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Wednesday, April 24

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« Huck It and Race It! World Cup 2010 Preview: Group C »

Soccer Wed Jun 09 2010

World Cup 2010 Preview: Group B


With Group B we'll be moving from bottom to top. The South Americans in this group have gifted reportage of this World Cup so much in these past weeks, and the outlook of this group seems to have a 'save the best for last' feel to it.

The Greeks

The lucky devils most likely to get an early summer break are Greece. Winning Euro 2004 put Greece on top of Europe for the first time since before time, but expectations are not high for the Mediterraneans (not actually their nickname). A rough road to qualifying against teams like Israel and Moldova doesn't a recipe for success make. While they do carry some striking power with the pairing of Georgios Samaras (Celtic FC) and Theofanis Gekas (10 goals in qualifying), recent form is painting a dark group run for the Greeks who lost by two goals each to Paraguay and unqualified Senegal, and drew against Evil's own North Korea. Expect Greece to be watching the knockout rounds back in the old (old) country.

South Korea

Flying out with the Greeks will most likely be South Korea. Though they are a perennial Asian powerhouse, and finished fourth in the 2002 World Cup, the South Koreans lack striking power at the front. They had an even qualifying where they snuck a lot of second leg wins against teams like Turkmenistan and BFF North Korea. The South Koreans do boast some star power with players like Manchester United's workhorse midfielder Park Ji-Sung, and under coach Huh Jung-Moo the Koreans have adopted a more conservative style, sacrificing attack for smart play. Group B is already a shaky place to be, so some surprises may be in store, but don't bet the farm on it.



Gunning for second place in the group is Nigeria. The Super Eagles (actually their nickname) boast a wealth of solid performers, and under Swedish boss Lars Lagerbeck, Nigeria have been playing an attack-minded 4-3-3, taking advantage of goalscorers like Obefemi Martins and Ayegbeni Yakubu--both are forwards in the top leagues of Germany and England repectively. The Super Eagles like to play a fast game up the middle, and their pace will be a problem even for stronger defenses. They have suffered the blow of losing Chelsea's Obi Mikel to an ankle injury, taking him out of the tournament; but even with the loss, Nigeria look stronger than the South Koreans. The team will hold an even sharper edge with this being Africa's first World Cup, and even Johannesburg will look like home field advantage to the (one more) Super Eagles.



Likely to finish first in Group B is Argentina, who are flush with talent this time around--even more than usual. Being American, you might have heard the epic fawning over soccer hobbit Lionel Messi, and wondered if a great player would really wear that haircut, but make no mistake he is currently the Best Player In The World. Possessing frightening pace, incredible vision, and an insatiable hunger for goals, Messi is being tipped as a Golden Boot contender for top goalscorer. He's not alone either, Argentina have a glut of talented strikers, boasting Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez, and Diego Milito, backed by a bench of Martin Palermo and Sergio Aguero. If you don't know the names, just know that it's just essentially unfair to other teams how good the BENCH is.

Argentina are being led by the God's Hand, Diego Maradona, whose crazy toilet demands are only matched by tactics which may be suspect enough to cost Argentina a final. Diego has come on heavy the antics since his reign as Argentina manager, from a very bumpy qualifying, to assaulting the paparazzi with automobiles. Positive or negative, Maradona's handling of the team, and more specifically his protégé Messi, will be very influential in the run of this tournament.

The Argies have eaten their Los Wheaties though, and are strong contenders to win it all. While Brazil is opting for more conservative play under their coach Dunga, Argentina may be the best option besides Spain to see some excellent attacking football take the cup home.

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George / June 10, 2010 12:55 AM

Never ride off the Greeks. Friendlies do not mean a thing.

The Greeks will make the 2nd round.

Bendel Radical / June 10, 2010 7:58 AM

Argentina is in for a shocker on Saturday with Nigeria. The media is doing all the noise for Argentina but they will meet a very stiff Nigerian side. The psyche of Nigeria and countries like Cameroon is such that they are never intimidated by big names. Check the history. I predict a draw on saturday

Old Dude / June 10, 2010 3:25 PM

I did not know North Korea had a team in the World Cup. How about Iran?

One thing I know from the U Tube: once you've seen one Messi goal you've seen 'em all.

0-0 / June 14, 2010 10:09 PM

Nigeria have better players but their team is a mess. They are going to get run over by South Korea. It's going to be Argentina and Korea moving onto 16th.

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