website of football experts from around the world can be found here:

Perhaps as interesting are the individual 1-2-3-4 selections here:

They include a few surprises ie
Paul Kennedy of Soccer America magazine rating Mexico as a top four side.
Former Sweden full-back Jan Olsson predicting England, Germany and Ivory Coast are all capable of making the semi-finals.
France Football's Xavier Rivoire sticking his neck out with Ghana and New Zealand.
And Chris Waddle putting Serbia as third.

From over 50 pundits from more than 20 nations, no-one picked previous winners Italy, Germany or France as champions.

Is it foolish to write off these sides? Could Ghana or another African team make the last four? Or maybe you agree with some of the pundits?

Would be good to hear YOUR take on how things might pan out.


Previous day's debates are here:

Wednesday - Brazil

Tuesday - Argentina

Monday - England

Latest 10 comments

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posted Jun 10, 2010

I notice that quite a lot of those predictions from supposed football experts are impossible. Vitor Baia is being loyal to Portugal, but they can't be in a last four which also includes Brazil and Spain. Similarly, Sir Geoff Hurst is wrong to have a last four containing Netherlands, Brazil and Spain.

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posted Jun 10, 2010

Hi Phrasmotic. I did respond to this the other day, but you must have missed it.

We did have the caveat that all predictions might not work out precisely because of the variable nature of the draw.


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posted Jun 10, 2010

How many 'experts' predicted that Greece would win Euro 2004 or that Denmark would win Euro '92 or that Italy would win the '82 World Cup? Major tournaments have a strange effect on the supposed favourites. A European team to win outside Europe? The Dutch should've won in '78 but where was that played? I think there'll be a few shocks and I also think Spain will feel the pressure. Never write off Italy or Germany but I hope at least one African team (Ghana, Ivory Coast?) go a long way. England do have a chance if Rooney stays fit & on the pitch! A team can suddenly get on a roll in a World Cup when everything clicks and they get the rub of the green both in play and decisions from officials. Their team spirit, organisation and sheer will can surmount even the most skilful opponents. Let's hope it's Englands turn. Which team will it be? Let the fates decide....'Hand of God' and all....

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comment by Robin P (U7217056)

posted Jun 10, 2010

Interesting decision by the non-statisticians at BBC Sport to select Spain as the 'winners' as their poll DID NOT.

* Brazil was selected a Top 4 finisher by 55 out of 58 polled

* Spain 45, Argentina 39, England 39 (Germany & Netherlands 13 each)

On a points system Brazil beats Spain every time. If one goes 4 3 2 1:

Brazil 171,

Spain 152,

Argentina 93,

England 72,

Netherlands 23,

Germany 22.

By 32 31 30 and 29 (because just getting selected for the Top 4 means there are 28 teams you have already beaten)

Brazil 1711,

Spain 1412,

Argentina 1185,

England 1164

Netherlands 387

Germany 386

But who expects the BBC to be able to organise a counting exercise? This is the organisation which stopped Gail Trimble from winning University Challenge!!

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comment by U14183969

posted Jun 10, 2010

England 4th - come off it.

I think a 2nd round exit to Germany is well and trully on the cards.

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posted Jun 10, 2010

Who are the specialists at winning the WC?


Have Germany or Italy or Spain ever won outside Europe?


Therefore the World Cup will likely be won by Brazil or (less likely, but possible) an African team.

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posted Jun 10, 2010

the teams to be careful of and early exit are as follows
England,Germany,Spain,Brazil,and France, if these teams do not pay attention they will be out by the 1/8th.

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posted Jun 10, 2010

Waste of time as WC is always a box of surprises but we can reach some conclusions easily:
a) Any of the big 4 that reach the final WILL win. Only in two ocasions (1998 France x Brazil and - I am sorry to be a pain - 1966 England x Germany) that this has not happened. Holland in 1974 and 1978 lost to Germany and Argentina respectivelly. The wonderfull Hungary team of 1954 lost to Germany and so on;
b) Spain has chances of winning but also big chances to be a disappointment. Who counts on them because of Euro2008 forgets their mediocre Confederations Cup afterwards when they lost fair and square to Brasil AND USA. Their WC run is poor also and a lot of people will have their eyes on them.
My bet is that, Spain wil only win if none of the top 4 are on the final (can happen).
The finalists for me will be:
Argentina (my bet for winner)
an African team (either Ghana or Ivory Coast) or "surprise team" like USA or Serbia.
I would consider England in place of the last one but see England reaching 3rd place then.
The risk of underachievement will come probably either from France (poor team), Italy (their team is good but not that great), Spain (usual underachievers in WC) and Brazil (clearly have one eye on 2014 already)

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comment by salvus (U7754542)

posted Jun 10, 2010

If the past is a mirror for the future Italy, Brazil and Germany ( possibly at England's expense) will make it to the last 4.

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posted Jun 11, 2010

The BBC headline that led me here asked :"Who are the Champions?"

I can help them out, there. It's Italy. And I wouldn't rule them out this time either.

Spain's main disadvantage is the number of good teams they might have to beat to win thecompetitiion.

Being in the other half of the draw is Englangd's main advantage. I also have a pet theory that the team who meets the-team-that-beats-Brazil has an extra advantage because their opponents might be exhausted by the effort of raising their game against Brazil.

So if England could get as far as a meeting with a Dutch team (I think) who would have just done the hard work of beating Brazil, then who knows.....?

Need a good start against the colonials, though. Probably followed by someone from Calais and beyond.

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