World Cup fever continues to build to a head leading up to Friday's big kick-off in South Africa.
With only a few days left before the opening round of matches begins in Johannesburg when the hosts take on Mexico, it's time to get off the fence and call the action.
Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the first round of group matches.
If you live on the West coast of America, you will have to stumble out of your bed at 4:30 in the morning to watch this game.
Even the 7:30 Eastern Time start seems a bit early on a Sunday morning.
But this uninspiring sounding Group C tie will be worth the bleary eyes as two teams with their eyes firmly on three points will attack one another with unexpected verve.
You won’t need coffee to stay awake for this one.
Apologies if it turns out to be a stinker.
Despite the constant ridicule of a baffled nation, Aston Villa’s Emile Heskey is a major part of England coach Fabio Capello’s plans.
The Italian sees the big forward as a perfect foil for his country’s star striker Wayne Rooney and the pair are likely to start together in England’s opener against the United States.
However, Heskey has barely turned heads for his club side this season and a poor performance against the U.S. will see him substituted for Peter Crouch.
Crouch will help England to a fortunate victory and Capello’s thinking about his preferred front two will start to change.
Every World Cup has its shocks and surprises and the 2010 edition will see the first of these on the opening day.
Granted, the Group A results might not register as shocks to compare with USA beating England in 1950 or Cameroon’s defeat of title-holder's Argentina in 1990.
However, a poor South Africa team’s spirited opener against a far superior Mexico will earn it a valuable point, thanks in part to the fanatical support of the home fans.
Meanwhile France will be lucky not to be on the receiving end of another opening day surprise to add to their 2002 defeat at the hands of Senegal.
Unfortunate Uruguay will be just denied a famous victory that will nevertheless give them confidence going into the rest of their Group A play.
In truth this is hardly a bold prediction, as Italy is traditionally a slow starter at the World Cup.
From the three draws that began their 1982 winning campaign to losing to Ireland at New York’s Giants Stadium in 1994, it generally takes the Italians a few games to get going.
Marcello Lippi’s men face their toughest Group F opponents Paraguay in their opening match in Cape Town.
Likely to be missing their principal creative midfielder Andre Pirlo through injury, Italy will struggle to score.
Fortunately, Italian defenses need no such settling time and an uninspiring draw is the likely result.
The South American qualifiers will start their World Cup with an exciting victory over Honduras in Nelspruit.
Despite missing star striker Humberto Suazo, Chile will put on a wonderful display of attacking football that will make household names of players like Alexis Sanchez and Matias Fernandez.
After scoring Spain’s opening goal in the 6-0 friendly defeat of Poland, David Villa is now only six goals away from becoming Spain’s all-time leading goal-scorer.
The record currently stands at 44 and is held by veteran Real Madrid striker Raul.
Spain will open their World Cup campaign against Switzerland in Durban and the new Barcelona striker will score.
This goal will begin his march towards the tournament’s Golden Boot and a Spanish record.
It seems everyone is complaining about vuvuzelas, whether they have actually heard a blast of South African football fan’s favorite instrument or not.
Already viewers at home are anticipating having to down the volume on their televisions.
Scientists have warned fans attending the games that the horn can damage their hearing.
But by the end of round one, the world will have grown to love the vuvuzela’s insistent blare, the sound of which will come to define the 2010 World Cup, much like blizzards of ticker tape did for Argentina in 1978.
With his first choice strikers—in particular Miroslav Klose—in poor form ahead of the World Cup, Germany coach Joachim Low will made a bold decision ahead of his team’s opening match against Australia.
With a tough group also featuring Ghana and Serbia, Germany do not have the luxury of giving the likes of Klose and Lucas Podolski time to find their best form.
So, Low will call on in-form striker Cacau to face the Socceroos in Durban.
The Stuttgart striker will reward his coach with goals and become an outside contender for the Golden Boot.
When Dutch winger Arjen Robben pulled a hamstring in Holland’s warm-up game against Hungary, the nation’s World Cup hopes were put on hold.
Subsequent scans have revealed that the Bayern Munich winger’s injury is not as bad as initially feared and he should play in South Africa.
He should definitely miss Holland’s Group E opener against Denmark, with his place on the right side of the Dutch attack filled by Dirk Kuyt.
The hardworking Liverpool player will actually strengthen coach Bert Van Marwijk’s side by helping out defensively, thereby bolstering one of the team’s weak points.
Holland’s other superb attacking players, such as Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Eljero Elia, will ensure that Robben’s creativeness is not a big a loss as anticipated.
There is no particular reason why the World Cup is being held in Africa will help the continent’s teams.
After all, Ivory Coast is as far from South Africa as it is from Germany where the 2006 tournament took place.
The chilly southern hemisphere winter will be settling over the country as the tournament kicks off and will contrast widely with the hot and arid climate of the three West African qualifiers.
Yet, the fact that World Cup is being hosted by the continent for the first time ever could give the African players a major psychological boost and increase their levels of pride and passion.
And after a good first round of games, in which all the sub-Saharan teams will get at least a point, Africa will start to believe that this time one of their own might win the World Cup.