A few rules of thumb when picking your World Cup brackets:
* Spain always chokes.
* Mexico rarely gets past the 2nd round, even though they're good.
* France either does GREAT (making it to two of the last three final games, and winning one) or TERRIBLE (failed to score a goal in the entire first round in 2002).
* The USA alternates good and bad showings every World Cup.
1994: Okay. Second round.
So we're due for a good showing. (But I don't really believe it.)
* Brazil played in the final game of three of the last four World Cups. They won the two that were NOT held in Europe. This one is in South Africa.
* African teams look flashy but seem to flame out. European teams tend to do very well in Cups held in Europe but not as well in non-European host countries.
* The host country has made it to the second round of every World Cup. Will that streak end this year?
* During the build-up to a Cup, some unexpected national teams will inevitably look better than expected. But when it comes down to it, the same old usual suspects are mostly there at the end: Brazil, Germany, Italy, France, Argentina.