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World Cup Team Groupings
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Groups A & B
Groups C & D
Groups E & F
Groups G & H
World Cup Group Profiles

Group A
France, Senegal, Uruguay, Denmark

Current champions France, with the backbone of the Euro 2000 team intact, look set to win this one and the battle will be on for second place, with no clear favorite and not much to choose between Uruguay, who placed 5th in CONMEBOL and qualified via a play-off win over Australia and Denmark, who overcame the Czech Republic and Bulgaria to go through directly. Outsiders Senegal may be worth a bet to surprise their more established opponents, but then again….

Our Picks: France and Denmark.

Group B
Spain, Slovenia, Paraguay, South Africa

Of all of the world cup groups, this may be the most difficult to call. The lack of tough competition in South Africa's qualifying group leaves a question mark over their true strength, while Slovenia only managed second place behind Russia. Spain was unbeaten in qualifying. Paraguay are more than a match for most teams, having drawn with Argentina and beaten Brazil on their way to second place in CONMEBOL.

Our Picks: Paraguay and Spain.

Group C
Brazil, Turkey, China, Costa Rica

Despite Brazil's poor showing in qualification only a fool would suggest they would fail advance from this group. Turkey are disappointed to finish second to Sweden and will be difficult to break down due to sheer determinism. If Costa Rica can reproduce their qualifying form, they could provide an upset. China are likely to make little impact.

Our Picks: Brazil and Turkey

Group D
Korea, Poland, USA, Portugal

As hosts, South Korea will have massive support, but it is doubtful this will be enough to upset the Europeans. The States will probably struggle to make an impact too, while Portugal have the talent and experience necessary to progress to the later stages. Poland may lack flair but are well-organized and are traditionally a tough nut to crack, giving little away defensively and often striking on the break.

Our Picks: Portugal and Poland.

Group E
Germany, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Cameroon

With an out-of-form Germany and an in-form Ireland, this group may be decided on whether either of those two manages to overcome Cameroon convincingly - and the Africans could spring a surprise. Germany will likely improve though, and their vast experience at this level will be crucial. The Irish will again possess the passion, but - Robbie Keane aside - there's a question mark over their creativity. To be frank, the Saudis lack the strength and experience to cause a major upset and will likely get panned.

Our Picks: Germany and Ireland

Group F
Argentina, Nigeria, England, Sweden

The 'Group of Death' provides some of the first round's most attractive matches. Argentina won the CONMEBOL qualifying competition so convincingly that they must be favorites - and if England continue to progress under Eriksson they are more than capable of giving them a game. Of the other two, Sweden are more predictable - difficult to break down but always beatable. On the other hand Nigeria are just as likely to turn it on and provide an upset as they are to flop.

Our Picks: Argentina and England

Group G
Italy, Ecuador, Croatia, Mexico

This group is a Euro/Americas affair, with Italy possessing the pedigree to come out on top - a look at the World Cup records suggests at least a top 8 finish, probably more. Of the other three, Mexico have been disappointing - finishing below the USA in qualifying - and Ecuador seem unlikely to be able to rise to the occasion, leaving Croatia, who topped their UEFA qualification group as the team most likely to progress to the knock-out phase.

Our Picks: Italy and Croatia

Group H
Japan, Belgium, Russia, Tunisia

Co-hosts Japan have a real chance here, though their progress will hinge on overcoming Tunisia and getting a result against Belgium. Russia dominated their qualifying group conceding only 5 goals in 10 games - while Belgium were forced into a play-off against Scotland. Tunisia pose no real threat, and so with Russia likely to come out on top, there'll be a dog-fight for second place, perhaps with home advantage being the deciding factor.

Our Picks: Russia and Japan.

World Cup Info