Groups E, F, G and H..

As you might have noticed, I haven’t posted my analysis yet regarding Groups E, F, G and H for the World Cup.

I’m kinda busy at school, so yeah.

Anyway, we’re only into the 2nd round of the group stage, so I can probably post it before the 3rd round of matches.

Thanks for reading. And re-reading. 😀

FIFA World Cup 2010: Know Your Final Squads – Group D

As promised! Here’s Group D!

This group features 3-time champions Germany, former Oceania heavyweights and now Asian heavyweights Australia, Yugoslavia-descendant Serbia, and surging Africans Ghana!

We start with Germany, who has won the Cup 3 times, and is looking for number 4!

Germany (GER)

Nickname: Die Mannschaft (The Team)

Coach: Joachim Loew

Current FIFA Ranking: 6

Previous appearances: 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990 (as West Germany), 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 (as Germany)

Highest result: Champions (1954, 1974, 1990, as West Germany)

Captain: Philipp Lahm

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Manuel Neuer (Schalke)
  • 12 – Tim Wiese (Bremen)
  • 22 – Hans-Jorg Butt (Bayern Munich)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Marcell Jansen (Hamburg)
  • 3 – Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin)
  • 4 – Dennis Aogo (Hamburg)
  • 5 – Serdar Tasci (Stuttgart)
  • 14 – Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich)
  • 16 – Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)
  • 17 – Per Mertesacker (Bremen)
  • 20 – Jerome Boateng (Hamburg)

Midfielders:

  • 6 – Sami Khedira (Stuttgart)
  • 7 – Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)
  • 8 – Mesut Ozil (Bremen)
  • 15 – Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg)
  • 18 – Toni Kroos (Leverkusen)
  • 21 – Marko Marin (Bremen)

Forwards:

  • 9 – Stefan Kiessling (Leverkusen)
  • 10 – Lukas Podolski (Cologne)
  • 11 – Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich)
  • 13 – Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
  • 19 – Cacau (Stuttgart)
  • 23 – Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Philipp Lahm

Midfield: Bastian Schweinsteiger/Toni Kroos

Forward: Lukas Podolski/Cacau

Germany’s hopes of winning the World Cup took a big swipe when influential captain Michael Ballack was ruled out of the tournament. But the Germans won’t go down that easily, with covering captain Philipp Lahm pretty much consistent in the flanks both offensively and defensively, Bastian Schweinsteiger controlling the flow of the midfield and Lukas Podolski scoring goal after goal for Germany(and for Germany only. Club form’s a different case altogether).



After that, we go on from Oceania-to-Asia representatives, Australia!

Australia (AUS)

Nickname: Socceroos

Coach: Pim Verbeek

Current FIFA Ranking: 20

Previous appearances: 1974, 2006

Highest result: Round of 16

Captain: Lucas Neill

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Mark Schwarzer (Fulham)
  • 12 – Adam Federici (Reading)
  • 18 – Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Lucas Neill (Galatasaray)
  • 3 – Craig Moore (unattached/free agent)
  • 6 – Michael Beauchamp (Al-Jazira)
  • 8 – Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow)
  • 11 – Scott Chipperfield (Basel)
  • 20 – Mark Milligan (JEF United)
  • 21 – David Carney (Twente Enschede)

Midfielders:

  • 4 – Tim Cahill (Everton)
  • 5 – Jason Culina (Gold Coast)
  • 7 – Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers)
  • 13 – Vince Grella (Blackburn Rovers)
  • 15 – Mile Jedinak (Antalyaspor)
  • 16 – Carl Valeri (Sassuolo)
  • 19 – Richard Garcia (Hull City)
  • 22 – Dario Vidosic (Nuremberg)
  • 23 – Mark Bresciano (Palermo)

Forwards:

  • 9 – Josh Kennedy (Nagoya)
  • 10 – Harry Kewell (Galatasaray)
  • 14 – Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar)
  • 17 – Nikita Rukavytsya (Twente Enschede)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Mark Schwarzer

Midfield: Tim Cahill

Forward: Josh Kennedy

The Socceroos are looking to impress once again after making it to the knockout stages of 2006. The core of the group is still present, with Schwarzer, Cahill and Kewell still present to give the side the edge to progress further this time around. With a lot of recognizable faces for support, this team will not fail to impress if they perform well in the tournament.



After Australia, we go to rock solid Serbia!

