Saturday, June 5, 2010

South Africa 2010 – Group A:


It's time to countdown in the direction of World Cup, the biggest sport party on planet earth, especially with the event being played on the continent of Africa for the first time ever. Once again, 32 nations will compete for the chance to win in the big drama, starting with my humble predictions for each group, then for the subsequent knock out rounds if it's possible (according to my routine schedule). As for the objectives, let's start in alphabetical order :

Coach : Raymond Domenech
Appearances : 12
Best Result : 1998 Champions
FIFA Rank : 9th
Key : Gourcuff, Malouda, Anelka.

As the highest rated team in this group, French squad combines with veterans supplemented by coming talents. Debutant for both Anelka and Gourcuff in World Cup finals represent a veteran figure and a rising star. French has been vulnerable in qualification, finishing second to Serbia and forced to play in a playoff to make the world cup. France escaped to South Africa with 'hands of fool' of Thierry Henry over Ireland, sounds not good enough for the old giant with tons of talent and experience. But still, if they could play by 'business as usual', it will be ok to step ahead and deal with Nigeria or South Korea in the Round of 16. Not so bad circumstance without Nasri and Benzema.

Coach : Javier Aquirre
Appearances : 13
Best Result : Quarterfinals 1970, 1986.
FIFA Rank : 17th
Key : Marquez, Dos Santos, Carlos Vela. 

The conundrum squad which qualified themselves in five consecutive tournaments since 1994 but it always to end up in round 16. Mexico always seems to get passed by the Group stage and they embarrass Italy 2-1 in recent friendly match. With the experienced Marquez as a skipper to anchor talented youngsters, Dos Santos can control to assist Carlos Vela to convert a lot of goals, Mexico looks easy to continue their group success stage. They will achieve possible quarter finalists to dispose any of those three nations in Group B, but might also become a final match against the Argentines, like it was in the 2006 World Cup.

Coach : Carlos Alberto Parreira
Appearances : 2
Best Result : 1st Round 1998, 2002
FIFA Rank : 83th
Key : Pienaar, Aaron Mokoena. 

As the lowest ranked in group, South Africa qualified as the host of World Cup. Many believe that they would not have made it to the next level, however, no host has ever not made it to the knock out stages. Historically, the host team tends to advance quite well into the rounds such as Japan and South Korea in 2002. There is something odds about playing for home stadiums that cause the teams to over achieve with the 12th player. With Everton's Steven Pienaar and Portsmouth's Aaron Mokoena as the captain, but the question is, “where would the goals come from without Benni McCarthy?” May be this time the host nation will be eliminated soon in the first round of the World Cup.

Coach: Oscar Taberez
Appearances: 10
Best Result: 1930 and 1950 Champions
FIFA Rank: 16th
Key: Caceres, Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez.

Uruguay has been the third best South American before teams of Brazil and Argentina as well-known rich soccer tradition country. They are qualified for the World Cup through the tough CONMEBOL tournament, lost only to Argentina and Brazil then defeated Costa Rica in the playoff. Long after they won the second World Cup in a half century ago, Uruguay does have a chance by having Juventus' Martin Caceres with the combination of veteran leaders Forlan and mixed with talented front line Suarez as duo bombers. They need to get enough supply of the ball from midfield which will be a big question for this team. Despite being drawn into the weakest of groups (Group A), the Uruguayans still don’t have an easy task dealing with last World Cup's runner-ups, France; and also the talented Mexican side.
 Exile on Main Street
How interesting to find out which team will be the winner of the group, because as a runner up will be eliminated at the hands of Maradona's hand. So the opening matches of South Africa x Mexico, and Uruguay x France will probably be the game with the most decisive results. It looks like that Mexico is unlucky gets into the first play game as South Africa will be hyped up. On the other hand, Uruguay plays with over confident but will end as a tie. In this situation, Uruguay and France have a big chance to drive Mexico and host to secure their positions.

However, I have a good feeling on Mexico can 'no problemo' to squash Bafana. It will be a good start for Mexico to lead the table and will keep on top with goal differential. To be or not to be, France or Uruguay will be in full force over Mexico since beginning.

Mexico (5),  France (5), Uruguay (3), South Africa (2).


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suwendra said...

El Tri shouldnt be considered as favorites, but I can see clearly now to change my mind.
According to your "key" about Dos Santos and Vela, both youngster started the early scoring with a beautiful ball into the box right to Carlos Vela past Gianluigi Buffon. Mexico beat the Azzuri would make us to believe in reality the youthful El Tri dominated an aging Italian team (almost similar with France).
Obviously, Mexico is a team on the rise and will be a serious opponent to others.

Costampla said...

In this group probably favorites are France and Mexico, but Uruguay has a interesting team who cans to be a surprise (Forlan can decide matches). I think Sudáfrica isn't a serious opponent for the other rivals.


@Suwendra: Mexico has good traditions in World Cup, as well as convincing in qualified. Now they have Marquez and Dos Santos (lent to Hotspur) of Barca, also Andres Guardado (Deportivo's midfielder) and Carlos Vela of Arsenal as a golden era. Having played against three top WC contenders from Europe, Mexico finally showed some poise with youthful promise up front. They deserve more this time, their golden era.

@Costampla: As I said, Uruguay has big chance in first match against France. If they loose, probably hard to chase Mexico then. Absolutely agree about Forlan, he's the one to mess Liverpool and Fulham in European's stage. Hope he can attract something with his colleague.

Anonymous said...

The only reason Bafana in the tournament period is because they are hosting, no more. Lucky if they'll pick up any points. France have clearly the best squad and best international reputation, picking them first is a given.
Mexico is a historically team that unlikely to advance out of beyond 16's round, but they learn so much also with Uruguay. The winner will decide on goal differences : 1.France, 2.Uruguay, 3.Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Why underestimated South African, bro?
They should go to next round, look @ their uniform colors. Really groovy n it says a lot :p

Anonymous said...

very very interesting....

Anonymous said...

Their latest friendly match:

Uruguay - Israel (4 - 1)
Mexico - Italy (2 - 1)
France - China (0 - 1)
S. Africa - Denmark (1 - 0)


Never underestimated to South African, and yes they have 'groovy-soul' ehehee
And thanx for the warm-up result, let's see what happened then.

Anonymous said...

France go home first

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