Wednesday, June 09, 2010

World Cup Preview: Group C

On to Group C:

England (1st in group 6 in UEFA Qualifying): No country faces the pressure quite like the English. Other countries have must win attitudes, but most of those countries have more recent glories to remember. The English World Cup drought is legendary. This year's side has the talent to break it. They have the players. They have the coach. The goaltending is a question mark. Wayne Rooney may be the most on-form out and out striker on the planet. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are excellent midfielders. The loss of Rio Ferdinand will hurt. The English are good enough to win. Are they strong enough to handle the pressure? Time will tell.

Player to watch: Wayne Rooney (ST)

Prediction: 1st in Group C, Out in the Semi-finals.

USA (1st in CONCACAF): The US had an uneventful run through qualifying. They were far from perfect, but they were good enough to grab top spot and not have to worry about their last couple of matches. The Americans will rely on the positive experience gained from the Confederations Cup last year when they shocked Spain in the semi-finals and had a lead on Brazil in the finals. The US enters the tournament with more questions than answers. Tim Howard is one of the best keepers in the tournament but the men in front of him are riddles. Oguchi Onweyu is coming back from a major injury. Landon Donovan is an enigma at the best of times. Charlie Davies absence in the wake of a car crash that left his companion dead, has left a major hole up top. The Americans have a nasty habit of playing to the level of their opponents. Remember in 06 they played eventual champs Italy to a gritty draw before bowing out of the group stage at the hands of lesser opponents. Slovenia and Algeria may be the key games for the US.

Player to Watch: Oguchi Onweyu (DF)

Prediction: 3rd in Group C

Algeria (Tie for 1st in Group C in African Qualifying; Defeated Egypt in playoff): Few teams can match Algeria's qualifying story, beating arch-rivals Egypt in a sudden death playoff in Khartoum. However, on the pitch Algeria is probably over-matched in this group. Their qualifying group was a two horse race the whole way and one has to wonder if beating Egypt is more than enough to satisfy the Algerians. A relatively unheralded roster will have their hands full in a tough Group C.

Prediction: 4th in Group C

Slovenia (2nd in Group 3 in UEFA qualifying; Defeated Russia in playoff): No one gave tiny Slovenia any hope against Euro powerhouse Russia in a two game playoff. After all, Slovenia had come out of group 3 notable not for its winner (Slovakia) but for the poor performances of its expected powers (Czech Republic, Poland and to a lesser extent Belgium). The Slovenes however, shocked the Russians and won't be afraid of anyone in South Africa. With giants England in the group to distract their opponents, expect the Slovenes to take some scalps.

Prediction: 2nd in Group C, out in the round of 16.

1 comment:

CanadianSense said...

We should start a betting pool for some rivalry between the bloggers for fun!

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