The 2006 World Cup doesn't kick off until Friday, when host country Germany takes on Costa Rica, but Electronic Arts is already picking a winner for the finals.
Using the simulation engine in its multiplatform 2006 FIFA World Cup game, EA re-created the entire tournament, from the opening salvo of four-team round-robin groups to the July 9 World Cup final in Berlin. And according to EA's game, the winner will be the Czech Republic, rising to the occasion with a 2-1 victory over soccer powerhouse Brazil in the finals.
Not everything with the simulation went as one might expect. EA's tournament saw just one penalty shootout in the 64 simulated matches, Costa Rica making its best World Cup showing ever by reaching the quarter finals, and Italy and Portugal failing to make it out of the first round. The US team made it out of the opening round of group play, but no farther, as Brazil knocked them out of the tournament with a 3-2 victory.
For more FIFA World Cup action, come back with GameSpot Wednesday for a "friendly match," as GameSpot USA takes on GameSpot UK on the Xbox 360 version of the game. San Francisco-based editors Brian Ekberg and Justin Calvert will represent the stars and stripes as they take on an English team helmed by GameSpot UK hooligans Guy Cocker and Phil Elliott.
Rich Gallup and Jeff Gerstmann will call the action, so tune in on Wednesday, June 7 at noon PDT (8 p.m. in London) to see it all go down live. For more on 2006 FIFA World Cup, check out GameSpot's full review.