World Cup Preview: Groups E and F

June 6, 2010

In today’s news, Rafael Nadal won his fifth French Open by defeating Robin Soderling of Sweden. Soderling beat Nadal at last year’s French Open, so this is actually bigger news that most would think (in other words, Nadal was not the hands down favorite in this year’s match). It is clear that Nadal is healthy now, which raises the question “can he challenge Federer at Wimbledon?” The answer to that question will come in a few weeks, when that tournament begins. As for the Memorial Tournament, the fan favorite and always colorfully dressed Rickie Fowler couldn’t quite pull off the win. It was a valiant effort however, and he made sure that people will know his name from here on out with his great play this weekend, as well as his unique wardrobes throughout the tournament.

Now, onto my World Cup Groups E and F preview.

Group E
Teams: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

Match to Watch
Netherlands vs. Cameroon (Thursday, June 24th)

With Dutch star Arjen Robben’s health now in question, this game could be huge. The Netherlands are favored to win this group, but without a healthy Robben, it gets a lot more interesting, with both Cameroon and Denmark capable of pulling off an upset against the Dutch. Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o makes everything exciting, and without Robben, the Dutch give away an offensive advantage that would make them the overwhelming favorite in this game.

Player to Watch
Samuel Eto’o, Cameroon

Eto’o is good, and he knows he’s good. He will demand the ball in lots of key situations, and for good reason. He is the top goal scorer on the team, and is one of the best strikers in the world. If his team can get him the ball with room to work, then he will definitely produce some goals worthy of ESPN’s highlight reel. Cameroon needs Eto’o to do well if they want to advance to the knockout round.

Final Standings

1. Netherlands– Whether or not Robben will be one hundred percent healthy is pure speculation at this point. With that being said, the Dutch are still the favorites to be atop the standings at the end of group play.
2. Cameroon– Cameroon has the potential to do very well in this year’s World Cup, but they also could perform very poorly. Playing on their home continent will be a boost, but they will need Samuel Eto’o to score goals and hope that the defense doesn’t give up too much.
3. Denmark– The Danes play a great team game. If their solid defense is too much for Eto’o and Cameroon to handle, then they have the possibility of moving on in this group instead of the Indomitable Lions.
4. Japan– Japan will need to hope that someone steps up as a scorer, because as of now, they don’t have a go-to guy. With scoring happy Cameroon and the Netherlands in their group, it may be hard for Japan to keep up.

Group F
Teams: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Match to Watch
Italy vs. Slovakia (Thursday, June 24th)

It’s the old vs. the new. Italy is likely the strongest team in this group, but is an older team. Slovakia is composed of young, quick players who will be energized in every match they play. This is the third game for both teams, so it’s possible that Italy may want to rest its veteran players, giving Slovakia a chance to make this one interesting.

Player to Watch
Daniele De Rossi, Italy

There are no real “global stars” in this group, so taking one of the best players on arguably the best team in the group will usually give you a decent player to watch. De Rossi will create the chances that Italy’s forwards get, and considering the opposition he will face, he may look better than he really is by the time the Round of 16 is set.

Final Standings

1. Italy– The Azzurri aren’t the team they were in 2006, but they are still good enough to make it out of this relatively weak group. They will likely play around with their line-up a bit, because they still need to find answers to a few questions if they plan on making a deep run again.
2. Paraguay– Slovakia could be tough, but Paraguay should be able to move on. They are a tough, physical team, and will look to intimidate the young Slovakian team into making mistakes.
3. Slovakia– In four years, this team could be serious contenders at the World Cup. However, for now, their players lack the experience to move on to the next round. They will be an exciting team to watch, though.
4. New Zealand– They should just be happy to be in the World Cup. If they get more than one point in this World Cup, they should be commended for an outstanding effort.

– K. Becks

2 Responses to World Cup Preview: Groups E and F

  1. Matt on June 6, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Nadal is number 1 in the world with the win, showing he is in great health and should contend well against Federer in any match, clay or not.

  2. K. Becks on June 7, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I completely agree with you. A Nadal vs. Federer final is very possible at Wimbledon, and could be just as exciting as last year's final.

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