*The intensity of the colour
of the teams has been allocated after a mathematical formular and are reflecting
the assessment of strength by the oddsmakers of the most prominent sportsbooks.
They can be considered as very good experts as they cannot afford to make
unrealistic odds. Only the value for England might be a little bit to high
as some of the English betting offers might have been adjusted because
of emphasised local betting on the own team.
|African view: Nigeria
and Senegal the losers, Cameroon, South Africa better off, Tunisia in between
General view: An
unbalanced draw, partly caused by
- a seeding (or not seeding)
scenario concerning the second European pot, (-> an
article in German)
- the schedule, which seperates
the field into two halfs to provide a finalist each instead of a crossover
- and pure bad luck
has put the top three teams
into one of the two halfs, leaving the other half quite open for a weaker
team to squeeze into he finals. Finals like Brazil-France, France-Argentina,
Argentina-Brazil or either of those teams against England are already ruled
out if the schedule remains as announced before the draw.
While on the other hand
Italy might have to beat only one of those world class teams to become
champions, France might have to defeat England, Brazil, and Argentina in
succession only to reach the finals.
A probability scenario which
has shifted the odds remarkably.
African view: Nigeria
and Senegal the losers, Cameroon, Southa Africa, and Tunisia better off
We might look upon the picture
with the idea the African teams are not only travelling to Korea and Japan
to reach the second round, which might at least apply for Nigeria and Cameroon.
In this case the general
remarks about the difficult and more easier half applies also to them.
For example Nigeria might fight through their heavy metal group finishing
runners up only to face the prospect of playing France, Brazil, Argentina,
and a final against a possibly similar strong team next. The amount of
luck necessary to add to skills very seldom heaps upon one team alone.
The past four World Champions since the introduction of the four knock
out rounds never had to play more than two real World class teams and with
the exception of Argentina 1986 all needed a penalty shoot-out on the way
What looks so dark for Senegal
and Nigeria, appears brighter for the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Of course there are no really
easy opponents at the World Cup. Even the group will be tough for the African
champions of 2000 as Saudi Arabia has always looked much better against
African than against european opponents. But Cameroon have a realistic
chance of getting through to the knock out stage and there a lot will be
possible. How much will depend on their improvement since 1998 when they
had no chance against then and today World class Italy, losing out 0:3.
Their rapid improvement had come to a halt in the coaching odysee of the
last 12 months but with Winnie Schaefer they might have found a coach matching
very well with the task.
Tunisia and South Africa
do not have the easy groups they tend to think because of the absence of
big names but they will focus on the idea of reaching the second round
as main objective.