Sergey Filatov: World Football Championship 2002. PRAVDA.Ru gives its forecast

No need to mention that football is the best game for the whole world. Some people like watching it, some like playing it, others adore to discuss it. Now there is another passion gathering pace – to make public forecasts. It is getting more and more popular with the help of the Internet.

The casting of lots for the World Championship of the year 2002 has just happened – on December 4, but the Internet is stuffed with the material, discussing its results. There are a lot of forecasts too. We have such an experience as well. Four years ago, in December of 1997 our newspaper Pravda, which was a regular newspaper at that time, published the forecast after the tossing of the previous football championship, which took place in France. Our forecast turned to be the best among other Russian leading mass media outlets. Even some professional sports publications said England, Argentina, Brazil, Germany would be the winner. Pravda was almost the only one, that said it would be France and Brazil to have the final game.

We will try to do it now too – to give a forecast of high quality, especially now, when the Russian team will take part in the championship. With this forecast we do not want to set out our vision of the course of the championship only, we would like to invite all Internet publications, who have their own forecasts, to have a competition – “Who is going to be the best to forecast the 1/8, 1/4, semi-final and the final games.” The prize for the winner of this competition is not the money, but fame. Those, who wish to take part in the competition, may write to our e-mail. We will introduce all, and it will be the readers, who will have to judge on the results of the championship – whose forecast was better. This is what we have to say:

Here is the structure of the preliminary sub-groups:

A- France, Senegal, Uruguay, Denmark B- Spain, Slovenia, Paraguay, South African Republic C- Brazil, Turkey, China, Costa-Rica D- Korea, Poland, USA, Portugal E- Germany, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Cameroon F- Argentina, Nigeria, England, Sweden G- Italy, Ecuador, Croatia, Mexico H- Japan, Belgium, Russia, Tunis

The first and the second places in the sub-groups are going to be taken by:

A- France and Uruguay B- Spain and Paraguay C- Brazil and China D- Portugal and Poland E- Cameroon and Germany F- England and Argentina G- Italy and Mexico H- Russia and Japan

1/8 final match:

Cameroon – Paraguay France – Argentina England – Uruguay Spain – Germany Italy – Poland Brazil – Japan Russia - China Portugal – Mexico

The winners:

Cameroon Argentina England Spain Italy Brazil Russia Portugal

The 1/4 pairs:

Argentina – Brazil Cameroon – Italy Spain- Portugal England-Russia

There should be a note made here. A cold analyst will surely choose those, who gave birth to football – England. A Russian football fan will certainly choose Russia. We would give our preference to the Russian team: it has always been successful, when playing with the English team.

So this is the forecast for the semi-final:

Argentina – Russia Italy – Portugal

The final: Argentina – Italy

And the champion is Italy

Portugal will play against Russia in the match for the third place. Like it was in 1996, Portugal will be stronger than Russia, but this outcome of the 2002 championship will be perfect for the Russian team! The most interesting thing here is that the consequences, created for our team by the calendar schedule of the games are very good. They allow to get this result. If Russia takes the first place in the sub-group, where the level of the competitors is not that high and if the Russian team plays in the 1/8 final, with China, most likely, then the first serious match for Russia will take place in the 1/4 final then – probably we will play against England. Will it be impossible for Russia to cope with these competitors?

This is our forecast, this is the way we see the World Football Championship 2002. Any fan or football expert is entitled to have their own opinion to what we think will happen.

Sergey Filatov

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov