The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Knee-jerk WC draw reaction

Quick thoughts while stuck at work – there will be much more in-depth analysis here later:

Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France:  Before I researched it a little more, I would have complained about Mexico getting an easy group once again. In fairness, this is only their second joke group since 1986. As it stands, Mexico has no business doing anything other than winning this group at a canter. Uruguay are OK – not terrible, but fairly limited. France have the horses but are completely rudderless with that clown Domenech as manager. South Africa are, of course, one of the worst sides in the entire tournament (if not the worst). I’ll say that Mexico wins all three games and Uruguay does just enough to sneak past France into second.

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece: Not every group ends up having a theme, but this one definitely has four sides who are nothing near what they used to be. In short, who comes out of this group will hinge upon who has decomposed the least in the last 5-6 years. Argentina, despite being managed by a buffoon, should be able to get enough points to top the group. The Greeks, while they will never reach the heights they did when winning the European Championships, are sturdy defensively and don’t make too many mistakes. Nigeria will be the fashionable pick to get out of this group with the Argentines, but they stuttered badly during qualifying and were frankly lucky to get in. South Korea are as industrious as ever but I don’t see them breaking down any of these sides. Argentina to win, Greece with the slight upset to finish in second.

Group C: England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia: If there were ever a group that the injury-riddled and poorly-coached Yanks could get out of, this is it. If this were the England of Steve McLaren, I would have them on one point and out in the first round. However, under Fabio Capello, they won’t take anyone lightly and will be tactically and physically too much for anyone here. God, I shudder at what Wayne Rooney is going to do to our decimated backline (which wasn’t all that good in the first place). With England the clear favorites to win this group blindfolded, the US will have to do a professional job against Algeria (who are no mugs, but who did barely get through African qualifying themselves, needing a neutral-site third playoff to get past the same Egyptians that the US swept aside in the Confederations Cup) in order to have their match against Slovenia mean anything. As Brendan can attest, I did pick Slovenia to upset the Russians in the playoff, and they proved me right. They’re a solid, useful outfit and anyone who takes them lightly is going to lose. Not only that, given the fact that Bob Bradley is still our manager and we are struggling with injuries, I will pick Slovenia to get out of the group along with Eng-ger-land.

Group D: Germany, Australia, Ghana, Serbia:  This could well be the tournament’s Group of Death. There isn’t a bad side to be found here,  but I can’t go so far as to predict that Germany won’t win the group. They rarely fail to do a composed, professional job in these major tournaments, and that won’t stop here. I can’t see Serbia getting trounced as badly as they did against Argentina last time, and I do have in mind that the Aussies should have gotten to a penalty shootout against Italy in the second round last time (were it not for Fabio Grosso’s appalling dive and the idiot referee buying it). Still, Ghana are too good and have too many weapons, and I think they finish in second.

Group E: Holland, Cameroon, Denmark, Japan:  For me, the only certainty is that Holland wins the group. I honestly don’t know much about this current Cameroon squad, and for me Japan is just making up the numbers. Denmark are OK but just sort of there, so it being an African tournament I’ll go with Cameroon to finish second (I know that’s a horrid reason – like I said, I will do my homework and come back to you all later).

Group F: Italy, New Zealand, Paraguay, Slovakia:  New Zealand are of course an embarrassment and will get annhiliated in all three matches. Italy are of course a country with an impeccable pedigree of being diving cheating fucksticks performing well in major tournaments. Paraguay is a useful side and did OK in South American qualifying, but in a situation where all other things are probably equal, I default to “who has the best player?”. Marek Hamsik is a wonderful talent and will pull the strings, so I have them finishing second.

Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal:  This is the other one that has an argument as the real Group of Death. While the other one has four sides of about equal skill level, this has three remarkable sides complemented with a complete unknown. With no knowledge of the North Koreans and with all due respect to them, I can’t see them hanging with Brazil or the Ivorians. I just can’t. Brazil should of course win this group and I’m going to predict that, but it won’t be a gimme. They could very easily lose to a tenacious Ivory Coast squad provided that Didier Drogba is healthy. They could easily lose to Portugal courtesy of some magic from the cheating diving show pony Cristiano Ronaldo. The match between the Ivorians and the Portuguese should determine who escapes the group – it’s a toss-up, but in an African World Cup I’m going to go with the Ivorians.

Group H: Spain, Honduras, Switzerland, Chile:  Spain and Chile to advance, but Honduras could sneak through if the other sides overlook them. Switzerland will just sort of make up the numbers.

If those predictions were to hold, the matchups would be:

Mexico vs. Greece
England vs. Ghana
Germany vs.  Slovenia
Argentina vs. Uruguay
Holland vs.  Slovakia
Brazil vs. Chile
Italy vs. Cameroon
Spain vs. Ivory Coast (PLEASE MAKE THIS MATCH HAPPEN)

The Quarters would be: Slovakia vs. Brazil, Mexico vs. Ghana (OMG UPSET), Argentina vs. Germany, Italy vs. Ivory Coast

Semis: Brazil vs. Mexico, Ivory Coast vs. Germany, with Brazil beating Ivory Coast in the final.

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December 4, 2009 - Posted by | Other Soccer

2 Comments »

  1. I know you hate BB and everything he stands for, but the U.S. has to make it out of this group. I would have ranked England #2 “Seeded teams I wanted to play” only behind South Africa. (Maybe Argentina, but I could also picture Messi wrong-footing Jay DeMerit in the box 5 seconds after kick-off and me having chest pains for the next hour and a half. Maradona aside, I don’t need that.)

    Either way, this isn’t the dream draw but it is not a death sentence like 2006 was.

    Mexico got a ridiculously sweet draw last time out, too, so I’m still bitter, even if they’ve been screwed in the past. But Brazil’s group is spectacular — I immediately put that as the hardest group, and Ivory Coast-Portugal should be a classic “Winner goes through” tilt. Poor North Korea — never thought I’d say that — might concede a dozen before their time is up.

    Comment by tk | December 4, 2009 | Reply

    • Honestly, I think we’ll have a harder time with England than with some others, notably Holland or Germany. Both have shaky goalkeeping and the Dutch can’t really defend. If there’s one thing England can do, it’s defend…and they are big and strong and will make us pay on set pieces.

      As for the North Koreans, I don’t know if they’ll embarrass themselves. I think they’ll go 0-3, but only losing 1-0 or 2-0 each time. By all accounts, they’re remarkably well-drilled and can defend.

      Comment by primetimeswift | December 4, 2009 | Reply


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