Before we get to today's
wild guess prediction, some more, er, predictions:
Decision Technology, a firm of prediction experts who claim to be the best in the business, has invented a computer program that boasts a better record than any bookmaker, pundit or sports tipster. While most bookmakers rank England as second favourites behind Brazil to land football's greatest prize, Dectech ranks Sven-Goran Eriksson's side ninth in the list it has produced to estimate the chance each of the 32 teams has of lifting the trophy. Brazil have the highest probability at 13.1 per cent.
My rudimentary level of odds-board calculating, honed by years of research at Woodbine, translates 13.1 per cent to a little longer than 6-to-1 odds. They're 2-to-1 in most books -- a huge underlay, in other words. Which most of us already knew.
But who to back?
Stott says anyone seeking to make a profit on events in Germany should back France, Holland or the Czech Republic, whose chances, he says, have been underestimated.
France? Things haven't improved much from last week. The Netherlands are anywhere between 9 and 12 to 1 -- not great either. But the Czech Republic? A very nice 32-to-1 in most places, says Oddschecker.
On to the Group C forecast -- the obligatory Group of Death, where anything can happen:
1 Netherlands. "Women are threatened with being overwhelmed with an orange testosterone cloud of football madness ... This must stop, here and now."
2 Serbia & Montenegro. Looked like they held back in weekend friendly vs. Uruguay (and if not, they're in trouble).
3 Argentina. Flopped as co-favourites in 2002, and now there's doubts about Lionel Messi.
4 Ivory Coast. Could finish on top, it's that close, and sell a lot of chocolate as well.