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World Cup 2010: Groups F through H Preview

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Just one more day till the beautiful game starts. I've made a lot of predictions this year, and in my heart of hearts I know that all of this will be turned upside down on its head. All I hope is that RVP will play beautiful football and restore hope to the world, and Messi will show why he's called La Pulga Atomica (the atomic flea). Oh, and an African nation making it to the semi finals. Is that too much to ask? And while I'm dreaming, I want those sweet Africa Unity jerseys, that will be the third kit for all African nations. 

Group F (Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia)

Italy is one of those traditional powerhouses that play fundamental football, but their style of play is so boring and uninspiring, not to mention "dirty." They are very physical, yet have a penchant for "diving" like Vlade Divac. Their stars are on their last legs and even the talismanic Gilardino won't be able to save them from disgrace.  

Paraguay has an impressive frontmen in Oscar Cardozo and Roque Santa Cruz, who is also known as "the most beautiful footballer in the world." They've conceded 16 goals in 18, which means a defense that can be plowed through, nevertheless they have been blessed with an easy group to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

New Zealand qualified for the first time since 1982, but that will probably be the only silver lining for them this tournament. Teenager Chris Wood will make his world debut, and Ryan Nelsen, former DC United defender, will see to it that Gilardino and Roque don't score on them as much. 

Slovakia is a virgin to the World Cup, with their first ever appearance this year. Marek Hamsik is the breakout star of this story. I can't get enough of this guy, and yet after coming to my senses, I realize he won't be able to single handedly pull the team out of the group. But, that'd make for an awesome story wouldn't it?

In this weak group, the diving Italians and Paraguay will make it out. 

And finally, for those of you who are neutral v

Group G (Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal)

Brazil are the perennial favorites, even if they don't have marquee names of yesteryears. Plus, they have history behind them as a European nation has never won the World Cup outside of Europe. But look to a solidly defensive and "pass first" squad, with Maicon and Kaka delivering up the ball and Luis Fabiano poaching the goals. And on top of that, Julio Cesar is the best goalkeeper in the world, a first for Brazil.

North Korea's Jong Tae Se is also known as the People's Wayne Rooney. Kim Kum Il was AFC Young Player of the Year in 2007. But unfortunately that won't be enough for North Korea to win a single point in the group stage. After crashing out 0-3, will the North Korean team be hailed as heroes who fought gallantly against the West? Or, will they be sent straight to labor camps upon their return? And will they be televising the games in North Korea? Who knows, but look for an early exit against our brothers from the north. 

Ivory Coast has Didier Drogba, one of the best strikers in the game. They also have some quality players in Keita (Barcelona), Eboue (Arsenal), Kalou (Chelsea), Kolo Toure (Man City) and Yaya Toure (Barcelona). They have a very good chance of edging past Portugal for a berth to the second round. Now, only if Drogba's broken arm heals in time.

Portugal has the world's most well known player, Cristiano Ronaldo. Yet, their best midfielder Nani is injured and out of the tournament. Deco is a shadow of his former self and Meireles likes to score more than he likes to pass. Unfortunately, all the Ronaldo fans won't be seeing much of him, save for the first two weeks of the tournament.

Brazil and Ivory Coast will advance.

Group H (Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile)

Spain has the pressure of being the favorites, even though Vicente Del Bosque is trying to downplay that among his men. With a fluid passing style, and patience to wait for the right moment, Spain seems to be truly the team to beat. But, Puyol tends to lapse every now and then, and Sergio Ramos is their biggest liability. With so many superstars-Torres, Villa, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta, Xavi, and on and on-all with Spanish nationalities, it'd be hard not to choose Spain to lift the Jules Rimet. Olé!

Switzerland has one good striker, Alexander Frei. And he picked up a recent injury, putting his form in doubt. Other than that, ex-Arsenal man Senderos will provide muscle in the back and aerial bullying in set pieces. Behrami might do some good but in the end, the team will need to mature their youngsters for a stronger showing in the future.

Honduras appears in their second World Cup ever. Wilson Palacios is their best known export and he picked up an injury in a recent friendly.  David Suazo is a fan favorite but aging, and Pavon is practically an old timer at 37. 

Chile is clearly the favorites to advance to the second round with Spain. They have a solid team, with some key players like Matias Fernandez and Jorge Valdivia.  Unless Switzerland outperforms their own expectations, La Roja will make it through.

Spain and Chile will advance. 

And finally, for those of you who are neutral fans, consider yourselves lucky

Posted via email from Long Way Round


Written by shindz

June 10, 2010 at 3:49 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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