Tag Archives: Group G

South Africa 2010 round up so far and what’s still to come..


With just the final round of group games remaining there are only 90 minutes of World Cup 2010 left for half the teams. Lets take a look forward to the remaining games and reflect back on what’s happened thus far.

Anelka & Domenech -the men at the center of the French controversy

In Group A it would appear that both Uruguay and Mexico have all but secured their spot in the final 16  and a draw between the two of them tonight would see them both go through. However a draw for Mexico would see them finish 2nd in the group meaning a show down against Argentina in the next round – obviously not ideal, so it makes for an interesting final game and gives a glimmer of hope to both the rainbow nation and a largely underwhelming French side. For South Africa, it appears they will be the first host nation to fail to emerge from the group stages and for the French it would be a travesty if they actually scrape through. They have been beyond disappointing thus far and clearly their much publicised internal problems are effecting the performances on the pitch – there must be plenty of Irish fans around the world who cant help but smile – fair play I say!

The Webmaster suggests Mexico will have the goods tonight in a narrow win which will see them top group. Hopefully the narrow defeat will still leave Uruguay in 2nd spot leaving them the unfortunate task of facing Argentina. South Africa and France to draw sending the French team to their holiday destinations, where they clearly want to be, and leaving the South Africans to join the rest of the country in the stands; blasting on Vuvuzelas.

Maradona's faith pays off - Higauin hits a hat-trick against South Korea

Moving on to Group B Argentina are sitting pretty at the top of the group and as long as they avoid defeat tomorrow they will go through in first place. Two pretty solid performances so far see them on 6 points and gives them an opportunity to give some of the remainder of the squad a run out tonight. The Greeks face the tough task of needing at least a point from the game against Maradona’s men to stay alive. When you combine their inability to score with the class of the Argentinian outfit their chances look slim. It is also likely that South Korea will handle any fight from Nigeria and go on to win their final game.

The webmaster predicts Argentina will make light work of the Greek side, recording another win and topping the group on 9 pts leaving them to meet Uruguay in the next round. Whilst Korea’s victory will see them finish in second place and through to the final 16 to face off against Mexico.

Capello brings squad together - time to perform!

Group C appeared to be the easiest group of the lot and the fact the likes of England and the USA have struggled highlights the disappointing nature of the tournament so far. Admittedly USA were robbed of a victory against Slovenia, with an outrageous ruling out of a late winner – the ref had almost blown the whistle before the free-kick was taken. Unfortunately unlike the webmasters’ predictions, England have reinforced their status of chokers with two disappointing performances against USA and Algeria. Despite the poor performance so far, a victory against Slovenia will see them sneak through, so all hope is not lost. There also appears to be a rift in the English camp, a claim that the players have denied, but there is no doubt the pressure has mounted on Capello and his men and they certainly need to turn it around against Slovenia.

The webmaster suggests that both England and USA will pull of a victory in their final game leaving USA in 1st place ahead of England on goal difference – meaning England will face the tough task of Germany in the next round.

Have we seen Harry for the last time?

Mathematically anyone in Group D can still make it through, making for a very interesting last round in the group. Germany started off so well with a convincing victory over Australia but were then shocked in the second game by a determined Serbian side who managed to pull off a very unlikely victory, especially after a poor performance against Ghana. Australia have been on the receiving end of two arguably harsh red cards that has put a massive dent in their world cup campaign. After a disappointing effort in the first game they came out against Ghana with a bang. Everything started so positively and grabbing an early goal put us right back in the mix, but Kewell’s red card and the resulting penalty really put us under the pump. In all fairness Australia still deserved to win the game and really did a fantastic job with only 10 men for such a long period – if only Wilkshire actually tried to score instead of passing to the keeper, things could have been very different. Personally the webmaster felt Ghana were very disappointing – surely they had to try and go for the win against a 10 man Aussie team especially knowing a win would have secured their spot. They now face the task of coming up against Germany in the last game.

Based on the performance against Australia, the webmaster sees Germany recapturing the form they showed in the first game and brushing aside Ghana with ease. This will leave qualification open for Australia to pip both Ghana and Serbia at the line. The webmaster cannot decide between a draw or Australian win, but either way it will then come down to goal difference for the team in 2nd and 3rd.

