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Eurovision Sofa: The Songs – L to R

Latvia   Anmary                                                                                                           Latvia
   Beautiful Song                                                                                                    125/1
Latvia Hey everyone, lets look at how totally brilliant it is Anmary is singing at Eurovision. She’s even giving us her biography, born in 1980, same year as Johnny Logan was born (look at how she knows that!), and now she is singing a ‘beautiful song’ and everybody loves it. Hooray! Isn’t she totally brilliant? I mean, she even knows Sir Mick Jagger, her contact book must be overflowing, she is simply so popular! Because everyone loves this, it surely must win, yay for Anmary!
My Verdict: If you couldn’t tell, I was being a bit sarcastic.
Europe’s Verdict: Please make it go away Europe, please.


Lithuania   Donny Montell                                                                                         Lithuania
   Love is Blind                                                                                                       150/1
Lithuania In football we have a game of two halves, and well, something similar is going on here. We start with a rather dull ballad, and about half way through it turns magically into a rather dull dance act. And he thinks he’s clever that he uses a blindfold to represent how he find love to be blind. Oh the tedium.
My Verdict: Painful to listen to, for the whole three minutes.
Europe’s Verdict: Even performing at the end of his semi-final, this will struggle for votes.


Macedonia   Kaliopi                                                                                                   Macedonia
   Crno I Belo                                                                                                          150/1
Macedonia What’s this, another uninspiring and fairly average ballad in the second semi-final? Thank you so very much Macedonia. And then, you get a bit rocky, and your song becomes a lot better. Shame you couldn’t start with that, otherwise I’d be totally behind it.
My Verdict: It takes forever to get going, and is probably too late to make an impact.
Europe’s Verdict: I can’t decide, will probably miss out.


Malta   Kurt Calleja                                                                                                      Malta
   This is the Night                                                                                                 200/1
MaltaAs guilty pleasures go, this is, not exactly the worst to admit to. I am aware it’s poor live, quite clichéd, repetitive and so on, but I find it fun to listen to.
My Verdict: It’s on my favourites list, and I don’t care if no one else has it on theirs.
Europe’s Verdict: Not as popular for everyone else as it is for me. But Malta is the first opportunity that the second semi-final gets to get energetic, and this could do well.


Moldova   Pasha Parfeny                                                                                             Moldova
   Lăutar                                                                                                                   80/1
Moldova A personal grower for me, starting off largely indifferent, I’ve grown to actually find the song quite decent. Up-tempo and a very fun song, performed by someone who looks to be enjoying himself singing it.
My Verdict: Although it took its time getting there, I love it!
Europe’s Verdict: Assuming people love this first time round rather than the fourth, I can see this proving to be a very popular song, with a very memorable performance.


Montenegro   Rambo Amadeus                                                                                 Montenegro
   Euro Neuro                                                                                                         200/1
MontenegroAnd the award for ‘We’re not taking this seriously’ goes to Montenegro, congratulations for sending, whatever this is. They say it’s a song, but I’m not convinced. It opens the show on Tuesday night, and will be quite the introduction, but you just can’t see this doing anything. Especially since you can’t have live animals/naked women on stage with you.
My Verdict: Yeah, it does my head in.
Europe’s Verdict: It’s hard to guess the impact it will have, I doubt the juries will be thrilled with it. I suspect something similar with the public vote.


Netherlands   Joan Franka                                                                                       Netherlands
   You and Me                                                                                                           66/1
Netherlands The Dutch usually suck and they don’t care, and for once they don’t (relatively suck). As long as she doesn’t stick to that ridiculous Native American theme, which I find to be quite a bizarre costume choice based on the song. It’s a decent folk entry, but nothing more.
My Verdict: I find myself not caring much for it, but for the semi-final it’s in, it’s an OK entry.
Europe’s Verdict: Sorry Dutch folks, I can see you missing out once again.


