In that spirit here are our previews of the next round of Asian and North American qualifying rounds: group by group, with special insight from our fellow Hooligans--Edemame Pajyamas and Celestial Aly
Group B While we've already discussed Lebanon's chances, it should be noted that South Korea's track record, top flight talent and willingness to set themselves on fire for victory make them the odds on favorite to win the group. Second place should be a toss up between Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates: since their nicknames are the white and the blue we fully expect that Parisian fashion designers will let us know which one is in and which is out this season.
Group C Kim Jong-Il's son--Kim Jong-Un--can firmly establish his power base if he oversees his team's ascendency to the next round of the World Cup. The best strategy to do that would be to kidnapped and indoctrinate the Japanese and Uzbeki players who visit Pyongyang for matches in the country. So if something that unlikely happens (and hey, it's North Korea, so it might!) then it'll be North Korea and Tajikistan (by default, natch.)
Group D Sure the Saudi's and the Aussies are the top teams in the group, sure they've got a bundle of World Cup appearances between them, sure they are the most likely teams to win the group...but I don't own one of their jerseys. Buoyed by my support Thailand should slip in to the next round in group two...if only because they risk incurring my wrath if they do not.
Group E A hard group to handicap. Iran has a dangerous attacking squad but might be past it's prime. Rising young powers Bahrain has made great strides recently in suppressing the opposition (through force if need be) and you should never underestimate Qatar's resources and determination to prove themselves. And hey! I just realized that my analysis of each nation's questionable governmental structures could also be applied to their football...how about that!
CONCACAFGroup A Just look at the Dominican's line-up. Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, evenan aging Pedro Martinez is better than anybody that Suriname, the Cayman Islands or El Salvador could scrounge up...oh, wait a second...I got confused about which sport I was writing about...uhh...let's just say El Salvador.
|Now this is a line-up that could|
get all the way to Brazil!
Group C With the Bahamanians already picking up their ball and going home, there are only three teams left to fight. It will be the first group decided, the first one that sends someone on to the next round, so let's just go ahead and say the first team listed alphabetically wins, congratulations Dominica!!
Group D Canadian's are already excited about their chances to get through--and who could blame them? On top of their talent, Canadian fans are prone to throwing things on rinks and fields of every size and shape--it's doubtful that their only real challenge (St. Kitts & Nevis) are going to know what to do when octopi, hats or maple syrup rains down on them.
|Hipster Zombies prefer their brains|
at gastropubs with chipotle aioli
Group F I've written before about the US Virgin Islands having as much chance as anybody in a wildly unpredictable group. But, even with all their struggles, the smart money still has to be on Haiti. They gave us the modern form of Zombies, now they can unleash a 21st century strain of zombie (hipsters oversaturated on zombie memes)