Serbia (SRB)

Nickname: Beli Orlovi (White Eagles)

Coach: Radomir Antic

Current FIFA Ranking: 15

Previous appearances: 1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1974, 1982, 1990, 1998 (as Yugoslavia), 2006 (as Serbia and Montenegro)

Highest result: Fourth place (1930, 1962, as Yugoslavia)

Captain: Dejan Stankovic

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Vladimir Stojkovic (Sporting)
  • 12 – Bojan Isailovic (Zaglebie Lubin)
  • 23 – Andjelko Djuricic (Uniao Leiria)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Antonio Rukavina (Munich 1860)
  • 3 – Aleksandar Kolarov (Lazio)
  • 5 – Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United)
  • 6 – Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
  • 13 – Aleksandar Lukovic (Udinese)
  • 16 – Ivan Obradovic (Zaragoza)
  • 20 – Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders:

  • 4 – Gojko Kacar (Hertha Berlin)
  • 7 – Zoran Tosic (Manchester United)
  • 10 – Dejan Stankovic (Inter Milan)
  • 11 – Nenad Milijas (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
  • 14 – Milan Jovanovic (Standard Liege)
  • 17 – Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow)
  • 18 – Milos Ninkovic (Dynamo Kiev)
  • 19 – Radosav Petrovic (Partizan Belgrade)
  • 22 – Zdravko Kuzmanovic (VfB Stuttgart)

Forwards:

  • 8 – Danko Lazovic (Zenit St. Petersburg)
  • 9 – Marko Pantelic (Ajax Amsterdam)
  • 15 – Nikola Zigic (Valencia)
  • 21 – Dragan Mrdja (Vojvodina Novi Sad)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Nemanja Vidic/Branislav Ivanovic/Neven Subotic

Midfield: Dejan Stankovic/Milan Jovanovic

Forward: Nikola Zigic

The Serbians’ first time playing as Serbia alone will be a tough one for the squad, but after topping their group in qualifying, Serbia looks like they could go a long way in this competition. With a rock solid defense consisting of Nemanja Vidic and Branislav Ivanovic, also with rising star Neven Subotic, the Serbia defense will be one tough cookie.

Lead by Dejan Stankovic, their goals would probably come from set pieces, from the mentioned defenders or from towering forward Nikola Zigic.



And finally, we’ll have another African team in Ghana!

Ghana (GHA)

Nickname: The Black Stars

Coach: Milovan Rajevac

Current FIFA Ranking: 32

Previous appearances: 2006

Highest result: Round of 16

Captain: Stephen Appiah

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Daniel Adjei (Liberty Professionals)
  • 16 – Stephen Ahorlu (Hearts of Lions)
  • 22 – Richard Kingson (Wigan)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Hans Sarpei (Bayer Leverkusen)
  • 4 – John Pantsil (Fulham)
  • 5 – John Mensah (Lyon)
  • 7 – Samuel Inkoom (Basle)
  • 8 – Jonathan Mensah (Granada)
  • 15 – Isaac Vorsah (Hoffenheim)
  • 17 – Rahim Ayew (Zamalek)
  • 19 – Lee Addy (Bechem Chelsea)

Midfielders:

  • 6 – Anthony Annan (Rosenborg)
  • 9 – Derek Boateng (Getafe)
  • 10 – Stephen Appiah (Bologna)
  • 11 – Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan)
  • 13 – Andre Ayew (Marseille)
  • 20 – Quincy Owusu Abeyie (Al Sadd)
  • 21 – Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese)
  • 23 – Kevin-Prince Boateng (Portsmouth)

Forwards:

  • 3 – Asamoah Gyan (Rennes)
  • 12 – Prince Tagoe (Hoffenheim)
  • 14 – Matthew Amoah (NAC Breda)
  • 18 – Dominic Adiyiah (AC Milan)

Key players to watch:

Defense: John Mensah/John Pantsil

Midfield: Sulley Muntari/Stephen Appiah

Forward: Asamoah Gyan

The Black Stars are one of the heaviest African nations, but injury to influential midfielder Michael Essien ruined their chances. They’re in a tough group, and they need to hold their ground together in order to progress again in the knockout stages. With Sulley Muntari they have someone who can clean up the midfield in the place of Essien, and Gyan is definitely a great striker.

Defense is somewhat of a problem for the team though, but they should be able to handle the teams in this group.



Group prediction:

1st –Germany

2nd – Serbia

3rd –Australia

4th – Ghana

This is a tough group to call. I just can’t see Australia qualifying, not unless they beat Serbia. Germany will definitely qualify, and its up to Ghana, Serbia and Australia to battle it out for the 2nd qualifying spot.


And that’s Group D, which will start in about 20 mins! XD

We’re halfway through our review, and the World Cup has just started! Why am I in a hurry again?

Group E will come in 12 hours or so. 😛


FIFA Rankings taken from here. (Updated as of May 26, 2010)

Final World Cup squads taken from Eurosport.

Jersey numbers taken from Wikipedia.

