A View From Below

Sporting debate and opinion

World Cup Previews – Group A

This summer i will be blogging, hopefully daily, about the Fifa World Cup being staged in South Africa. To start I will preview the groups in the tournament to while down the week before the big kick off.

Group A
The first game of the first world cup in Africa will be South Africa vs Mexico.
France and Uruguay also make up a relatively competitive group.

South Africa

Qualifying – Because they are hosts, South Africa didn’t need to qualify, and perhaps wouldn’t have if they weren’t considering they are the lowest ranked side at the tournament.

Manager – Carlos Alberto. The Brazilian led his home country to World Cup victory in 1994, but has been less successful as coach of ‘Bafana Bafana’. Decent international pedigree, with a penchant for bossing the little sides, such as Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Star Man – Steven Pienaar of Everton is a top midfielder and a player that outshines all of his international team-mates. South Africa’s big hope and creative threat, he will need to perform if they are to progress out the group.

One to Watch – Matthew Booth, as the one white player in the team, the crowds chants of “booooth” can be misconstrued. Also a handy centre back.

Left at Home – Big Benny McCarthy was left at home for, well being too big. Manager and Fans concerns over his weight led to his ommision, but it could be a gamble considering he was the only striker in thr squad with goalscoring profilacy.

Prediction – Rock bottom of their group and giving the home fans little to cheer. Likely to become the first host nation to go out at the group stage.

Mexico

Qualifying – Came a close second behind the U.S.A. with pundits acclaiming this as the most gifted Mexican side in years.

Manager – The vastly experienced coach rescued a campaign from the poor leadership of Sven Goran-Eriksson, in his second spell as Mexican coach he has built a side around the country’s young stars.

Star Man – Rafael Marquez might not start for his club Barcelona but he is key to the national side. An old head at the back, he can also play in midfield and provides stability to an attacking outfit.

One to Watch – Carlos Vela has only shown glimpses of his talent at the Emirates for Arsenal and will be hoping to play a bigger role for Mexico. Alongside Giovanni dos Santos, Javier Hernandez and Andres Guardado, the central Americans have spades of potential, and Vela may just realise his own in South Africa.

Left at Home – Giovanni dos Santos has threatened to quit the side following his youngster brother Jonathon’s ommision, but apart from that selection held few suprises.

Prediction – Could quite easily top the group or miss out on qualifying, first game against South Africa will be an early indication of their chances.

Uruguay

Qualifying – Just about qualifyed, beating Costa Rica in the North/South American play-off.

Manager –  Oscar Tabarez, known as the teacher for his brief stint in education between management jobs, managed Uruguay at Italia 90′.

Star Man – Diego Forlan, a classy forward who rebuilt his career and reputation in Spain after he was discarded from Manchester United. Scored the winning goal for Athletico Madrid in this season’s Uefa Cup final, breaking Fulham hearts in the process.

One to Watch – Diego Godin, centre back from Villareal who excels at the back alongiside Diego Lugano, they form a formidable partnership.

Left at Home – Cristian Rodriguez, Porto’s winger was left out as he was due to be suspended for the first two games.

Prediction – 2nd place, probably ahead of Mexico although there is little between the two sides.

France

Qualifying – Lucky to even be a part of this World Cup, Irish fans will be willing on whoever faces the French after Thierry Henry’s handball put them through ahead of the Republic of Ireland.

Manager – Raymond Domenech, France’s mercurial and largely disliked boss has been in charge for a fair few years now, leading the side to the final in 2006. Known to court controversy.

Star Man – Franck Ribery. It is hard to argue that if the former Marseille speedster is off form then France will struggle. So important for the national side, Ribery was unlucky to miss out on this years Champions League final after being banned.

One to Watch – Yoann Gourcuff, the playmaker who failed at AC Milan but shone at Bordeaux is courted by many top European clubs. Expect classy performances from Zinedine Zidane’s heir apparent.

Left at Home – A plethora of talent has been left at home to watch the World Cup from the couch, including Samir Nasri, Patrick Vieira and Karim Benzema.

Prediction – All going to plan, France should top their group. Talented squad should see them through, although they have just lost to a China side resembling their B team. Could implode at the group stage.

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June 7, 2010 - Posted by | Football

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