Tuesday, June 8, 2010



Mexico edges out Uruguay... 2nd behind an under achieving French side. France is without a doubt the strongest team on paper but with a shaky qualification campaign which saw them into the cup by edging out Ireland after a Thirry Henry hand ball. They also had a poor 2008 Euro performance. I really think that these top 3 teams will compete for the 1st spot and Uruguay is possibly the worst of the 3 but what is sports without upsets? Uruguay might just turn a few heads thanks to Diego Forlan or flop due to the reliance on one player. If France shows up they should leave this group by the wayside but have been very inconsistent and as much as I dislike mexico they have impressed as of late and may make a run if things fall their way. Sorry South Africa... thanks for letting the world hang out for a bit.


I was only about to see a little chunk of the MEX v. RSA games and the 1st half of the URU v. FRA game and I'm going to not pass judgement on the Mexico game because I didn't see enough of it... ALTHOUGH Mexico is going to have to step it up if they want to move on and South Africa is going to need to continue to feed off the crowd but I still don't see them getting results against Uruguay or France. In the 2nd game URU v. FRA was a horribly boring gridlock, I saw a little spark from Forlan and I think he is going to lead Uruguay into the round of 16 over Mexico... a little flip flop from my previous prediction... France is going to need to shake the cobwebs quick because Mexico played decently and South Africa is a sneaky side as we found out on opening day.


France is playing the worst football they have played in years. Uruguay is on the up and up. Although Mexico played well and deserved the 3 points I think this is a case of France losing and no so much Mexico Winning. A chip through ball undid the French defense who instead of playing football decided to put their hands in the air hoping for offsides... truly amateur. The 2nd goal came on a penalty shot after lazy slide tackle from Abidal. It may seem like a monumental result because of France's reputation but the side that Mexico beat June, 17, 2010 in Polokwane has no business being in the world cup. Uruguay is playing fantastic football and it will be interesting to see them play Mexico. Both coming off great wins and both beaming with confidence, personally I fancy Uruguay but that could just be bias.



The attack heavy argentina v the total defensive style of greece. Nigeria lacks the quality to advance out of this group and South Korea definitely can crack the top 2 but I think the story of this group will be how well Argentina can deal with the Greece defensive mentality. Argentina has an immense attacking presence with a little bit of a lacking defense, later in the tournament they might find themselves in a shootout with better teams so if they can get 3-4 goals against Greece they should be good against the top world teams but if they can only pull out 1-2 against Greece look out for a disappointing run. Argentina wont be as reliant on messi as some people may think because they have a wealth of other attacking weapons with Tevez, Milito, Di Maria, Aguero, and Higuain who beat out C.Ronaldo as the top scored at Real Madrid and was 2nd in La Liga to none other then Messi.


Argentina showed to be the class of the group by beating Nigeria is a dominating 1-nil win. Greece on the other hand showed to be the clowns of the group after a flop against South Korea. Argentina hit 20 shots and 8 of which came from little Lionel, on another day he might of had a hat trick. The potent Argentine offense which has a plethora of quality chances is going to need to convert, and I believe they will once they get the nerves out and move deeper into the tournament. I like this Argentine team a lot and I see them making it to the final and with a little luck adding a 3rd star to the team crest. South Korea played solidly but, was basically gifted the game after a few Greek defensive blunders. At the very least they should pull points against Nigeria and move into the round of 16.


Argentina explodes and Greece sneaks by. Argentina, the team I think will win the cup, exploded for 4 goal and a hat trick by Higuain. Higuain will get credit for the great feat but it would not have happened without Messi, Messi's second half shot hit off the post and bounced to Higuain for the easiest goal anyone could score and later in the came a brilliant chip ball to Aguero who then made a short cross into Higuain for his 3rd goal of the game and his 3rd goal from 6 yards out. Collectively the easiest hat trick anyone could have, sometimes its better to be lucky then good since he seemed to be in the right spot at the right time over and over again which in itself is a skill but one would be hasty to credit him with too much credit. Greece gets 3 points after Nigeria goes down to 10 men and a goalie mishap allowed to Greeks to go 2-1 up and steal all 3 points. I don't think Greece will get point against an Argentina side who is playing lights out, I see Argentina netting 2 or 3 and Greece lacks such firepower.