FIFA World Cup 2010: Know Your Final Squads – Group C

Yeah, sorry for the delay. I know the World Cup has started, but I still intend to bring you analysis about the remaining groups!

We’re now in Group C, featuring 1966 winners England, North American heavyweights USA, controversial qualifiers Algeria, and play-off qualifiers Slovenia!

First team would be England, one of the teams who are tipped to win the World Cup!

England (ENG)

Nickname: Three Lions

Coach: Fabio Capello

Current FIFA Ranking: 8

Previous appearances: 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006

Highest result: Champions (1966)

Captain: Steven Gerrard

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – David James (Portsmouth)
  • 12 – Robert Green (West Ham United)
  • 23 – Joe Hart (Manchester City)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Glen Johnson (Liverpool)
  • 3 – Ashley Cole (Chelsea)
  • 5 – Michael Dawson (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • 6 – John Terry (Chelsea)
  • 13 – Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
  • 15 – Matthew Upson (West Ham United)
  • 18 – Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)
  • 20 – Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders:

  • 4 – Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
  • 7 – Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • 8 – Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
  • 11 – Joe Cole (Chelsea)
  • 14 – Gareth Barry (Manchester City)
  • 16 – James Milner (Aston Villa)
  • 17 – Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)
  • 22 – Michael Carrick (Manchester United)

Forwards:

  • 9 – Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • 10 – Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
  • 19 – Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • 21 – Emile Heskey (Aston Villa)

Key players to watch:

Defense: John Terry

Midfield: Steven Gerrard/Frank Lampard

Forward: Wayne Rooney

High-flying England are one of the favorites to win the World Cup, and why not? Frank Lampard’s in rich form, Wayne Rooney’s scorching hot, and the only problem England has is with its goalkeepers. David James is still calamitous, Rob Green’s inconsistent, and Joe Hart’s inexperienced.

England’s World Cup chances will all depend on Rooney, and on Rooney’s temper. We all know the issue on the Three Lions striker, and getting him frustrated is the key to beating England.



We now move on to one of the dark horses this year, USA!

United States (USA)

Nickname: The Yanks

Coach: Bob Bradley

Current FIFA Ranking: 14

Previous appearances: 1930, 1934, 1950, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006

Highest result: Third place (1930)

Captain: Carlos Bocanegra

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Tim Howard (Everton)
  • 18 – Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
  • 23 – Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
  • 3 – Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes)
  • 5 – Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan)
  • 6 – Steve Cherundolo (Hannover)
  • 12 – Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas)
  • 15 – Jay DeMerit (Watford)
  • 21 – Clarence Goodson (IK Start)

Midfielders:

  • 4 – Michael Bradley (Borussia Monchengladbach)
  • 7 – DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers)
  • 8 – Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
  • 10 – Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)
  • 11 – Stuart Holden (Bolton)
  • 13 – Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt)
  • 16 – Jose Torres (Pachuca)
  • 19  – Maurice Edu (Rangers)
  • 22 – Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus)

Forwards:

  • 9 – Herculez Gomez (Puebla)
  • 14 – Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy)
  • 17 – Jozy Altidore (Villarreal)
  • 20 – Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Oguchi Onyewu/Tim Howard

Midfield: Landon Donovan/Stuart Holden

Forward: All four of them. Really.

The Yanks are hoping to surprise everyone first and foremost by beating England in their opener, but I don’t see it as a surprise, to be honest. The USA has evolved through the years, with Landon Donovan being their most dangerous player. After beating Spain in the Confederations Cup last year, the Yanks will be hoping they’ll do the same against England.

Now, I said you have to watch out for all of the four forwards listed in this entry. Why? Gomez is a super sub, Altidore is their main threat, Buddle is the in-form striker, and Findley can’t finish. That’s why.



Now we go to controversial qualifiers Algeria, representing the continent of Africa.

Algeria (ALG)

Nickname: Les Fennecs (The Desert Foxes)

Coach: Rabah Saadane

Current FIFA Ranking: 30

Previous appearances: 1982, 1986

Highest result: Round 1 (Group stage)

Captain: Yazid Mansouri

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Lounes Gaouaoui (ASO Chlef)
  • 16 – Faouzi Chaouchi (Entente Setif)
  • 23 – Rais Ouheb Mbouli (Slavia Sofia)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Madjid Bougherra (Rangers)
  • 3 – Nadir Belhadj (Portsmouth)
  • 4 – Antar Yahia (VfL Bochum)
  • 5 – Rafik Halliche (Nacional)
  • 12 – Habib Belaid (Boulogne-sur-Mer)
  • 14 – Abdelkader Laifaoui (Entente Setif)
  • 18 – Carl Medjani (Ajaccio)
  • 20 – Djamel Mesbah (Lecce)

Midfielders:

