World Cup Preview: Groups C and D

June 5, 2010

Yesterday night, one of the ambassadors of college basketball, a mentor and idol to many, passed away. John Wooden was 99 years old. I won’t go into too much detail, because ESPNEWS has been covering the story the moment they received word that Wooden had passed away, but I will end this topic with a quote from Wooden himself: “Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.” Mr. Wooden, I think you’ll be fine in that regard. Rest in peace, Wizard of Westwood.

In other news, Garret Wittels, who I mentioned yesterday, continued his hitting streak, which now stands at 56 games. Unfortunately, he will have to wait until next year to continue it, as Florida International was defeated by Dartmouth today, and is now out of the tournament.

Now, for my Groups C and D preview.

Group C
Teams: England, United States, Algeria, Slovenia

Match to Watch
England vs. United States (Saturday, June 12th)

For U.S. fans, this is undoubtedly the biggest game of the World Cup. Not only is England the team to beat in Group C, but this is the first time that the rivalry with the team from “Across the Pond” has been played in 60 years. Supporters will get to see right off the bat how good the young, aggressive U.S. team really is. The game is just as important for England; losing to the United States would not sit well with the English faithful.

Player to Watch
Wayne Rooney, England

Okay, so if he doesn’t perform well, he probably won’t end up in a trailer park eating baked beans like the Nike commercial suggests. However, England’s chances of doing exceptionally well in this year’s World Cup do depend heavily on how Rooney plays. England is a serious contender to win their first World Cup in 44 years if Rooney is on his game.

Final Standings

1. England– Barring a colossal meltdown in one of their games, the only team in this group that will give England trouble is the United States.
2. United States– After the England game, they will need to stay focused and take care of business. Even a tie against Algeria or Slovenia could potentially mean that their fate rests in someone else’s hands, which is not ideal.
3. Slovenia– This team could sneak up on someone, as they have not really been receiving a lot of attention leading up to the tournament. Although they don’t have a lot of flashy players, they are a tough team and not an easy out.
4. Algeria– Algeria’s defense is questionable, which will probably hurt them when playing the likes of strikers such as Rooney and Donovan. However, they are also capable of scoring, and if an opposing team’s defense slips up, Algeria will capitalize on the mistake.

Group D
Teams: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

Match to Watch
Australia vs. Ghana (Saturday, June 19th)

This game will be extremely important, as it will probably determine who finishes second in the group. The crowd will be behind Ghana, playing on their home continent, which will make things difficult for the Socceroos. The last thing either team would want to do is lose this game, as it would put them in a very precarious position heading into the third game of the group stage. However, they will have to be aggressive, because a draw likely won’t put them in a much better position.

Player to Watch
Tim Cahill, Australia

On a defensive oriented team, Cahill carries the offensive load for Australia. He will play a significant role in determining how Australia fares, creating offensive chances for other players as well as himself. If he doesn’t perform well, it will be hard for Australia to score goals.

Final Standings

1. Germany– They aren’t the team that they would have been with Michael Ballack and Rene Adler, but they are still a talented team. They can’t take any of the other teams in their group lightly though; this is arguably the second toughest group in the World Cup.
2. Ghana– As mentioned earlier, the game against Australia will likely determine whether or not Ghana moves on. They will miss the leadership of midfielder Michael Essien (out due to a knee injury), but the combination of their aggressive play and the fact that they are on their own continent gives them the edge over Australia to move on to the knockout stage.
3. Australia– Australia is a very good defensive team, but that’s only half the battle. You have to be able to score too, and the offense is a question mark for the Socceroos. They must get something working on the offensive end if they want to move on.
4. Serbia– Looking to avenge their poor showing as Serbia and Montenegro in the last World Cup (they went 0-3), Serbia has experienced players such as Dejan Stankovic and will try to surprise someone in their group. No better place to start than their opening game against Ghana, where a win could open the door for them to advance.

– K. Becks

One Response to World Cup Preview: Groups C and D

  1. Mr Ezy on April 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Great post!

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