Sunday, June 6, 2010
The main fact.
A group with such diverse set of teams coming from 4 continental.
Coach : Diego Maradona
Appearances : 14
Best Result : 1978, 1986 Champions
FIFA Rank : 7th
Key : Mascherano, Kun Aguero, Messi.
No one can imagine a World Cup without the best player on planet, so welcome to Argentina that will kick the living daylights out of other contenders. They are so strong with lots of talent that hasn't seemed to live up to potential, including the phenomenal Messi being one of favorites for the Golden Boot. It would be quite a surprise if they don't make it through this group, so blame it to the antics of their coach. Undoubtedly Maradona was one of the greatest players in this business, but not so far as a coach. The Albicelestes struggled in qualification before finally finishing the fourth and final automatic qualification spot with 104 different players during that time. The team has individual talent to get out from all problems, but these matches may turn out to be more important on how to play as winning eleven for next level. Messi alone won't be enough, and we're not talking about Barcelona FC.
Coach : Otto Rehhagel
Appearances : 1
Best Result : First Round, 1994
FIFA Rank : 13th
Key : Kyrgiakos, Georgios Karagounis, Theofanis Gekas.
The hymn about Greece is a solid side that shocked the world with their European Championship 2004 tittles. Now they are back again with that song that is based on solid defenses and the 2010 edition no-different look including Otto Rehhagel. Their hope with Liverpool's Kyrgiakos is to keep things tight and try to score on the break from a set play while striker Gekas who scored a lot of goals than anyone else in Europe during qualification. The best chance for Greece is the way the schedule is set up, probably better off playing Argentina last. Since Greece without opportunity to over Argentina, better to leave it as last game rather than the 1st because that lose could affect their mental for rest of the round. Of course they need to get full points before that.
Coach : Lars Lagerback
Appearances : 3
Best Result : Round of 16, 1994, 1998
FIFA Rank : 21th
Key : Vincent Enyeama, Obafemi Martins, Aiyegbeni Yakubu.
They have so many young talents who have a lot of achievements to win the U-17 World Cup 3 times, plus they're playing in Africa for weather consideration. The Super Eagles is currently the second highest ranked African team and qualified for the World Cup without losing any game. They have a deep team with Enyeama in the net and improved defensively with lots of attacking talent who can compete with the big boys. Most of Nigeria's squad plays in Europe including Joseph Yobo, Kalu Uche, Yakubu, Obafemi Martins, and many more. But the Chelsea's curse has struck again with John Obi Mikel becoming the latest Blues player to be ruled out of the World Cup due to injury after Essien, Ballack, and Drogba. Pretty hard to predict how they will do it this time, if they can beat Greece in their second meeting again in the World Cup since USA 94, it would mean a lot.
Coach : Huh Jung-Moo
Appearances : 7
Best Result : 4th Place, 2002
FIFA Rank : 47th
Key : Park Ji Sung, Park Chu Young, Lee Chu Young.
South Korea sails through with high hopes and memories in 2002, but a coach Guus Hiddink played a major role in their success at that time. They struggled in qualification without defeat, but a return of just 12 goals in eight games seemed to find late goals in all their matches to assure victory. With a tight defense and speed offensive weapons, it will be at their best to have a chance of moving on. But only to score a goal or two in every games at international level, this will upset their squad to cope with the quality of other teams around them. Being top dogs in Asia is one thing, but competing against the likes of Messi or Yakubu will be too much for them.
This group has an interesting mix of teams, it has plenty potential to upset the teams that they have everything to play for. But it is very hard to see The Tango failing to win this stage, as the rest of this group is interesting in that all three clubs could ever finish. Nigeria doesn't appear to be what they used to though, and then there are two "dark horse" performances in international tournaments in the past.
Greece has never scored in World Cup and seems they are having a condition doing so again. Their playing of defensive tactics will work for a while but each of these teams especially Argentina and Nigeria have the players to find the net. South Korea will struggle against Argentina and Nigeria if they get draw result in the opening match with Greece. It would be a bad start and they could find themselves on an early plane ride home then. In these senses, Nigeria deserves the following Argentina into the round of 16. With the incredible opening match of Nigeria-Argentina in terms of exciting football, both of them will enjoy how to play to make the warming up.
MY ORACLE :
Argentina (7), Nigeria (4), South Korea (3), Greece (3).