A View From Below

Sporting debate and opinion

World Cup Previews – Group C

Group C

England

Qualifying – An impressive campaign for an England side that failed to qualify for Euro 2008, extracting revenge upon Croatia, who took their place at the last European championships. Rooney excelled in qualifying.

Manager  – Fabio Capello, the Italian tactician has redeveloped England’s approach, from binning ketchup and salt at dinner times to not referring to his players by their nicknames as previous boss Steve McClaren infamously did. Capello has instilled confidence among his players and a strictly professional relationship with them.

Star Man – Who else but Wayne Rooney. The hopes of a country are pinned on the young scouse striker – but Rooney thrives under pressure, note his best ever goalscoring season after having responsibility heaped on him following Cristiano Ronaldo’s depature from Manchester United.

One to Watch – Aaron Lennon. Electric pace and coming back from injury at just the right time, Lennon is a traditional right winger whose delivery has given him the starting spot against a host of other candidates. If he could add goals to his game this summer England would be eternally thankful.

Left at Home – A few players have been ommitted who would have rightly thought to be on the plane, none more so than Theo Walcott. Arguably living, or perhaps playing on the back of his hat-trick in Zagreb in the 5-1 qualifying win over Croatia, Capello seemingly run out of patience with the winger’s tepid displays since.

Prediction – Favourites to qualify in a pretty easy group, U.S.A. pose the biggest threat to the English in the first game of group C.

U.S.A.

Qualifying – It isn’t hard to qualify from North America, as U.S.A. and Mexico have proved, but citing the US’s displays in last summer’s confederations cup where they beat Spain in the Semi-s before losing narrowly to Brazil, the world economic superpower should not be under-estimated.

Manager – Bob Bradley, whose son Michael is a starting midfielder, has been rather successful since taking over as coach in 2006. Moulding an effecient and fluid side as well as that final in the Confederations Cup resemble quite impressive achievements.

Star Man  – Landon Donovan, as David Moyes put it, has proved he can play at the highest level following his loan spell at Everton. A classy winger with pace to burn, he will be key to America’s hopes in South Africa.

One to Watch – Jozy Altidore. Ok, so he wasn’t amazing at Hull, but he showed glimpses of talent and at international level the team is built around him as the focal point in attack. Useful midfielders like Donovan, Bradley and Dempsey will be required to supply him decent ball.

Left at Home – Injuries have not scuppered U.S.A.’s plans, and without a huge talent pool to pick from, most liekly players have made it. Anyone rememeber Freddy Adu, the American prodigy thought to be the next big thing. Yeah, he was last seen at Aris Thessaloniki FC, meeting up with former Fulham man Eddie Johnson, Adu being loaned from Benfica. Some fall of grace there then, after early comparisons with the legendary Pele.

Algeria

Qualification – Won a group including strong African opponents and bitter rivals Egypt, who often do well in the African Cup of Nations.

Manager – Rabah Saadane is a vastly experienced coach and at 64 has earned his reputation as ‘the elder’. Has led the team an unprecedented 5 times.

Star Man – Karim Ziani is the heartbeat of the side and plays in Germany for Wolsburg, Steve McClaren’s new club.

One to Watch – Captain Yazid Mansouri is a useful midfielder who dictates the tempo and has an eye for a goal.

Left at Home – Relative lack of depth means that everyone expected has been taken to their third ever finals.

Prediction – Battling it out with Slovenia to see who can finish third in the group.

Slovenia

Qualification – Knocked out the Eastern European giants Russia in the play-off after coming second in their group to Slovakia.

Manager – Matjak Kek is a rather unknown boss who has done well to mould a side that has made its second world cup finals.

Star Man – Zlatko Dedic, Bochum’s front man is a livewire up front who has ability in front of goal. Will need decent supply to be successful though.

One to Watch – Keep your eye on keeper’ Samir Handanovic who is a super shot stopper who plys his trade with Udinese in Italy. Could attract some attention if he blocks England’s attackers in the next game.

Left at Home – No one worth knowing.

Prediction – Probably 3rd, their game with the U.S.A. will be interesting.

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June 12, 2010 - Posted by | Football

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