Everyone’s a Winner

The 2010 World Cup has reached the knockout stages as the winners and runners-up of the eight first round groups progress to the Round of 16. It’s not so sweet, however, for the sixteen nations who finished in the bottom two places of their groups and can now enjoy their summer holidays. More than half of the European teams had to pack their bags early, with 2006 finalists Italy and France being the biggest casualties of the opening round. They were expected to top their groups, but both teams failed to win a game and finished bottom. For France, it was a case of deja vu as they repeated their 2002 performance by gaining just one point. It was also a bad start for the African nations as Ghana were the only team from that continent to go through, just as they had been in 2006

The biggest surprise of the first round was New Zealand, who significantly improved on their only other tournament in 1982 by finishing above Italy in their group. They also went home unbeaten, but their failure to win a game meant they could only finish third. It was also a good start for Japan and South Korea as, for the first time, the two Asian sides qualified for the knockout stages away from their own countries. North and South America were the biggest winners of the first phase as seven of their eight competitors made it through, with five of them winning their groups. It was a lot more difficult for the six European teams that got out of their groups as Spain, Germany and England had to win their final games to stay in the competition. The Round of 16 has just started with Uruguay overcoming a strong challenge from South Korea to become the first team to make it to the last eight. I think that the USA, Germany, Argentina, the Netherlands, Brazil, Japan and Spain will join them in the quarter-finals. They’re going to start falling like dominoes from now on

Dominos – The Big Pink