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World Cup predictions

News The question

The World Cup is almost here. After walk-outs in the Irish camp, a flare up among the Swedes, and a crippling injury crisis for England, what are your predictions?

France are still the team to beat, but watch out for Italy. They have major talent up front and they never give many goals away. For England to go far they need to win the group. Martin Keown should frighten the opposition.

Lee Durnford, 31, business developer, Croydon My choice is Portugal. Strong in their warm-ups, they are one of the few teams with a full-strength squad. Either way, here in KL we have the luxury of being able to watch the games on TV at a civilised hour. My heart bleeds for those back in the UK missing work to see their team perform!

Bill Addington, 45, geotechnical consultant, Kuala Lumpur As a non-follower of football I don't even know who has qualified, let alone most likely to win. But it would be nice if it was an outsider without too many overpaid stars - if such a team exists!

Mike Paul, 49, senior engineer, Germany As the France v Argentina final kicks off, it will take less than 20 seconds for the commentators to explain that it's only because the French players play in the English Premiership that they are any good. Then when Claudio Caniggia (ex Dundee) scores the winner, their predictable xenophobia will put this down to the 'filthy argie' rather than footballing prowess.

Still, we'll enjoy it up here!

Chic Haggart, 41, traffic manager, Perth Sheer bliss! With an insane 98% of the population voluntarily incarcerated, the world will return to being a much more pleasant place for the rest. Open roads, clear golf courses and welcoming restaurants.

Philip Richards, 64, London A recurrence of Beckham's injury, England and Ireland home after three games and Mick McCarthy looking for a job before Christmas.

France or Argentina to win.

Mike Battman, 47, health and safety manager, Warrington As a Scot born in 1966 I hate the regular reminders of that match, so heaven help those born in 2002 if the Auld Enemy win again.

Scott McKenzie, 35, health and safety adviser, Glasgow England will do their level best to underachieve. A boring draw against Sweden, a narrow loss to Argentina, then scrape past Nigeria and into round two. Here, we will grind out a win with a 99th minute Beckham super goal. Some 120 minutes of dour football later and we go out on penalties 5-4.

Problem is our last penalty was taken by the left back and last time he had a shot on goal was in 1956 (and he missed that one as well). The final will be played out between Argentina and Germany, but by then nobody in England will care.

Robert Pike, 39, senior engineer, Exeter France - 3/1, Argentina - 9/2, Italy - 5-1, Brazil - 6/1. William Hill, bookmaker. Japan to win group - 15/8, Italy to be runners up - 6/1, More than 36 penalties scored - evens. Steve Lister, punter.

Steve Lister, 36, Barnsley

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