  • 6 – Yazid Mansouri (Lorient)
  • 7 – Riad Boudebouz (Sochaux)
  • 8 – Medhi Lacen (Racing Santanader)
  • 15 – Karim Ziani (VfL Wolfsburg)
  • 17 – Adlane Guedioura (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
  • 19 – Hassan Yebda (Portsmouth)
  • 21 – Fouad Kadir (Valenciennes)
  • 22 – Djamel Abdoun (Nantes)

Forwards:

  • 9 – Abdelkader Ghezzal (Siena)
  • 10 – Rafik Saifi (Istres)
  • 11- Rafik Djebbour (AEK Athens)
  • 13 – Karim Matmour (Borussia Moenchengladbach)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Nadir Belhadj

Midfield: Hassan Yebda/Yazid Mansouri

Forward: Karim Matmour

The Desert Foxes. Unexpected qualifiers via a play-off against Egypt, most of the Algeria players aren’t known to the world, with only the Portsmouth pair Yebda and Belhadj being the most recognizable ones.

They could go on to make an upset, but with them grouped with England and USA, they should play waaay above their standards to have a chance of progressing.



And lastly, we’ll have the team that sunk Russia to qualify, Slovenia!

Slovenia (SVN)

Nickname: Zmajceki (The Dragons)

Coach: Matjaz Kek

Current FIFA Ranking: 25

Previous appearances: 2002

Highest result: Round 1 (Group stage)

Captain: Robert Koren

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Samir Handanovic (Udinese)
  • 12 – Jasmin Handanovic (Mantova)
  • 16 – Aleksander Seliga (Sparta Rotterdam)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Miso Brecko (FC Cologne)
  • 3 – Elvedin Dzinic (NK Maribor)
  • 4 – Marko Suler (Ghent)
  • 5 – Bostjan Cesar (Grenoble)
  • 6 – Branko Ilic (Lokomotiv Moscow)
  • 13 – Bojan Jokic (Chievo)
  • 19 – Suad Filekovic (NK Maribor)
  • 22 – Matej Mavric (Koblenz)

Midfielders:

  • 8 – Robert Koren (West Bromwich Albion)
  • 10 – Valter Birsa (AJ Auxerre)
  • 15 – Rene Krhin (Inter Milan)
  • 17 – Andraz Kirm (Wisla Krakow)
  • 18 – Aleksander Radosavljevic (Larissa)
  • 20 – Andrej Komac (Maccabi Tel Aviv)
  • 21 – Dalibor Stevanovic (Vitesse Arnhem)

Forwards:

  • 7 – Nejc Pecnik (Nacional Funchal)
  • 9 – Zlatan Ljubijankic (Ghent)
  • 11 – Milivoje Novakovic (FC Cologne)
  • 14 – Zlatko Dedic (VfL Bochum)
  • 23 – Tim Matavz (Groningen)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Samir Handanovic

Midfield: Robert Koren

Forward: Milivoje Novakovic

The Dragons were not fancied to qualify for the World Cup, but shocked the world by beating fancied Russia in the play-offs. Judging from that, we can say that Slovenia can go on to at least reach the round of 16.

With Robert Koren leading the charge, the Slovenia squad is not to be taken lightly. But with a group like this, they also have to perform better than their usual selves.



Group prediction:

1st –England

2nd –USA

3rd –Slovenia

4th – Algeria

Its definitely gonna be England and USA fighting for the qualification spots. Unless Slovenia and Algeria get a shock result against England and USA, it’s gonna be a straightforward group.


That’s it for Group C! England vs. USA in a couple of hours!

Group D will follow in a couple of hours!


FIFA Rankings taken from here. (Updated as of May 26, 2010)

Final World Cup squads taken from Eurosport.

Jersey numbers taken from Wikipedia.

When school interferes with your past time..

Yeah.

I can’t make any posts here.

School’s making me focus less on the blog.

But don’t worry! I’ll be doing tons of posts once I arrive home from the dorm!

Til then, re-read my entries.

Thanks! :>

FIFA World Cup 2010: Know Your Final Squads – Group B

6 days to go until the World Cup! Everyone’s all excited and ecstatic, some can’t even sleep! Today I’ll be doing a post on Groups B.

One of the more dangerous and unpredictable groups, this group has 2-time champions Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea and 2004 European champions Greece!

We kick-off Group B with 2-time World Cup winners Argentina!

