Ok, Italy disappoints. That’s what they do. I know they won the last World Cup, but that’s mostly because of a head-butt and some kindergarten antics over someone calling someone else’s sister something or other. (I mean, I remember the players names, but I’m not going to dignify them here by saying them out loud.) Otherwise, Italy disappoints and without the head-butt they probably would have in ’06 as well.
Remember Baggio shooting the LAST penalty kick over the crossbar in ’94? (Yeah, the picture above…) I do…and man that was a killer. So, between the head-butt and the crossbar I’m going to say that Italy squeaks by, but they are going to give a game to one of the other teams in this Group and that is going to give that other team the momentum they need to get out of the Group.
Which team is that you ask? Slovakia of course.
I know, I know, Slovakia isn’t the sexy pick. (Heck, in the picture at the top they were a whole other country!) They aren’t the Kiwis. They aren’t Paraguay. You know what they are? From a war-torn nation that needs a pick me up. Slovakia has got it going on. (Here again is the “War-Torn Country Theory”.)
They won their Group in qualifying and they have players that play all over the world professionally (I know ever country does, but doens’t it surprise you a little that a country as “beat up” as Slovakia has THAT many international pros AND they won their qualifying group?)
They’ll beat Italy…Italy will be stunned…New Zealand will grab a game from Paraguay and that will be that.
I know I’m discounting the South American team, but let’s keep it real. The only South American teams who are going to do anything are Argentina (The Maradona Factor) and Brazil (because everyone’s afraid of them.) I wish Paraguay the best, but the best isn’t coming in the World Cup. Sorry…