Sneijder Celebrates after scoring against Japan

Moving on to Group E: we see the Netherlands who are one of only two teams that have already booked their spot in the  final 16 – along with Brazil. The dutch have had two solid performances but have definitely not hit full tilt just yet and will be banking on the return of Arjen Robben to spark some more life into the side come the knock-out stages, if not against Cameroon. Japan and Denmark face off in their last group game which could prove to be an exciting one with the winner going through. A draw would send Japan through most likely in second spot as long as Holland can secure at least a point against a Cameroon side that hasn’t really turned up.  Cameroon are already knocked out of the tournament after two lacklustre performances against Denmark and Japan and are just playing for pride against the Netherlands in the last game.

In the view of the webmaster Netherlands will progress in first place after another victory over Samuel Eto’s Cameroon, setting up a likely round of 16 battle with defending world champions Italy. Japan should be able to at least draw their game against Denmark which will see them against Paraguay in the next round.

Something tells me we wont see this again - thank god!

In Group F we have seen Paraguay almost sew up their spot in the final 16 with impressive performances against Italy and Slovakia. In their final game they are coming up against a resilient New Zealand  team who are determined not to lose, however as long as they avoid defeat they will go through in first place. Captain Ryan Nelsen has proved a colossal force at the back for the All Whites making them very tough to break down. Incredibly, if New Zealand could pull off another draw as well as Italy drawing with Slovakia with the exact same result the decision of who goes through will come down to a drawing of lots!!! This is because New Zealand and Italy will be tied on points, goal difference, goals for, goals against and the result between them was a draw – ridiculous but here’s hoping!  Alternatively if New Zealand win they will go through anyway. The current world champions, Italy, have been a massive let down so far in a world cup which has highlighted below par performances from some big teams. They have been highly unconvincing but will still get through with a victory over Slovakia in their final game. For Slovakia their is a glimmer of hope, should they beat Italy they will progress alongside Paraguay.

Whilst the webmaster would love to see 0-0 draws in both games so we can draw lots to see which of New Zeland and Italy will go through (you know you want to see that!), it appears unlikely and if it happens both games would be rather boring. Rather the webmaster suggests Paraguay will beat New Zealand and Italy will beat Slovakia sending Paraguay to meet Japan in the next round and Italy to face off against Holland.

Portugal celebrate one of their seven goals

Moving on to Group G, where we have Brazil who have already qualified for the round of 16 but could lose out on first place if they lose to Portugal in the final game. Brazil overcame a very determined North Korean outfit in their first game before a more convincing display against Ivory Coast in the second game. They will however be without Kaka in the game against Portugal after a sending off on the back of a ludicrous second yellow late in the game against Ivory Coast. Whilst Kaka has been largely disappointing thus far, his presence will still be missed. Portugal on the other hand started quite poorly against Ivory Coast, where they barely posed an attacking threat, but lifted to another level last night as they humbled North Korea in an embarrassing 7-0 victory. They were simply electric once they got going last night in a performance that has seen them almost guarantee a spot in the next round. Even if they lose to Brazil in the final round it would take a huge win for Ivory Coast over North Korea to swing the goal difference back in their favour. Ivory Coast had started so well against Portugal and in the view of the webmaster were unlucky to not come away with 3 pts from the game. A disappointing result against Brazil coupled with Portugal’s massive win last night has virtually put an end to The Elephants’ campaign. North Korea are already knocked out of the world cup  and will be determined to show their worth against Ivory Coast in their final game.

The webmaster feels the Portugal/Brazil game could be too close to call and could possibly end in a draw which would suit Portugal as I’m not convinced either will want to win, with the reward for coming first, a showdown with pre-trounament favourites, Spain, in the next round. Ivory Coast should have the goods and defeat North Korea but will still bow out due to goal difference.

Gelson Fernandes celebrates a shock winner against Spain

Finally, Group H is left in quite an interesting position. Chile currently sit top of the group with 6 pts, but are still a chance to miss out on the knockouts. They come up against Spain in the final game where a single point would confirm top spot for the Chileans. For Spain it is virtually a must win game as if they fail to win and Switzerland can secure victory over Honduras, the pre-tournament favourites will be on their way home. In what has been the upset of the tournament, Spain managed to lose their first game against Switzerland. They dominated possession but just could not manage to put the ball in the net. A comfortable 2-0 victory last night over Honduras has put them back on track, but Chile pose much more of a threat and Spain will need to step it up quite significantly to secure 3 pts. For Switzerland last nights result was a disappointing one however a victory over Honduras by 2 goals or more should send them through irrespective of the result in the other game. Mathematically Honduras could still go through in 2nd spot should Chile beat Spain and Honduras pull off a big victory over Switzerland, although it appears unlikely.

