The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Friday, December 09, 2005

WORLD CUP DRAW ANNOUNCED

Groups and game schedule here.

I think the World Cup is as good an excuse as any to revive TFM's "Iraq Coalition Vs." international athletic scorekeeping system.

Such a system was employed here (and then swiftly adopted over at TigerHawk) to compare the medal totals for countries that supported the Iraq invasion and those which did not. The idea goes back to an op-ed piece by neoconservative LA Times columnist Max Boot, in which he bemoaned what the end of the Cold War has done to the Olympic Games: It's made them boring, because there is no longer an underlying "us vs. them" context to the various events. I was amazed that such a strident supporter of the Iraq war -- Boot is a proponent of the "we should flex our muscles there" viewpoint -- couldn't see the opportunity to both reclaim the us/them mantle and to bash the French at the same time! Sacre bleu!

Anyway, didn't we have a grand time in 2004 with all that? I don't remember who won, but I do remember that it was mighty close. So now that the draw for the World Cup has been announced, how does it stack up?

Coalition* teams in the 2006 World Cup:
Australia
Czech Republic
Italy
Japan
South Korea
The Netherlands
Poland
Spain
USA
England
Ukraine
Portugal
(* - Going by the list of countries who suppoted the original invasion)

Non-coalition teams in the 2006 World Cup:
Germany
Costa Rica
Ecuador
Paraguay
Trinidad & Tobago
Sweden
Argentina
Ivory Coast
Serbia & Montenegro
Mexico
Iran
Angola
Ghana
Brazil
Croatia
France
Switzerland
Togo
Tunisia
Saudi Arabia
Of the coalition teams, four (England, Netherlands, Italy, Spain) are probably locks to make the second round. Three of the four teams in the United States' bracket are coalition teams, counting the USA itself. The other problem for the US is that even if they reach the quarterfinals, they're likely to do so as the 2nd seed from group E, meaning a probable matchup with defending Cup champ Brazil. Meanwhile, from the looks of it, both Iran and Saudi Arabia have decent shots at the second round.

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