2006 World Cup Preview
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Many call the World Cup the best sporting event on the planet, and considering soccer's popularity in other parts of the globe, it's hard to argue with that claim. Football, as most people in the world refer to it, carries the kind of global appeal that Bud Selig, Paul Tagliabue and David Stern would kill for, and for one month every four years, the sport's biggest stars take the pitch with one goal in mind: win it all.

The 2006 World Cup is being hosted by Germany. For a complete schedule, click here, and to blog about the tournament, visit SRSoccer.com. Also, be sure to check out our World Cup webguide.

Below, you'll find breakdowns of the tournament from two of our writers. Mike Barkacs takes an in-depth look at each group and discusses who he thinks has the best shot at advancing while John Palazzo broke the tournament down into the frontrunners, strong sides, Cinderellas and the leftovers. Mike and John certainly don't agree on everything but they each offer insightful commentary on the 2006 World Cup.

Group Previews

By Mike Barkacs

Group A preview
Germany, Poland, Costa Rica, Ecuador

Group B preview
England, Sweden, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago

Group C preview
Argentina, Holland, Ivory Coast, Serbia Montenegro

Group D preview
Portugal, Mexico, Angola, Iran

Group E preview
Italy, Czech Republic, United States, Ghana

Group F preview
Brazil, Croatia, Australia, Japan

Group G preview
France, Switzerland, South Korea, Togo

Group H preview
Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia

Team Analysis

By John Palazzo

The frontrunners
John places Germany and Brazil in this group. Find out who else he thinks has an excellent chance to reach the semifinals.

Strong sides
Teams like Italy and Sweden may not be favorites, but they're certainly strong enough to advance deep in the tournament.

The United States is just one team that could catch fire and find themselves in the quarter or semifinals.

The leftovers
The also-rans and longshots that won't be making much noise this summer, plus several teams that could surprise.

For the Newbies

We realize that not everyone is a soccer fan, but now is the perfect time to pick up the game. John Palazzo offers a starter course for the uninitiated while also discussing how and when he first caught football fever.

Blog the World Cup

Visit SRSoccer.com to discuss and debate the tournament

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