Argentina (ARG)

Nickname: La Albiceleste (White and Sky Blue)

Coach: Diego Maradona

Current FIFA Ranking: 7

Previous appearances: 1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006

Highest result: Champions (1978, 1986)

Captain: Javier Mascherano

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Diego Pozo (Colon)
  • 21 – Mariano Andujar (Catania)
  • 22 – Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich)
  • 3 – Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes)
  • 4 – Nicolas Burdisso (Roma)
  • 6 – Gabriel Heinze (Marseille)
  • 12 – Ariel Garce (Colon)
  • 13 – Walter Samuel (Internazionale)
  • 15 – Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield)

Midfielders:

  • 5 – Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina)
  • 7 – Angel Di Maria (Benfica)
  • 8 – Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes)
  • 14 – Javier Mascherano (Liverpool)
  • 17 – Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle)
  • 20 – Maxi Rodriguez (Liverpool)
  • 23 – Javier Pastore (Palermo)

Forwards:

  • 9 – Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)
  • 10 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
  • 11 – Carlos Tevez (Manchester City)
  • 16 – Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid)
  • 18 – Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors)
  • 19 – Diego Milito (Internazionale)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Nicolas Burdisso/Martin Demichelis

Midfield: Javier Mascherano/Angel Di Maria

Forward: Every striker in the line up.. Well, everyone except Martin Palermo.

One look at La Albiceleste and you’ll immediately conclude that goals would be flying from everywhere. Boasting a strike force lead by the incredible Lionel Messi, only God knows how Diego Maradona would fit in everyone. Of course, there’s also midfield general Javier Mascherano and the brilliant Angel Di Maria to complement and provide the strikers the pass they needed to score goals.. Lots of goals.

Again, judging by the line up, there will be no problems for Argentina if ever a striker gets injured, with tons of deadly finishers waiting to get their turn. You might want to watch out for wonder kid Javier Pastore too.



After that, we move on to our second African country in this mini-series, Nigeria!

Nigeria (NGA)

Nickname: Super Eagles

Coach: Lars Lagerback

Current FIFA Ranking: 21

Previous appearances: 1994, 1998, 2002

Highest result: Round of 16

Captain: Nwankwo Kanu

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv)
  • 16 – Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikvah)
  • 23 – Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Joseph Yobo (Everton)
  • 3 – Taye Taiwo (Olympique Marseille)
  • 5 – Rabiu Afolabi (Red Bull Salzburg)
  • 6 – Danny Shittu (Bolton Wanderers)
  • 15 – Dele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam)
  • 17 – Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow)
  • 21 – Elderson Echiejile (Stade Rennes)

Midfielders:

  • 4 – Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth)
  • 10 – Ideye Brown (Sochaux) [Replacement for John Obi Mikel, who was ruled out with a badly bruised ankle.]
  • 12 – Kalu Uche (Almeria)
  • 13 – Yusuf Ayila (Dynamo Kiev)
  • 14 – Sani Kaita (Alania Vladikavhaz)
  • 19 – Haruna Lukman (Monaco)
  • 20 – Dickson Etuhu (Fulham)
  • 22 – John Utaka (Portsmouth)

Forwards:

  • 7 – Chinedu Obasi (Hoffenheim)
  • 8 – Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton)
  • 9 – Obafemi Martins (VfL Wolfsburg)
  • 11 – Peter Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow)
  • 18 – Obinna Nsofor (Malaga)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Joseph Yobo/Taye Taiwo

Midfield: Nwankwo Kanu

Forward: Yakubu Aiyegbeni/Obafemi Martins

The Super Eagles are back at the big stage after missing out last time to Angola, and they’re certainly not on the lucky side, losing influential midfielder John Obi Mikel after badly bruising his ankle in training.

One of the dark horses in the African region, the Nigerian team can surprise anyone at any moment. Definitely not a team to under-estimate.



Now, after Nigeria, we move on to 2002 semi-finalists South Korea! Or Korea Republic. Whatever fits your bill.

Korea Republic/South Korea (KOR)

Nickname: Taeguk Jeonsa (Taeguk Warriors)

Coach: Huh Jung-Moo

Current FIFA Ranking: 47

Previous appearances: 1954, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006

Highest result: Fourth Place (2002)

Captain: Park Ji-Sung

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Lee Woon-Jae (Suwon)
  • 18 – Jung Sung-Ryong (Seongnam)
  • 21 – Kim Young-Kwang (Ulsan)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Oh Beom-Seok (Ulsan)
  • 3 – Kim Hyung-Il (Pohang)
  • 4 – Cho Yong-Hyung (Jeju)
  • 23 – Kang Min-Soo (Suwon)
  • 12 – Lee Young-Pyo (Al Hilal)
  • 14 – Lee Jung-Soo (Kashima Antlers)
  • 15 – Kim Dong-Jin (Ulsan)
  • 22 – Cha Du-Ri (SC Freiburg)

Midfielders:

  • 5 – Kim Nam-Il (Tom Tomsk)
  • 6 – Kim Bo-Kyung (Oita)
  • 7 – Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United)
  • 8 – Kim Jung-Woo (Gwangju)
  • 13 – Kim Jae-Sung (Pohang)
  • 16 – Ki Sung-Yong (Celtic)
  • 17 – Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton)

Forwards:

  • 9 – Ahn Jung-Hwan (Dalian Shide)
  • 10 – Park Ju-Young (AS Monaco)
  • 11 – Lee Seung-Ryul (Seoul)
  • 19 – Yeom Ki-Hun (Suwon)
  • 20 – Lee Dong-Guk (Jeonbuk)

Key players to watch:

Defense: I’m not really that familiar with most of the Korea Republic players, but if we’re judging by experience, I’d say Lee Young-Pyo.