The webmaster suggests that Spain will overcome Chile in the final game and that Switzerland should also beat Honduras in their final game which will leave Spain, Chile and Switzerland all tied on 6 pts. This will then come down to goal difference to work out who finishes 1st and 2nd. If both Switzerland and Spain win by 1 goal that would see Spain top the group on a better goal difference with Chile and Switzerland tied on goal difference, goals for and goals against and Chile would go through due to their result between each other (1-0 to Chile last night). Leaving Spain to face Portugal and Chile to face Brazil in the next round – PS I might have got this wrong.. feel free to let me know if I have!

So despite some uninspiring games so far we are getting towards the business end of the competition and hopefully that will bring about a more attacking brand of the beautiful game, more like what we got to see last night from Portugal. The webmaster just has three requests for the remainder of the world cup:

  1. the ref’s stop being so trigger happy or rather whistle happy – we have seen far too many yellow cards, some resulting in red cards for really poor decisions
  2. no more diving – I’m so sick of seeing these prima donna’s diving around for absolute rubbish, its plain embarrassing and brings a lack of class to the game we love so much – the webmaster would love to see a straight red card be given for diving, if we impose that for a few matches diving will never be seen again!
  3. no more complaining about the damn ball – it’s a ball, it’s round –> KICK IT! preferably into the goals..  if you’re a keeper –> CATCH IT OR STOP IT! quite simple.

Laughable..

Webmaster over and out.

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World Cup Preview – Group G – Group of Death


Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire), Brazil, Portugal and North Korea make up the penultimate group in our arduous journey through the 32 sides.

North Korea

North Korea’s qualification for South Africa has added plenty of flavour and “combustability” to the Finals. Derided as world cup strugglers, the hapless Koreans are a strange and slightly ironic inclusion in the Group of Death. The fact that censorship in North Korea is so tight, so that the population will apparently be led to believe that they will win the trophy, no matter what, means that their draw in the hardest group of the lot is largely irrelevant.

They’ve appeared once before (’66) and reached the quarter finals that time, but if that happened in 2010 I’ll shut down the blog. Kim Jon II is arguably their biggest asset and there are widespread rumours about collusion and corruption following the side everywhere. When Yong-Jo said yesterday that he’d score in every game, it was apparently a political stunt. (Confirm someone…) Their best player is Chong Tese (in Japan), or Jeong Dae Se (in Korea). Think that’s confusing? Well: he was born and raised in Japan to South Korean parents, and there are plenty of rumours that he was forced to pledge his allegiance to North Korea. If that’s all too much, then don’t worry, just know that he’s their best attacking weapon and is labelled the Asian Wayne Rooney somewhat ridiculously. Chloe Kum-Chol is apparently not a girl, and is also apparently a young Christiano Ronaldo in the making. (I can’t believe I’m reading this stuff either)

The Koreans don’t take embarrassment too well, and will be the only country without a live telecast. All the games will be edited and then shown, which will leave many nationals wondering why only around 10 minutes of the Brazil game makes it onto the broadcast. Previewing this side is downright difficult, but what was I expecting! From what I’ve read, they’re defensive bullies (sounds about right). They’ve had a less than ideal preparation as they tried to name a striker as a 3rd choice keeper, only for FIFA to rule that he’ll have to play as keeper. Hopefully they’ll test this ruling in the opening game, otherwise they won’t feature in too many highlights reels.

ps It’s worth mentioning that their 5 – 3 loss, after leading 3 – 0, to Portugal in the quarter finals of ’66 was one of the best world cup games ever. If you’re looking for an exotic?

Brazil

The Brazilians have surprisingly snuck under the radar somewhat. The only reason they’ve hit the headlines has been their strong criticism of the Jubalani (that’s the ball). In general this treatment from the media seems fair. Despite recently overtaking Spain as the number 1 ranked side, on paper the Brazilians lack any genuine superstars that they usually bring to the table. Sure, they have plenty of quality, but we’re automatically comparing them with the top 2 or 3 sides. It’s a given that they’ll feature deep in the finals, and a semi final showdown with Spain is a mouth watering clash.

It’s strange to talk about a Brazil side that could struggle for goals, but that’s the case in 2010. An outstanding goalkeeper, outstanding defence, and impressive midfield is coupled with a stuttering forward line. Robinho, however, has showed solid form recently after returning to Brazil clubland and he’ll hold the key for Brazil. If Robinho fires, then they will be nearly unstoppable. Maicon, Julio Cesar and Kaka are also three of the best footballers going around and fitness concerns over the latter two must be giving their coach Dunga a splitting headache.

