Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Group B

Argentina – Argentina go into this World Cup as the overwhelming favorites in Group A. They are a trendy pick to win in all. You know they got the players – Messi, Tevez, Higuanin, Milito – but the questions center around manager Diego Maradona. I've heard of questionable and bad coaching before, but never have I heard so much about a coach being detrimental to his team before the games even start. Argentina will be an entertaining, interesting team to watch. Anything short of the finals will be a disappointment for them.

Player to Watch – Angel Di Maria – If the World Cup has the potential for being a coming out party for anyone it would be Benfica winger Angel Di Maria. He has been dominating the Portuguese League and European opponents in the Europa League. He is a more natural winger, so look for him to be providing tons of great balls and crosses to the big name strikers.

Nigeria – The Super Eagles are back in the World Cup after missing in 2006. The team is lacking the big names of the past and has shown inconsistencies in qualification and other international play. It's hard to say if there is a true "money" player on this team. The strikers are quality, but not fear inducing. The midfield is lacking a play maker like Jay-Jay Okocha in the past and Jon Obi Mikel will have to do more than just his holding role for Chelsea. Nigeria have always been an exciting explosive team, but this team may actually rely more on defense.

Player to Watch – Kalu Uche – Uche can support the strikers with a much needed goal scoring threat from midfield.

South Korea – South Korea are one of those teams benefiting from an easy qualifying road. You can pretty much write them in to every World Cup. In 2002 at home, they faired great, but that is really their only impressive result. They are not a team people will be scared of, but they do have the team play and experience to beat anyone on any day and have a great chance to see the second round.

Player to watch – Team play and work rate is the strength of the Koreans. Park Ji-Sung is really the only player I know, but he is worth watching.

Greece – Every time you mention Greece soccer, you must bring up the 2004 shock European Championship. No one saw that coming and I don't think anyone expects much out of the Greeks this year. There are still a few players around from that 2004 team, aging but still effective. Greece is known for the staunch defense and discipline and are not really a fun team to watch. Their style could provide trouble and frustration for both Argentina and Nigeria.

Player to Watch – Gregor Samaras- He had a run with Man City, but did little to impress and is now on Celtic. He is the only player on the team who can beat people on his own and will throw in a trick or two for the fans.

Prediction: I don't see Argentina having much trouble, even with Maradona at the helm. I think second place will come down to the Nigeria/South Korea game which is the final group game for both. I still see South Korea edging out Nigeria and it will be Nigeria's inability to break down Greece that send them home.

Argentina 7
South Korea 4
Nigeria 2
Greece 1

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