Midfield: Park Ji-Sung/Lee Chung-Yong

Forward: Again, not much information. I guess it’ll be Ahn Jung-Hwan.

The Tigers of Asia are one of the fancied sides to progress to the next round in this group, and they’ll be doing a lot in order to do just that. Lead by the never-tiring (literally) Park Ji-Sung in midfield, the Korea Republic just might have what it takes to at least equal their fourth placed finish 8 years ago.

Lee Chung-Yong is a player who was a revelation at Bolton last season, amd his playmaking and crossing skills are very much needed by this country in order to progress with ease.



And finally, its the shock Euro 2004 champions Greece!

Greece (GRE)

Nickname: Galanoleyki (Blue and White)/To Piratiko (The Pirate Ship)

Coach: Otto Rehhagel

Current FIFA Ranking: 13

Previous appearances: 1994

Highest result: Round 1 (Group stage)

Captain: Giorgos Karagounis

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Kostas Chalkias (PAOK Salonika)
  • 12 – Alexandros Tzorvas (Panathinaikos)
  • 13 – Michalis Sifakis (Aris Salonika)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Giorgos Seitaridis (Panathinaikos)
  • 4 – Nikos Spiropoulos (Panathinaikos)
  • 5 – Evangelos Moras (Bologna)
  • 8 – Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiakos)
  • 11 – Loukas Vintra (Panathinaikos)
  • 15 – Vasilis Torosidis (Olympiakos)
  • 16 – Sotiris Kyrgiakos (Liverpool)
  • 19 – Socrates Papastathopoulos (Genoa)
  • 22 – Stelios Malezas (PAOK Salonika)

Midfielders:

  • 3 – Christos Patsatzoglou (Omonia)
  • 6 – Alexandros Tziolis (Siena)
  • 10 – Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos)
  • 18 – Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos)
  • 21 – Kostas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos)
  • 23 – Sakis Prittas (Aris Salonika)

Forwards:

  • 7 – Giorgos Samaras (Celtic)
  • 9 – Angelos Charisteas (Nuremberg)
  • 14 – Dimitris Salpigidis (Panathinaikos)
  • 17 – Theofanis Gekas (Hertha Berlin)
  • 20 – Pantelis Kapetanos (Steaua Bucharest)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Giorgos Seitaridis/Sotiris Kyrgiakos

Midfield: Giorgos Karagounis/Sotiris Ninis

Forward: Giorgos Samaras/Theofanis Gekas

The Pirate Ship, a nickname given to them when they sunk Portugal at the Euro 2004 opening match, are a very defensive side, often hard to break down and very disciplined in defending their lines. This is their real chance to prove that the 2004 triumph wasn’t a fluke. I can actually see the Greece advancing at this group, but I really don’t fancy their chances.

Watch out for Theofanis Gekas, top scorer overall in Europe’s qualification phase, who can finish precisely given the opportunity. There’s also the young prodigy Sotiris Ninis, who is a good playmaker with vision and passing to boot.



Group prediction:

1st –Argentina

2nd – Greece

3rd – South Korea

4th – Nigeria

I can see Argentina dominating this group, with Greece qualifying second in the last game of the group. South Korea can be the other qualifier though, if their game against Greece goes their way. The best I can see for Nigeria is a 3rd placed finish in this group.


Well, that’s it for Group B!

Tomorrow, if I don’t get lazy, it’ll be a double header featuring Groups C and D!


FIFA Rankings taken from here. (Updated as of May 26, 2010)

Final World Cup squads taken from Eurosport.

Jersey numbers taken from Wikipedia.

FIFA World Cup 2010: Know Your Final Squads – Group A

Here we are now people! Less than 8 days to go before the biggest sporting event on the planet kicks off! What better way to celebrate the World Cup than by analyzing each and every group?

I’ll start of with Group A, which has the host country South Africa, North American powerhouse Mexico, 2-time champions Uruguay, 1998 champions France.

We start this breakdown with the hosts, South Africa!

