Welcome to my 2010 World Cup Commentary page. I hope that my insights are accurate, helpful and brighten up your day. As an avid West Ham Fan who has never watched his team play live (you are supposed to snif here) I know what agony is like as well as hope. And, in anticipation of this World Cup I remember Harry Redknap, when he was manager at West Ham, say about the following young Hammers talent – “These lads will be playing for England one day.” Who are the lads?
- The Successful Rio Ferdinand (out with injury) – Defender
- The Sneaky Glen Johnson – Defender
- The Steady Michael Carrick – Midfield
- The Dependable Frank Lampard, Jr. – Midfield
- The Creative Joe Cole – Midfield
- The Stunning Jermaine Defoe – Striker
- The Calamitous David James – Goalkeeper
It is amazing to realize how insightful Harry Redknap was back those many years ago as all of them are regulars in the England squad and most are starters…and to think that West Ham went down to the Championship with these players.
Add to that, Robert Green as the Backup Goalkeeper and Matthew Upson in Defense and you must recognize the West Ham contingent that is now a stunning part of the England team.
Hmmm….maybe you can guess who I will be rooting for…but more on that later.
Here are the groups.
Group A – Mexico & France
This will be a hard fought group with Mexico and France the favorites. But look for a strong showing by South Africa as hosts, who will be running on home field adrenaline. Also, don’t count out the cleverness of Uruguay, but I think that both teams will be outdone by a menacing Mexico team and a steady and strong French team (boo), even though they just squeaked in.
Results: Mexico & Uruguay – Honestly, who would have thought that France would implode like they did?
Group B – Argentina & Nigeria
This group is pretty wide open and many things can happen. The logical choice is Argentina, but remember they only just made it into the final 32 having on their record an 8-1 loss to Bolivia – humiliation for Diego Maradona. But all that is behind them, so I think they will do well. It is the runner up spot that is up for grabs. Nigeria have been very strong over recent years and the fact that they are playing in Africa can only help them. South Korea…remember them? They were a team made up of amateur college students last time and shocked the world with their grit and determination. Greece have done very well in the past few years, so they are unpredictable. The outcome is anyone’s guess, but I am thinking it will be Nigeria.
Results: Argentina & South Korea – A solid exhibition from Argentina and a spirited one from South Korea. Very disappointing for Nigeria.
Group C – England & USA
O.K. so this is the hard group for me. Who do I root for when England play the USA? I want both to do well, but I think that I want England to beat the USA. Either way it will be sad and a draw doesn’t really help anyone much. Algeria and Slovenia are both relatively weak teams and that could go against both USA and England who both have a history of blowing smoke against lesser teams. There will be a lot of nerves in this group I think, but I think that England and the USA will prevail. This could be England’s World Cup to lose. All the talent is there if they can put it all together. The USA are still to truly prove themselves and they always desperately need a goalscorer, so I am hoping that a relatively unknown phenomenon will show up and blow our socks off. To bad Freddi Adu isn’t in the lineup.
Results: USA & England – An incredibly tight group with drama throughout. England underachieved and USA denied, but they both make it through.
Group D – Germany & Serbia
Germany are like the Philistines – they just keep coming back and everyone (well, lots of people just don’t like them). They are like the evil teams – usually called “The Knights” from movies like “Little Giants” and “Facing the Giants.” We (I) just wish they would go away…but they won’t. (enough ranting Rod) Like group B, the second spot is truly up for grabs. Australia seems weaker this World Cup than they did in 2006, so I don’ think that they have it in them. Ghana may have that African power and shock the world, but the Serbs seem to be a stubborn kind of team that gives good teams great frustration.
Results: Germany & Ghana – A very good run by both teams.
Group E – Netherlands & Denmark
The Netherlands are a most favored team to win the cup with the likes of Robben and Van Pierse, so I definitely think that they will make it through the group stages. The final spot, however, will be a fight. Denmark usually show up to play. They are a tough team with a history of good showings in the World Cup. Japan are quick and really improving their soccer program, so they will continue to be a threat. The Camaroon, the nemesis of the English team in previous World Cups don’t seem to have the pizzaz that they used to, but they will be a tough team to beat. But I think that Denmark will pull through even with a strong African fight from Camaroon.
Results: Netherlands & Japan – Solid Dutch performance and a tireless Japanese side make it through. Camaroon was on vacation.
Group F – Italy & Slovakia
This is a tough group. I think that Italy will come through, but will suffer a loss. The team that is hot right now is New Zealand. They may be the Cinderella team of the World Cup as they are playing with passion and enjoying themselves – with little to lose. Still, Paraguay is very strong, but Slovakia is stronger still. My intuition points me to Slovakia because they tend to be physically strong and give little room on defense.
Results: Paraguay & Slovakia – Stunned that Italy didn’t go through…but you have to give credit to the other teams especially New Zealand who I thought proved the world wrong. They actually showed up to play.
Group G – Brazil & Ivory Coast
This is the group of Death for the 2010 World Cup. We all expect Brazil to make it through (snooz!) but two other very strong teams will be fighting it out for that second spot. If Drogba is on his best form and can control his temper Ivory Coast will do well. If Christian Ronaldo is given some good support it will be Portugal. These games will be a catfight and a joy to watch. I truly don’t expect much from North Korea…but who knows.
Results: Brazil & Portugal – Brazil, strong as ever, but honestly, a bit dull to watch this year. Even Portugal only just did enough. Ivory Coast, were you on vacation with the Camaroon?
Group H – Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile
First, let me say that I am saddened that Honduras and Chile are in the same group, but hey, it is what it is. So, Spain should get through, but I think that they will falter in one game. Not that they will lose, but that they will “almost” lose, which will shake them up a bit. The team that might make waves is Switzerland. They are primarily unknowns and yet are very strong. Both Honduras and Chile will play hard entertaining football, but I think that the Europeans will get the better of them.
Results: Spain & Chile – Spain goes through but in squeaky fashion while Chile is the big surprise.
So, these are my predictions, but here is what I hope does happen:
- New Zealand and Switzerland to shock the world by their accomplishments.
- Argentina lose all three games
- Germany loses at least one game (they lost two!)
- Jermain Defoe gets the Golden Boot Award (well, he at least scored)
I’ll keep posting as things take shape…we are just a few days away!
So, after the group stages we had some incredible shock games:
- England couldn’t overcome a disallowed goal and left their defense open for the resourceful Germans to exploit
- USA lost to Ghana in a long game.
- Ghana lose to Uruguay after Suarez uses his hands on the line to stop the ball and then Ghana miss the penalty.
- Brasil lost to the Netherland. All credit to the Dutch who came from behind to win.
- Netherlands beat Uruguay in an exceptional game.
- Argentina was gutted by the Germans
- Spain continues to squeak by and through
- Spain beat Germany to reach the finals
So, who is it going to be? Spain or Netherlands?
- I am going for the Dutch, but I am happy for either team.
- My prediction: Holland 2 – Spain 1