Match 1 (Winner Group D vs Runner-up Group C)
Australia vs USA
Although never really considered a leading military nation, the Aussies have more than made up for the fact that they are usually about as far from any wars as you can actually get, by being pretty hard and supremely determined. But what you probably didn't realise is the fact that Australia has the 14th highest annual military spend in the world, racking up 24 billion dollars worth of spending. Now, considering the Australian population is only about 22 million, that means close to $1000 per person is spent on defence. Tax in Australia must be pretty vicious!
Now, in most cases, just that military spend alone would be enough to see the Aussies through to the next round of the competition. But unfortunately they have found themselves coming up against the last real military world power (in this competition at least - note to self - in four years time its worth keeping an eye on China). Because the US shell out a mere $663,255,000,000 a year. That is six hundred and sixty three billion, two hundred and fifty-five million dollars! Which is just unbelievable. Assuming a US population of around 305 million, that works out at over $2000 spent on defense per person per year. Over double what the Aussies spend.
Now, whether the US spend is actually used as wisely or effectively as the Australians use their military budget is debatable. Its all very well building Stealth bombers that are more expensive than their actual weight in gold, but when it really gets down to it I would probably prefer to be with a bunch of diggers than a bunch of Americans. Unless the Americans are providing air support. In which case I want to be as far away from there as physically possible.
Although I would love to see David beat Goliath, I simply can't see the plucky Aussies having enough to hold off the might of the American Army. Sorry blokes - its time to stick some shrimps on the BBQ and console yourselves with the fact that you are the best in the world at Rugby and Cricket...
COM 64 B-2A Spirit Units in Combat
CAM 80 Tobruk
USA storm through to the next round. Despite the fact that their military leaders would all rather be touring with Green Day. And are terrible at predicting the future. Obviously something wrong with their McChrystal balls. (I apologize for that horrendous pun . Ed)
Match 2 (Winner Group B vs Runner up Group A)
South Korea vs South Africa
The battle of the Southerners. I am not sure about the need to have directions in the name of your country is necessarily a good thing. The East Germans seemed to think it was a terrible idea and got rid of it. So did the West Germans. East Timur also dropped their directions - although admittedly that is probably down to the fact that Timur actually means East, and East East is a silly name for a country. South Korea might have a bit of an excuse - because there is a North Korea (more on them later) but I don't think South Africa have a leg to stand on. There are no countries called North Africa are they. Dropping the 'South' could be problematic, and I am sure the other nations in the continent wouldn't be too pleased for a country to call itself Africa.
Semantics aside, this is a really tough match up to call. In a way I hope that South Korea creep through, just to keep my dream of a South vs North match a possibility. But on the other hand the South Africans do have a proud history of upsetting the odds in military matters. The Boers taught the British a lesson. The Zulus taught the British a lesson. Sure, the Brits came out on top in the end, but lets be honest, there wouldn't be a South Korea today if the UN didn't step in to lend them a hand.
One aspect that is worth taking into account is the ability of the civilian populations to defend themselves. For years South Africa has been portrayed as one of the most dangerous places on earth. Although given the choice, sitting in a vineyard in Cape Province sounds much nicer to wandering through Baghdad, or Palestine, or Oxford on a Saturday night...
To combat the crime in South Africa, over 3 million people have licensed guns (according to what I am sure are very accurate internet statistics). A militia built up around 3 million gun toting South Africans could be rather intimidating. And if that doesn't work, they could just vuvuzela you into submission. Talk about weapons of mass destruction...
South Korea charge through to the quarter finals. South Korea spends huge amounts of money on it's military today. Probably because they are perpetually on the edge of launching into a war with their northern neighbours. Decades of their military being on high alert has probably led to many a frayed nerve, but ultimately the state of constant readiness will also give them an edge over the South African military which seems to have been on an extended holiday for the last 15 years or so. Its all very well and good having a rich military history, but if you let your armed forces simply go to fallow you are hoing to struggle in the long run!