South Africa (RSA)

Nickname: Bafana Bafana (The Boys)

Coach: Carlos Alberto Perreira

Current FIFA Ranking: 83

Previous appearances: 1998, 2002

Highest result: Round 1 (Group stage)

Captain: Aaron Mokoena

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Shu-Aib Walters (Maritzburg United)
  • 16 – Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs)
  • 22 – Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Siboniso Gaxa (Mamelodi Sundowns)
  • 3 – Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa)
  • 4 – Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth)
  • 5 – Lucas Thwala (Orlando Pirates)
  • 14 – Matthew Booth (Mamelodi Sundowns)
  • 19 – Anele Ngcongoa (Racing Genk)
  • 20 – Bongani Khumalo (SuperSport United)
  • 21 – Siyabonga Sangweni (Lamontville Golden Arrows)

Midfielders:

  • 6 – MacBeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan)
  • 7 – Lance Davids (Ajax Cape Town)
  • 8 – Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs)
  • 10 – Steven Pienaar (Everton)
  • 11 – Teko Modise (Orlando Pirates)
  • 12 – Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs)
  • 13 – Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham)
  • 17 – Surprise Moriri (Mamelodi Sundowns)
  • 23 – Thanduyise Khuboni (Lamontville Golden Arrows)

Forwards:

  • 9 – Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns)
  • 15 – Bernard Parker (FC Twente)
  • 18 – Siyabonga Nomvete (Moroka Swallows)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Aaron Mokoena

Midfield: Steven Pienaar

Forward: Katlego Mphela

The Bafana Bafana are the first African nation to host the World Cup, and will be looking use the home crowd to its advantage. Every host nation has advanced past the group stages, and its one thing South Africa might break this year, with their chances in this group rated low.

Pienaar will be carrying everything creative South Africa has to offer, and with a shaky defense and goalkeeping, added with the fact that the rest of Group A have deadly strikers, goalfests must not be allowed by the host nation.



We move on to the youthful squad of Mexico!

Mexico (MEX)

Nickname: El-Tri (The Three Colored)

Coach: Javier Aguirre

Current FIFA Ranking: 17

Previous appearances: 1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1978, 1986, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006

Highest result: Quarter-Finals

Captain: Rafael Marquez

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Oscar Perez (Chiapas)
  • 13 – Guillermo Ochoa (America)
  • 23 – Luis Ernesto Michel (Guadalajara)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Francisco Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven)
  • 3 – Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven)
  • 4 – Rafael Marquez (Barcelona)
  • 5 – Ricardo Osorio (VfB Stuttgart)
  • 12 – Paul Aguilar (Pachuca)
  • 15 – Hector Moreno (AZ Alkmaar)
  • 16 – Efrain Juarez (Pumas UNAM)
  • 19 – Jonny Magallon (Guadalajara)
  • 20 – Jorge Torres Nilo (Atlas)

Midfielders:

  • 6 – Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul)
  • 8 – Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM)
  • 17 – Giovani dos Santos (Galatasaray)
  • 18 – Andres Guardado (Deportivo Coruna)

Forwards:

  • 7 – Pablo Barrera (Pumas UNAM)
  • 9 – Guillermo Franco (West Ham United)
  • 10 – Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Veracruz)
  • 11 – Carlos Vela (Arsenal)
  • 14 – Javier Hernandez (Manchester United)
  • 21 – Adolfo Bautista (Guadalajara)
  • 22 – Alberto Medina (Guadalajara)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Rafael Marquez

Midfield: Giovanni Dos Santos/Andres Guardado

Forward: Carlos Vela/Javier Hernandez

The El-Tri will be a tough team to beat, with a combination of pace and skill at their arsenal. After struggling at the start of qualifying, the Mexicans finally found their touch and are now showing the promising skills of most of their youth. Combined with the experience of veterans Marquez and Blanco, this Mexico side has everything that it takes to win the group.

If ever Gio doesn’t play well because of his depression after his brother, Jonathan, was sent home by the Mexico staff, Andres Guardado will be there to carry the load. And with Carlos Vela and Chicharito Hernandez in front of him, it won’t be that hard of a problem for Mexico to score.



After the Mexicans, we now move on to the first ever World Cup hosts AND champions, Uruguay!