Our Group yyyyeeeeeAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!
Although the English media is weary of their sides chances in this years cup they are still a very good team with the ability to beat the best in the world. Rio Ferdinand won't be featured in the tournament because of a recent injury sustained during training which leaves some questions at the english center back position... but nonetheless a strong team. The US should be able to hold on to the 2nd spot without a problem but the US is more them capable of over taking England and winning this group. Even if the US move on we would have to face either Germany or Serbia ,most likely, out of group D which will be tough... Players to watch for the US :

1. Landon Donovan: The best player the US has ever had, a lot is on his shoulders this cup after a disappointing 2006 cup.
2.Clint Dempsey: He is a regular starter for the English side Fulham and will be pivotal to US success .
3. Oguchi Onyewu: Will he be able to shake off the rust from a recent injury and be what we expect from a 6'4'' center back?
4. Buddle and Altedore: What will this pair be able to do against the worlds top defenses? We know Altedore can use his size to fight of defenders and score but can Buddle replace the lost pace after Charlie Davis tragic accident took him out of the squad?
5. Tim Howard: The brick wall in goal for the US, we'll be looking at him to keep us in games especially if we move deep into the tournament.


How bout that!?! A big point for the States against the group favorites. To be honest, we got lucky. Capello was forced to take out Milner who was a joke in the first half and also had to take out King who has the chronic knee injury. Do I even need to mention Green's moment? Basically all 3 of England's question marks where answered poorly all to the pleasure of the US who escaped with a point. The US only true chance coming after Altedore's super run past Jamie Carragher which ending with a ball ricocheting of the post. the whole of the game seemed similar to the Spain game of a year ago where the US absorbed lots of pressure but was never undone... besides Gerrard's goal in the 4th minute of course. To me the US is a very solid side that lacks the dynamic edge that many of the world powers posses, little by little we are getting there. Perhaps in 10 years we can make that jump from 2nd tier to 1st tier world power :)


USA cheated and England not playing like England. Well... wow... not a goal? I was unaware Jim Joyce was calling the game. The US came out in the first playing and played well, I thought. Its hard to defend against a 25 yard super strike but Slovenia's goal was unacceptable. I point the finger squarely at Onyewu, he was 5 yard behind the rest of the defense holding Slovenia onside and allowing them to go 1 v 1 at goal. For the US to be successful Onyewu needs to but his tactics hat on and play like he knows what being a center back means. Onyewu was also off his line in the 4th minute of the England game and thats how Gerrard was able to slip in behind for the goal. Back to the Slovenia game, multiple times attackers where drifting away and from Onyewu because of his constant ball watching and lack of tactical awareness. He is a physically gifted athlete but needs to become more aware. Hopefully we can play the rest of our games the way we played the 2nd half of todays. England is similar to France because they are just not playing well as a team, so much talent but they are not meshing into a team unit. Its unfortunate for the English but certainly no one in America cares.

I prefer the Rolling Stones.



With the loss of Michael Ballack who was ruled out after an ankle injury with his club side... I give the 1st spot to Serbia, over Germany. Australia doesn't really have a chance in this group and after Mikael Essien was ruled out after an injury, Ghana will be making a short trip
home once the round of 16 starts. Look for Serbia to make a 2008 UEFA
Euro Russian run with the help of possibly the worlds best center back, Nemanja Vidic.
Also look for Branislav Ivanovic, Nikola Zigic, Milos Krasic, and Milan Jovanovic among others to make impacts.


Serbia let me down against Ghana going down 1-0 and Germany exceeded my personal expectations by beating up on the soccer roos 4-0 although 2 goals came after Australia went down to 10 men but this result was never in question, Germany practically man-handled the nation from down under. Basically to this point I got this group all wrong besides Australia being less then exemplary...