Norway   Tooji                                                                                                            Norway
   Stay                                                                                                                      25/1
NorwayI couldn’t care less for this song, really is not for me and while the music style isn’t the same as Eric Saade, the performance and everything else is. Saying that, if it worked for Saade it could work well for Tooji, and the teenage fan girls will no doubt be jamming whatever phone line Norway get, potentially more so than Jedward. Despite my hatred of this song, this could worryingly do very well.
My Verdict: Not my cup of tea, and well, in a different postcode to my cup of tea.
Europe’s Verdict: Will be huge, could surprise itself into getting a great finish.


Portugal   Filipa Sousa                                                                                                Portugal
   Vida Minha                                                                                                         200/1
Portugal While I give credit for it sticking to its Portuguese routes, my God do I get bored a third of the way through the song. I could make the cup of tea I wanted from Tooji, and get back in time to see this finish, I find it that boring that quickly.
My Verdict: Dull, so very dull.
Europe’s Verdict: They may see it the same way as me, and with no friends to help them along the way, this could potentially finish last in their semi-final.


Romania   Mandinga                                                                                                   Romania
   Zaleilah                                                                                                                 16/1
RomaniaFun, upbeat and… bagpipes. I really do enjoy listening to Zaleilah, and so do most of Romania, reaching number 2 in their charts all the way back in September and appearing on several high profile shows (aside from, say, the Graham Norton Show). A really enjoyable song and should spark off interest across Europe.
My Verdict: So fun to listen to, and potentially dance to.
Europe’s Verdict: Will do well, will be a good top 10 bet.


Russia   Buranovskiye Babushki                                                                                  Russia
   Party for Everybody                                                                                                9/1
Russia There’s only one humanly possible reaction to this song, awwwwwwwww. The Babushki Grandma’s, singing part in their native Udmurt and part in English. The song is dreadful, they can’t sing and are horrible out of tune with each other… but still… they’re all so adorable, especially the small one. I just want to give her a hug.
My Verdict: It’s just so adorable. I could watch them sing it, but not listen to them sing it.
Europe’s Verdict: Will walk the televotes, and will be high up, but the jury vote might just knock it back from winning.

So… Who Will Win the World Cup?

FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour launches in Cape Town, South Africa

Seven days to go, I can’t wait. You can’t wait. The World Cup is nearly here. So here we are, my official, World Cup Predictions.

Group Stages

Sadly for the hosts, I can’t see South Africa doing that much. I know they are the hosts and might spring a surprise draw from somewhere, I sadly think they will be the first ever World Cup hosts to be knocked out in the Group Stages. France will get knocked out, they have been abysmal really. A shocking coach, very lucky to get into it (as the Irish found out). Uruguay aren’t too bad a side either. Mexico to finish 1st easily.

Group B is an interesting and tough group to predict. I find none of these teams are actually going to have any chance. Nigeria to go top ever so slightly ahead of Argentina by the fact the coach knows what they are doing and has some sort of unity in the team. South Korea and Greece to head home early, for the simple reason they aren’t very good.

England’s group, and if they don’t get all nine points they should be sent home early anyway. So easy for them, and while USA might provide to be a potential banana skin, the opposition in Slovenia and Algeria are just, bad. How on earth did Algeria get in instead of Egypt is what I want to know. USA also comfortably in second, they aren’t too bad a team, but unlikely to make too much of an impact.

Any of three teams can finish second in Group D, and that is because I expect Germany to run away with it. Serbia, Ghana and Australia are all very similar teams and if two of them went out it would be a shame. I pick Serbia to finish second due to the fact I have a gut feeling about them, which probably means I will be wrong.

Group E features the Netherlands, who will be superior to any teams in this group. Fourth place will also be sorted easily by Japan, who, lets face it, despite making England look like schoolboys, aren’t that good. So the battle for second, and my prediction to make it on goal difference is Denmark.

Again, if Italy don’t get nine points here. And if New Zealand get a point, there will be celebrations because the tournament outsiders at 2000-1 are likely to be the tournament’s whipping boys. In second will be Paraguay, comfortably to a fairly average Slovakian side.