Uruguay (URU)

Nickname: La Celeste (The Sky Blue)

Coach: Oscar Tabarez

Current FIFA Ranking: 16

Previous appearances: 1930, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1986, 1990, 2002

Highest result: Champions (1930, 1950)

Captain: Diego Lugano

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Fernando Muslera (Lazio)
  • 12 – Juan Castillo (Deportivo Cali)
  • 23 – Martin Silva (Defensor Sporting)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Diego Lugano (Fenerbahce)
  • 3 – Diego Godin (Villarreal)
  • 4 – Jorge Fucile (Porto)
  • 6 – Andres Scotti (Colo Colo)
  • 16 – Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica)
  • 20 – Mauricio Victorino (Universidad de Chile)
  • 22 – Martin Caceres (Juventus)

Midfielders:

  • 5 – Walter Gargano (Napoli)
  • 8 – Sebastian Eguren (AIK Stockholm)
  • 11 – Alvaro Pereira (Porto)
  • 14 – Nicolas Lodeiro (Ajax)
  • 15 – Diego Perez (AS Monaco)
  • 17 – Ignacio Gonzalez (Valencia)
  • 18 – Egidio Arevalo Rios (Penarol)
  • 21 – Alvaro Fernandez (Universidad de Chile)

Forwards:

  • 7 – Edinson Cavani (Palermo)
  • 9 – Luis Suarez (Ajax)
  • 10 – Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid)
  • 13 – Sebastian Abreu (Botafogo)
  • 19 – Sebastian Fernandez (Banfield)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Diego Lugano

Midfield: Nicolas Lodeiro

Forward: Diego Forlan/Luis Suarez

Looking at the lineup, La Celeste’s main asset would be Diego Forlan. The gifted forward knows how to work the ball well, and with a deadly striker in Luis Suarez, coupled with Suarez’s Ajax teammate Nicolas Lodeiro in midfield, goals will not be hard to come by. Of course, the Uruguayans are ready to physically wrestle it out with the defense in order to get a ticket into the last 16.

The difference between qualifying and not would rest on Forlan’s consistency in the pitch throughout the group stages. He’s the difference maker of this country. Of course, we shouldn’t disregard captain Diego Lugano and his ability on controlling the defense and the whole team, but everything rests on Forlan’s performances.



Last, but definitely not the least, are the 1998 champions France!

France (FRA)

Nickname: Les Bleus (The Blues)

Coach: Raymond Domenech

Current FIFA Ranking: 9

Previous appearances: 1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2006

Highest result: Champions (1998)

Captain: Thierry Henry

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 – Hugo Lloris (Lyon)
  • 16 – Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
  • 23 – Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux)

Defenders:

  • 2 – Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)
  • 3 – Eric Abidal (Barcelona)
  • 4 – Anthony Reveillere (Lyon)
  • 5 – William Gallas (Arsenal)
  • 6 – Marc Planus (Bordeaux)
  • 13 – Patrice Evra (Manchester United)
  • 17 – Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla)
  • 22 – Gael Clichy (Arsenal)

Midfielders:

  • 8 – Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux)
  • 14 – Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon)
  • 15 – Florent Malouda (Chelsea)
  • 18 – Alou Diarra (Bordeaux)
  • 19 – Abou Diaby (Arsenal)

Forwards:

  • 7 – Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
  • 9 – Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos)
  • 10 – Sidney Govou (Lyon)
  • 11 – Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse)
  • 12 – Thierry Henry (Barcelona)
  • 20 – Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)
  • 21 – Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea)

Key players to watch:

Defense: Hugo Lloris/Patrice Evra

Midfield: Yoann Gourcuff/Alou Diarra

Forward: Franck Ribery/Nicolas Anelka

Les Bleus needed a world-buzzing uncalled handball by their captain Thierry Henry in order to qualify for the World Cup. A fairly unpredictable country in general, struggling in the group stage of 2006 only to finish as runner-ups. Even though the core of their squad have aged (Henry and Gallas. Vieira was not called up), their backups are ready to step up when needed.

Franck Ribery will spearhead one of the wings, with one of Chelsea players Nicolas Anelka or Florent Malouda probably playing on the other wing. Yoann Gourcuff will have the “Zidane role” of creating chances and magical moments.



Group Prediction:

1st – Mexico

2nd – France

3rd – Uruguay

4th – South Africa

I honestly don’t see South Africa qualifying and continuing the tradition of host countries qualifying for the next round, no matter how much support the crowd gives them. Uruguay would just miss out on the next round to France, who will do just about enough to qualify. Mexico will shine in the group stages by finishing first on the group.


That’s it for Group A! Hope you had a great time analyzing the lineups!

Tomorrow, of course, would be Group B!


FIFA Rankings taken from here. (Updated as of May 26, 2010)

Final World Cup squads taken from Eurosport.

Jersey numbers taken from Wikipedia.

Change in Theme!

Hello, readers.

In case you haven’t noticed, I changed themes just recently. The previous theme was getting dull in my eyes, so I decided a change was needed.

A new header will probably be made to complement the new theme, but in the meantime, I’ll make do with the simple text header.

That’s all. Thank you. 8D

P.S. I’ve got an album review coming up, and it’s gonna be my first one! Watch out for it!