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World Cup 2002 Korea Japan Special  The Draw
 > World Cup 2002 Korea Japan Special Index

*The intensity of the colour of the teams has been allocated after a mathematical formular and are reflecting the assessment of strength by the oddsmakers of the most prominent sportsbooks. They can be considered as very good experts as they cannot afford to make unrealistic odds. Only the value for England might be a little bit to high as some of the English betting offers might have been adjusted because of emphasised local betting on the own team.
African view: Nigeria and Senegal the losers, Cameroon, South Africa better off, Tunisia in between
General view: An unbalanced draw, partly caused by
- a seeding (or not seeding) scenario concerning the second European pot, (-> an article in German)
- the schedule, which seperates the field into two halfs to provide a finalist each instead of a crossover semi-final
- and pure bad luck
has put the top three teams into one of the two halfs, leaving the other half quite open for a weaker team to squeeze into he finals. Finals like Brazil-France, France-Argentina, Argentina-Brazil or either of those teams against England are already ruled out if the schedule remains as announced before the draw.
While on the other hand Italy might have to beat only one of those world class teams to become champions, France might have to defeat England, Brazil, and Argentina in succession only to reach the finals.
A probability scenario which has shifted the odds remarkably.
African view: Nigeria and Senegal the losers, Cameroon, Southa Africa, and Tunisia better off
We might look upon the picture with the idea the African teams are not only travelling to Korea and Japan to reach the second round, which might at least apply for Nigeria and Cameroon.
In this case the general remarks about the difficult and more easier half applies also to them. For example Nigeria might fight through their heavy metal group finishing runners up only to face the prospect of playing France, Brazil, Argentina, and a final against a possibly similar strong team next. The amount of luck necessary to add to skills very seldom heaps upon one team alone. The past four World Champions since the introduction of the four knock out rounds never had to play more than two real World class teams and with the exception of Argentina 1986 all needed a penalty shoot-out on the way though.
What looks so dark for Senegal and Nigeria, appears brighter for the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Of course there are no really easy opponents at the World Cup. Even the group will be tough for the African champions of 2000 as Saudi Arabia has always looked much better against African than against european opponents. But Cameroon have a realistic chance of getting through to the knock out stage and there a lot will be possible. How much will depend on their improvement since 1998 when they had no chance against then and today World class Italy, losing out 0:3. Their rapid improvement had come to a halt in the coaching odysee of the last 12 months but with Winnie Schaefer they might have found a coach matching very well with the task.
Tunisia and South Africa do not have the easy groups they tend to think because of the absence of big names but they will focus on the idea of reaching the second round as main objective.

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