The so called Group of Death. In fact, I don’t think it will be. Brazil top, Ivory Coast second, Portugal third and North Korea fourth. In fact even more, I’d consider swapping Portugal and North Korea. Being unable to beat Cape Verde Islands (ranked 117th) doesn’t help. In all fairness, I have no idea what North Korea will be like, never seen them play, and I doubt the North Koreans will get to seem them either.

And finally, Group H. Spain always seem to be in the last group and as European Champions I fully expect them to brush aside the competition. The battle for second is going to be close, but despite Chile being a decent little team, I can see Switzerland squeezing through. Honduras, its great for them tat they are there, shame they probably won’t make an impact. Well, Wilson Palacios might.

In Brief…        
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Group A Mexico Uruguay France South Africa
Group B Nigeria Argentina Greece South Korea
Group C England USA Slovenia Algeria
Group D Germany Serbia Ghana Australia
Group E Netherlands Denmark Cameroon Japan
Group F Italy Paraguay Slovakia New Zealand
Group G Brazil Ivory Coast Portugal North Korea
Group H Spain Switzerland Chile Honduras

 

Second Round

Mexico v Argentina:  I mentioned before that Argentina under Maradona have no chance. Mexico are not a side to be under estimated as proven in some of their many warm-up games. Mexico to win 2-1.

Nigeria v Uruguay: Nigeria are a solid African team, no doubting that. Uruguay are a solid South American team. This game will be really close. Nigeria to go through on penalties.

England v Serbia: I like Serbia, I don’t care if they are 80-1 to win it. I think England will underestimate them and then simply get beat 1-0. Don’t be surprised if we get beat from them, I won’t be.

Germany v USA: USA are a decent team and even if Germany have the apparent backroom troubles, I can easily see them brushing off the Americans.

Netherlands v Paraguay: Although Paraguay are an underrated nation, I can’t see them outdoing the Dutch. 3-1 Holland.

Italy v Denmark: This in theory shouldn’t be too much trouble for the Italians, but I can see Denmark really going for it. Italy to scrape it in extra time.

Brazil v Switzerland: No contest here, Brazil to win and do it comfortably and in style.

Spain v Ivory Coast: This is a tough one to call as both of them are very strong teams, defiantly the tie of the round. Spain have the edge in this one as I feel that the team are much better as a whole than the Ivory Coast.

In Brief…    
Mexico 2-1 Argentina
Nigeria p1-1 Uruguay
England 0-1 Serbia
Germany 2-0 USA
Netherlands 3-1 Paraguay
Italy 2-1 Denmark
Brazil 4-0 Switzerland
Spain 2-1

Ivory Coast

 

Quarter Finals

Mexico v Serbia: I doubt you expected either of these teams to get this far, but the Serbians are strong and I do think they will smash the Mexican charge. Forza Serbia.

Nigeria v Germany: Germany easily, Nigeria are not as good to topple the strength of the Germans.

Netherlands v Brazil: What a game this will be. Two teams playing perfect football, it will go all the way, who will have the nerve at the end of it, the Dutch.

Italy v Spain: Another potentially cracker of a game. But again, I find Spain will have too much against a ageing Italian side, who will probably be at this stage be tiring and having a lot of fitness trouble. Spain will find them out towards the end of the game.

In Brief…    
Mexico 0-1 Serbia
Nigeria 1-3 Germany
Netherlands p2-2 Brazil
Italy 1-4 Spain

 

Semi Finals

Serbia v Netherlands: I like the Serbians, as you have probably guessed by now. But I do feel that they will be simply not good enough to beat the Dutch at this stage. All the energy will have gone from them by now. It won’t be a massive defeat, they’ll push them. But the Netherlands will be going to the final.

Germany v Spain: Germany haven’t had too much of a difficult run to this stage. However, their slightly weaker team and tensions in the background might be a problem against a very impressive Spanish team.

In Brief…    
Serbia 0-2 Netherlands
Germany 0-2 Spain

 

Final

The big one, the showpiece event after Germany beat Serbia in the 3rd place playoff. The Netherlands v Spain, what a game. Not like the usual dull finals, I can see this one being a fantastic game, it’ll be settled by a last minute goal… for the Netherlands! 3-2 win in the end.