GROUP C: The verdict

Argentina, Holland, Ivory Coast, Serbia & Montenegro: Group C is undoubtedly this year's group of death. Very tough to call, but that's what we've done…


1st Argentina Hugely talented (although if Messi is injured it will be a huge loss for them) and will be desparate to make up for abject failure in 2002. Every nation will fear the playmaking of Juan Riquelme (pictured) and the finishing of Carlos Tevez. As we said in their team guide, potential winners.

2nd Holland Young, inexperienced squad but they'll have loads of support – each of their group matches will feel like a home tie for the Dutch. May struggle against Argentina but should beat Serbia and the Ivory Coast.

3rd Serbia & Montenegro Robust defence is hard to score against. Could surprise people and nick the odd 1-0 win. Tough luck that they're in a nightmare group.

4th Ivory Coast I'm a huge fan of Arsenal's Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue, but the Cote D'Ivoire face three very difficult matches. I'd love them to qualify, but just can't see it. Plus no team containing Didier Drogba can be truly likeable.

So Argentina and Holland make it to the second round, to join Germany and Poland from Group A and England and Sweden from Group B. Stay tuned for the first of our Group D team guides, coming very soon (later today, in fact).

This is how the bookies (Blue Square) see the group. (Slightly surprised to see Serbia above Ivory Coast but then Serbia did qualify impressively and so deserve the 'dark horse' tag):

Argentina 11-10
Holland 11-8
Serbia & Montenegro 15-2
Ivory Coast 8-1

Tight at the top, no value there - if you rate the Ivory Coast, 8-1 is a decent price.