By Calvin Palmer
With the last two teams to reach the quarter-final stage of the World Cup decided today, my thoughts have turned to the possible outcome of the 2010 World Cup.
As things stand, the final could end up featuring the pre-tournament first and second favorites, Brazil and Spain, respectively, although Argentina, Holland and Germany may have other ideas.
For many people, Brazil are likely to reach the World Cup Final. But among some Brazilian fans, unusually an element of doubt exists. And certainly Brazil face their toughest test so far in the competition when they meet Holland on Friday.
Here is my scenario with regard to how things may or may not pan out between now and July 11 and please remember that it is based on an awful lot of “ifs”.
If Brazil beat Holland, I expect them to make the final beating Uruguay at the semi-final stage.
If Holland beat Brazil, I expect Uruguay to defeat them in the semi-final and reach the World Cup Final for the first time since 1950.
Uruguay have greatly impressed me in their games so far. I think they have the beating of Ghana and if they were to meet Holland in the semi-final, I feel Holland’s win against Brazil will take too much out of the Dutch players leaving them vulnerable against Uruguay.
Spain should easily dispense with Paraguay to make their way into the semi-final. Whether Spain then progresses to the final depends on who they meet.
If Germany beat Argentina, I would fancy Spain to go through to the final. However, if the semi-final turns out to be Spain versus Argentina then it is Argentina who will go through. I think Argentina are capable of playing Spain at their own passing game and emerging as winners and Argentina do have Lionel Messi.
So the World Cup Final on July 11 could be between Brazil and Spain; Brazil and Argentina; Uruguay and Spain; or Uruguay and Argentina. My apologies go to Holland and Germany fans, as well as those of Paraguay and Ghana.
But as Jimmy Greaves used to say, “It’s a funny old game.” And although I will stick with my final four teams, anything could happen. That is the beauty of football.
I notice that William Hill is quoting the following odds for winning the World Cup outright: