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The World Cup is almost here! So that you aren't caught flat-footed, we're previewing each group, in no particular order, to explain why your team has no chance to win (you'll thank us later). Today: Group A! If you have any thoughts on a particular group, send them to Operators are standing by.

Host nations have done historically well at the World Cup, so it's going to be hard to go against Germany emerging from Group A. But we will. Aside from Michael Ballack, Jens Lehmann and their crazie goalie, the Germans are an average squad, some say sub-par. Poland scored 27 goals in qualifying, second only to England, and opens against Ecuador, which should boost their confidence. At any rate the meeting between the two European teams should be interesting, considering the countries', um, history. The vital statistics:

• Group A: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Poland.
• Our pick to win: Poland.
• Which means the winner will probably be: Germany. (Both advance.)
• No chance: Costa Rica.
• Should be fun, except for the curses: Ecuador.