World Cup Preview: Groups A and B

June 4, 2010

The only news I have for you today before I begin my World Cup analysis is that the Division 1 College Baseball tournament has begun. The reason I bring this up is for two reasons; one is that I get the opportunity to attend some of the College World Series games this year, which is especially exciting because 2010 is the last year that the College World Series will be played at the famous Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. The other reason I bring this up is because the game that is currently on TV, Texas A&M vs. Florida International, features a player that is currently riding a 54-game hit streak. His name is Garrett Wittels, and he is only four games away from tying Robin Ventura’s record of 58 straight games with a hit, set back in 1987. FIU will have to win some games if Wittels hopes to break, or even tie, Ventura’s record, so it should be an interesting Regional to watch.

Now, the start of my World Cup preview.

Group A
Teams: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

Match to Watch
France vs. Mexico (Thursday, June 17th)

In Group A, this game could potentially decide who wins the group. Thierry Henry, the 2006 Footballer of the Year, will lead the French attack. Although Mexico does not have any real international stars, they have a solid attack led by Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Javier Hernandez. If both these teams can get a win in their first match, then this game will be the biggest game in the group.

Player to Watch
Luis Suarez, Uruguay

If Uruguay wants to make it out of group play, then this is the man who will have to step up. He is one of Uruguay’s top goal scorers, and when he isn’t scoring, he is helping create chances for other top goal scorer Diego Forlan. Uruguay is a hungry team, and if Suarez plays well, they have the ability to surprise some people.

Final Standings

1. France– The best team in this group, they will be able to handle South Africa, and even a tie with the other two teams should get them through to the next round.
2. Mexico– They are aging and injured, but they have the experience edge over a young Uruguay team.
3. Uruguay– They will be exciting to watch, but are going to have a hard time beating Mexico, which is what they will need to do if they want to move on.
4. South Africa– The host team will be extremely happy to be playing, but their chances of moving on are low in a group featuring three other very talented teams.

Group B
Teams: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece

Match to Watch
Argentina vs. Nigeria (Saturday, June 12th)

This game will likely determine who will win Group B. Unfortunately for the loser, it means that they will have to regroup and regain their focus, or else they could find themselves in big trouble. As far as soccer goes, this could be a high scoring game. Both Argentina and Nigeria have very good front lines, and Nigeria has had some issues on defense. Nothing like waking up to some high-octane soccer on a Saturday morning, right?

Player to Watch
Lionel Messi, Argentina

No surprise here. The 2009 World Player of the Year will be the most watched player in the group, and possibly in the entire tournament. He shouldn’t have trouble getting his team out of the group stage, but we’ll really see what he’s made of in the knockout stages, where he could potentially have a quarterfinals date with always tough Germany.

Final Standings

1. Argentina– Other than the first game, Argentina shouldn’t have too much trouble in the group stage. Diego Maradona may not be as talented a coach as he was a player, but pure talent should carry the Argentinean team into the Round of 16.
2. Nigeria– The Super Eagles (the nickname for the Nigerian team) may be the best hope for an African team to make it out of group play after injuries to Michael Essien and Didier Drogba hurt Ghana’s and the Ivory Coast’s chances. Their game against South Korea will be extremely important if Nigeria wants to move on.
3. South Korea– It’s hard to leave South Korea out, as they are undoubtedly the best team in Asia. However, it will be extremely hard for them to outplay a Nigerian team that is very determined to do well on their home continent.
4. Greece– If you go back and look at the group Greece was part of in order to qualify for the World Cup, you wouldn’t exactly be impressed. The surprise winner of Euro 2004, these guys will have one shot at qualifying for the next round; if striker Theofanis Gekas plays lights out for three games.

I am going to put up new polls every day so that the readers can vote on who they think will move on from each group. I’d also like to hear your comments about anything World Cup related, so you can either post a comment in the comments section, or email me at Thanks guys.

– K. Becks

One Response to World Cup Preview: Groups A and B

  1. Michael on June 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    thierry henry leading the french attack? kind of hard to do that on the bench. he's washed up as an international star… which is why hes heading to the MLS. just because he is famous doesn't mean he is good, which is why through two games he has totaled roughly 20 minutes, where he really wasn't a contributor

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