No matter how much the game has developed globally, some things will take a little longer to change.

Case in point with the last group stage matches this week, which concluded that it is highly unlikely that experienced sides that have been traditional World Cup performers will be leaving South Africa any time soon.

I think the goal that Germany scored put a punctuation mark on what all traditional footballing powerhouses have that the other up and coming sides don’t. It’s the inevitability of genius to shine through in moments of extreme pressure. After all this is what these gentlemen get paid millions of Euros to do the whole year round, why should one summer every 4 years be any different.

While the majority of neutral fans were hoping for a series of upsets that would have put their own teams up against far weaker opposition, it is somewhat embarrassing to be retrospectively recalling statements like “there is no way England is going through”. It is almost like they have fates direct number and can give it a call whenever things are on the brink.

As much as you hate to see rivals going through that are traditional powerhouses, the truth is all of that talent amounts for something at the end of the day and hence the group stages final outcomes have been largely predicable if one used their head instead of their heart.

For those of you that have since forgotten the username and password to your online World Cup bracket, don’t be too disheartened. There is always the knock out round where your most hated teams won’t get that pathetic second chance.

In a few short days, we will know exactly what the World Cup looks like but there are already a couple of potential classics that are emerging from the Group Stage, some confirmed and others in all probability.

Uruguay Vs. South Korea

As a match up, this game is probably one of the best matched of the group stage thus far. Both have had a tough way through their campaigns with plenty of scares and brilliant moments. The South Americans though, have all but qualified for the knock out stage and my head spins trying to figure out who has the best chance of going all the way amongst them. In terms of a result, I would expect Uruguay to edge this one at least.

USA Vs. Ghana

Both of these sides managed to get through by the folly of their teams playing on the other side of the draw. To be fair though the USA probably did a better job of taking control of their fate than Ghana but waiting till the 80th + minute to score really wasn’t telling of their overall performance, which was as usual consistent and organized but a tad wasteful. Ghana on the other hand, now have the opportunity to rescind on their policy of stupidity surrounding bringing on Muntari in the 70th minute exclusively and instead starting him for this one. We hope. This one is a coin flip, but what the neutrals will want from this match is a team capable of creating an upset down the road and if the confederations cup proved anything, its that the USA are definitely capable of just that. USA to take it in extra time is my prediction.

Germany Vs. England

If the Germans were stuck with the choice of England or the USA to play against, I’m not sure whom they would choose. Both had their pros and cons through the group stage. We are however in for a real treat with this one because I expect both teams to play this one like it is the World Cup Final. While I expect Fabio Capello to step down from the England FA coaching spot after this one if you know what I mean, we should also be cognizant of Germanys loss to Serbia and England not having conceded many goals in its mediocre campaign thus far.

As for who will win, who cares honestly just as long as the post match press conference has  Franz Beckhanbauer lampooning Fabio Capello or vice versa. Incidentally, don’t be too shocked if the players beat their respective patron saints to it with a few controversial tackles on the pitch to punctuate their dissatisfaction with the way each other have commented on their respective football styles.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what sitting in on a fight at the Colosseum must have felt like. It’ll just look a little richer in High Definition or even better if you’ve got one of those fancy 3D TVs that all the cool kids have.

Argentina Vs. Mexico

If there are two teams out there that deserve to have not had to face each other for the second world cup running in the same stage of the tournament it is these two. Arguably one of the best goals ever scored in World Cup history was fired in courtesy of Maxi Rodriguez who will be back to haunt the Mexicans in this second encounter. The last world cup saw these two  produce one of the best contests of the tournament and this time the stakes are even higher.

Mexico will be seeking vindication of their South American rivals while Diego Maradona will be intent on his side scoring enough goals to put to rest any claims that the last strike that decided their win 4 years ago against Mexico was no fluke.

As for a prediction, it is absolutely impossible for me to make one that isn’t emotionally influenced, so I’ll be watching this one to enjoy the game that is football and nothing else.

Groups E,F,G and H

Possibilities for the rest of the draw seem endless with Brazil perhaps having a run in with the Spaniards far earlier than anyone would have thought and the Netherlands seem helpless to avoid a run in with an inspired Paraguay, not able to decide whether the alternative which is a run in with Italy would be worse.

The only depressing note is that the Ivory Coast will see themselves almost inevitably edged out of the group of death owing to goal difference which is a bitter pill to swallow unless a miracle goal haul for Brazil and the Ivory Coast manage to neutralize the 7-0 thrashing of North Korea. That is, if their team hasn’t already defected in fear of being executed once they get back home for what will no doubt be declared as shame brought on the nation by them. A sick, but not so remote thought.

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