The biggest sporting event is beginning today. With SCV -ESPNStar tussle going on, the majority of Chennai soccer lovers (some only world-cup lovers) are eagerly waiting for this result prior to the actual match start.
In my opinion, the following are the stars to watch out for:
1. England: Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney (will he, wont he - awesome will power)
2. Brazil: Ronaldinho, Kaka, Robinho (Haven't seen him play, but heard a lot), Dida.
3. Argentina: Messi (the mess for opponents), Riquelme (hope I spelt right), Aimar, Crespo.
4. Germany: Jens Lehmann, Ballacj, Neuville (I liked this guy in the 2002 WC itself)
5. Netherlands: Robben, Persie, Ruud van Nistelrooy
6. Portugal: Deco, Figo, Ronaldo
7. Italy: Cannavaro, Del Piero
8. Czech: Cech, Nedved, Baros
9. Australia: Harry Kewell
10. France: Zidane, Henry (will he, at least this time, fire), Vieira
11. Spain: Reyes, Raul (can he overcome his poor run?), Iniesta
My bet for winners:
Though I want Brazil not to win and England to do so!
Some interesting facts: (From the NYT, June 7)
* Since the beginning of group play in 1950, teams that have won the first games have advanced to the second round 81.1% of the time. Teams that have lost their first game advanced only 18.8% of the time. And teams tied had a 62.5% chance of advancing to the second round.
* In the last ten opening games, only 9 goals have been scored. Three of those goals came when Brazil beat Scotland 2-1, in 1998. The opening game in the 2006 WC is between Germany and Costa Rica.
* Teams that have scored first have a record of 418-87-97, a 77.4% winning percentage.
* The only time that Brazil and Germany have met is the 2002 WC championship final. Brazil has played all 17 World Cups and Germany 15. That is a total of 172 matches played by both countries in the WC.