They’ve got a terrible draw, but realistically there wouldn’t be a group that they weren’t favourites. Fortunately for them, they face the Portugese last, so they’ll be looking to wrap up qualification with wins against North Korea and the Ivorians before that. If the Portugese need a win to qualify it could be an interesting scenario. Be wary of tipping against the Brazilians until they reach Spain, where you may as well flip a coin. It is worth noting that the South Americans have embarked on a tour of Africa and performed dismally against sub-par opposition. But they only need to be ready come knock out phase. While they may not look the dominate side of yesteryear, write them off at your own peril. Last time they fell at the quarters, so they’ll have revenge on their minds…

Portugal

The Portugese were ranked 9th at the draw, which meant that which ever group they were lumped into would almost automatically be labelled the group of death. They’re a side who are coming to the end of a golden era that failed to produce any major titles. The side features a new breed of Portuguese, and expectations aren’t particularly high. Their dour goalless draw with Cape Verde, no less, would not have done much to instil confidence. They do have Ronaldo, and any team with a superstar of his quality will be dangerous.

In the past, they’ve been teased as magazine cover boys, but the perennial under achievers won’t play with quite as much flair as usual in South Africa. It’s worth mentioning Carlos Queiroz who is considered one of the game’s finest tacticians after being a long term understudy at Man United. Much of their inspiration will be source elsewhere, however, and Ronaldo will be the talismanic figure for the Portugese. Another outstanding club campaign, just about all that’s left for the superstar is an international trophy. Football’s pretty boy is a renowned diver and tantrum thrower, so hopefully he won’t be any distraction to the cause. Many pundits have recently argued that the emergence of Messi as the game’s numero uno, has let Ronaldo concentrate of his feet, rather than his hair gel, and passthesugar would have to agree. Single handedly getting his side to the semi finals would just about confirm his legendary status in the game.

The Portuguese have a tough group and a tough knockout phase future. Even if they slip into 2nd spot, they’ll face the daunting Spaniards in the 2nd round. They’re not genuine dark horses anymore, as the world knows their potential, and so they could struggle in 2010.

Cote d’Ivoire

Everyone’s 2nd favourite side have once again been lumped into the group of death. After their debut on the world stage saw them with a near impossible draw (Netherlands, Argentina and Serbia/Montenegro) they’ve been hard done by once again. Their match up with the Portuguese could be one of the matches of the tournaments. They breezed through qualification, with just the 1 draw and wins for the remaining games, and look the strongest African side in the home continent. The World Cup is begging for a decent run by an African side, but it looks a little tough for the Elephants.

The orange clad players have more quality than usually present in African nations. They’re still the only nation to have never been shut out in a World Cup match – firepower is their biggest asset. Didier Drogba is another legitimate superstar to grace Group G, but recent injury concerns over a broken arm are threatening his participation. I’m a little over reporting injuries, so I’ll leave it to: Drogba = awesome, Drogba = score from anywhere, With Drogba, Ivory Coast = outstanding side! The remaining players still offer plenty of talent. There’s a underlying Arsenal theme running through the squad – the North London scouts must have taken a fancy to the African nation, as the Toure brothers, Eboue and now Gervinho have all been courted by Arsene Wenger. Besides these world class midfielders, they possess Solomon Kalou of Chelsea who managed to crack Ancelloti’s starting line up deep into the campaign.

With Drogba in doubt, Seydou Doumbia is his likely replacement, and has the chance to etch his name into several big club’s wanted list. He hit the back of the net 30 times in only 29 appearances for The Young Boys (an awesome name for an awesome club) and will look to step up in the captain’s absence. The major worry for the side is the keeper Boubacar Barry, who has been described as “error prone” in just about every article on him I’ve care to read. It’s a shame that they can’t produce a decent shot stopper. Gaffer, Sven-Goran Erikkson, has hardly covered himself in glory with his recent managerial appointments, but still charges some of the biggest fees going around. Hopefully all the money isn’t being poured down the drain and he crafts the unstructured African way into a tactical masterplan. (Doubtful)

Without Drogba, they’re destined for 3 and out, but with him in the side, PTS was tipping a surprise quarter final appearance. Morale is said to be low, after crashing out of the African Nations Cup at the quarter final stage. Either way, they’ll struggle to get beyond the 2nd round. They’ll have to come back in 2014 and just hope for an easier draw.

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