Group A is the tournament’s Group of Death (and where is that term more meaningful than in a crime-fiction competition?)
For South Africa, Roger Smith, Deon Meyer, Margie Orford, Richard Kunzmann, James McClure (no one said the players had to be alive), Michael Stanley and Jassy Mackenzie head a lethal group of strikers that could be deep for years.
The French have Dominique Manotti, Fred Vargas and Tonino Benacquista in a midfield that plays a less attacking style than the vuvuzela-tooters but is capable of deadly surgical strikes.
France could wangle for Yasmina Khadra on its side, too, though he could make a dangerous striker for Algeria in Group C.
In Group D, Peter Temple, Shane Maloney, Leigh Redhead, David Owen, Chris Nyst, and Adrian Hyland are just a few of the names on an Australian side that is a strong dark-horse contender, just as the Socceroos were in the real World Cup – at least until the competition started. (Temple, by the way, was born in – you guessed it – South Africa.)
Italy has Group F wrapped up, and I'll tab New Zealand to sneak into the knockout stage.
The Netherlands and Japan should fight it out in Group E of the Crime Fiction World Cup, hampered only by the fact that their stars, Janwillem van de Wetering and Seicho Matsumoto, are both dead.
England and the United States could make some noise in Group C.
Who do you think wins the 2010 World Cup of Crime Fiction?
© Peter Rozovsky 2010