Serbia really let down against Ghana, I still believe them to be a side that could over looked and I would still fancy them to move deep into the knockout stage but Ghana still must play the aussies which at this point is an easy 3 points. This means that if Serbia is going to advance they would have to get all 3 points against the Germans which a week ago I would of said was possible because of the poor club seasons that many of the Germans had plus the loss of Michael Ballack (the German Captain) but I learned one this from watching the other days match... Never underestimate the Germans at a world cup. Since 1950 either Brazil or Germany (including west Germany) have not been in the final only twice. The Germans are just one of those nations with incredible world cup pedigree. Serbia looks to be done and Ghana now looks to be advancing.


Serbia with the win over Germany helping me out because I was thinking that my prediction that Serbia would win outright would be wrong. There's a chance I get it right, probably not though because Germany has a huge +3 goal differential in the bank. Germany and Serbia should get 3 points in their next matches advancing both sides into the knockout stages. Serbia slid by Germany after a card happy referee put Germany on 10 men and Podolski missed a penalty.



The orange men win this group hands down and Cameroon and Denmark will will battle it out for 2nd giving Japan an early exit. Denmark is a much better team then people think, they qualified over portugal and sweden. However, look for Cameroon to make perhaps a 2002 Senegal like run in a familiar African atmosphere.


After Cameroon surprisingly dropped points against Japan they will be forced to get points against Holland to have a chance of advancing, something I still think this team is capable of. The battle for 2nd is very much still open. I don't think Japan will get a result against Holland and if they don't get points against Denmark, they'll be done. At this point I think Denmark has the best chance to take 2nd because they have already played Holland but it will be impossible to predict who will advance after the Netherlands.



An aging italian side should win this group baring any mistakes and New Zealand, well maybe if this was rugby it would be a different story but they should be sent home without a fight. Slovakia v Paraguay will be the story of the group and I think that the loss of Canbanas and the struggling Roque Santa Cruz will prove to hold Paraguay back and allow Slovakia to move on. Look for Marek Hamsik ,the Slovakian, to make an impression this world cup tournament


Paraguay looked impressive against Italy and New Zealand's late goal secured them a single point. Not much to say about this group other then its still wide open, look for the 2nd games to be decisive.



The feared group of death may force North Korea out of the tournament with 0 points. Brazil for me is on top of everyone else in with world with Spain as being just a cut above, so they get the nod as the winners of group G. Portugal follows them in 2nd place because I find it hard to put any faith in a team whose fortunes rest on one player, Ivory Coast Didier Drogba. (Although I gave Cameroon 2nd place of their group, they wont have to face brazil and portugal like Ivory Coast does.) Portugal has more quality in other positions to back up their star Cristiano Ronaldo. If he has a poor performance other player will be there, Simao and Deco, also they have a strong center back pairing that may relive some of the burden on Ronaldo.


The samba is alive in South Africa. North Korea scored!?? after a cheeky touch to split the South American's defense the Asian aide put one in on 88 minutes. Impressive, however you don't get point for resiliency... With Portugal and Ivory Coast drawing 0-0 and assuming that both sides will get 3 points against North Korea, (its rumored the Koreans paid actors from china to act as supporters... what?) it will come down to what they can do against Brazil. Who will get the win against Brazil and move on? maybe Brazil loses both games and doesn't move on? Although the latter is unlikely all we know is one of these 3 powers will be sent home in about a week and a half time. Unfortunate...



This group is basically Spain... then the other 3. With that said Spain should win this group with no problem leaving the 2nd spot up for grabs. It could really go either way but I gave the edge to Chile because of Humberto Suazo who was the leading scorer in south american qualifying. Don't look for the 2nd place team to go far because they will be forced to play the winner or group G which could potentially be either Brazil, Portugal, or Ivory Coast.


Spain losses to the cheese. Chile out does Honduras. Without question the biggest surprise of the tournament was Switzerland beating Spain 1-0. The game was similar to when the US beat Spain last summer where Spain failed to score against a stern defense, then fell victim to the counter attack. This is Spain's 2nd loss in the last 48 or so games, I still expect them to advance and compete in the later stages of the tournament. Chile wins, Honduras was never really expected to do anything and will most likely leave with 0 points after seeing how Switzerland played and Spain will probably pull 6 points from the remaining 2 games.