Vol. 5 Num 568 Sat. December 31, 2005  

Hosts optimistic about WC chances

Germans are becoming steadily more optimistic about their national side's chances at the World Cup with 39 percent of them now believing Germany can take the title, according to a survey released on Thursday.

But 58 percent of Germans still think coach Juergen Klinsmann's team will not win the trophy, Bildwoche TV listings magazine found in the poll conducted by Emnid on Dec. 16-17. However, optimism is far greater than in previous polls.

Only 18 percent of Germans thought the national side would be crowned world champions according to a poll conducted immediately after the World Cup draw on Dec. 9.

Two months ago, after a 2-1 loss to Turkey and an unimpressive 1-0 victory over China, only three percent of Germans backed the national side.

Bildwoche found women were more optimistic than men and that older people put more faith in Germany than the young.

According to online betting operator BetandWin, Brazil are favourites to retain the title they won by beating Germany in the 2002 final, followed by England, Germany and Argentina.

Trinidad and Tobago are rank outsiders at 1,000-1.