OK, so it's not the greatest opening game of all time, but I certainly expect the Saffers to put on one heck of an opening ceremony.
Whilst I find that my appreciation for football increases with age I can't help feeling a sense of anti-climax that I can only liken to that of Christmas morning; I've waited ages for this, gradually getting more and more excited, but now that it's here, the realisation that it will all be over within the blink of an eye has definitely sunk in. And what will we have to show for it? Most likely feelings of disappointment and regret from over-indulgence, over-excitement and over-confidence, probably all because of some over-the-bar penalties!
But honestly I am an optimistic person. I fully expect England to reach the 2nd round and a possible encounter with old foes Germany. England often tend to raise their game against stronger opposition, so should this be the case, I would be more confident of an England win than if we got Australia, Serbia or Ghana......providing there are no stupid red cards (Rooney and Beckham, I'm talking to you!)
As well as England I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any shock results throughout the tournament. Nothing makes us bitter England fans happier than watching the likes of France, Portugal et al suffering defeat at the hands of the 'minnows'. Some of the teams I expect to struggle include:
- Netherlands (Group E) - Could find themselves shocked by the unpredictable Danes, and don't underestimate Cameroon, a team that may be more acclimatised to the weather.
- Portugal (Group G) - Surely Brazil must be favourites to win this group, meaning the Portugal will be left scrapping over 2nd place with Ivory Coast on North Korea, both of whom can be surprisingly difficult on a good day.
- France (Group A) - A team who qualified thanks to 'La main de Dieu' didn't so much as sprint over the line, but stumbled and fell a few yards from the line, only to pull down Ireland's shorts as they looked set to overtake the fallen giants. They may be lucky though as they have a very favourable group made up of South Africa, Uruguay and Mexico.
- Argentina (Group B) - Similar to France, they struggled in qualifying (finishing in 4th place in their group) but again seem to have an easier group than most, facing Greece, Nigeria and South Korea.