FIFA World Cup: Group A analysis

26 May

Group A (latest FIFA rankings):

  • South Africa (83)
  • France (9)
  • Mexico (17)
  • Uruguay (16)

Put simply, South Africa stand no chance of advancing from the group. The host nation may have sentiment on their side, along with a large fan base blowing vuvuzelas (at least those locals who haven’t scalped their cheap tickets to tourists), but these factors will contribute little at the end of the day. Neither will trying to play like Brasil. South Africa are the second-lowest ranked country at the World Cup for a reason.

France have had a well-documented tough lead-in to the World Cup, scraping past Ireland in the play-off in dubious circumstances. Domenech, the manager, has no respect among the general French populace (any respect he had dissipated when he proposed to his partner on national TV immediately after France were unceremoniously dumped out of Euro 2008). However, France got extremely lucky with their draw and are a tournament side.  The cloud of a Gallas injury hangs over the side (who was also recently involved in a buggy crash – great choice of bonding activity Domenech) and Lass Diarra is also out with a rare blood condition. Nonetheless, I expect France to qualify top of their group.

Gallas: You're doing it wrong

Thus second position in the group is most likely going to fall to Mexico or Uruguay. Their rankings suggest a similar level of quality and I am not going to take issue with that. Mexico were beaten  3-1 by a poor England side a few days ago and arguably didn’t play all that convincingly against the mighty All Whites a couple of months back (winning 2-0). Uruguay are a bit of an unknown quantity and had to rely on a playoff against Costa Rica to qualify for the World Cup after finishing fifth in CONMEBOL. In short, I don’t know enough to make a call either way. But expect one of them to be there in the round of 16.

Who do you think will top the group?

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12 Responses to “FIFA World Cup: Group A analysis”

  1. keefey May 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Let’s be honest- it would be utterly embarrassing if a powerhouse such as Les Bleus failed to qualify on top of Group A. The French (what ever sport) pride themselves on passion and have an uncanny ability to step up when it counts.

    • agnitio May 27, 2010 at 8:19 am #

      Agree. The endless opportunities it would provide to rib goonix if they didn’t would make me very happy though:)

      Who are uruguay’s main players? anyone in the PL?

      • nolan83 May 27, 2010 at 9:02 am #

        Diego Forlán, Luis Suárez: Bloody potent strikeforce.

  2. agnitio May 27, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    Ahh, yeah, Forlan is pretty awesome, not too familiar with Suarez though I have been reading about him in transfer rumours lately…

  3. nolan83 May 27, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    “Uruguay are a bit of an unknown quantity and had to rely on a playoff against Costa Rica to qualify for the World Cup after finishing fifth in CONMEBOL”

    They would have been able to avoid a playoff if they hadn’t randomly lost to Argentina in the final game.

    They have a weak defence – but they have a great attacking line up. Against a team like France, who is incapable of scoring goals, I think they should do well 😉

    “Ahh, yeah, Forlan is pretty awesome, not too familiar with Suarez though I have been reading about him in transfer rumours lately”

    Fast and clinical mate. And he plays well off Forlan (who is a stronger player).

    I really do think Uruguay will get through – especially with the poor form of Mexico in the lead up and the fact that South Africa shouldn’t really be at the WC … 😛

  4. nolan83 May 27, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/fifa-world-cup/news/article.cfm?c_id=524&objectid=10647766

    “Domenech switched to a 4-3-3 formation, dropping his usual two holding midfielders and picking Nicolas Anelka in attack.”

    This is interesting …

  5. goonix May 27, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    I think dropping the two holding midfielders is a direct result of Lass Diarra being out. There does appear to be quite a bit of experimenting going on though in the lead up.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Anelka leading the line, Henry is often used out wide for Barca and Ribéry will have a mortgage on the left side.

    As for midfield, Toulalan anchoring midfield, Gourcuff up with either Malouda (who has had a very good season) or Diaby, or maybe the other Diarra for a more defensive minded line-up.

    • nolan83 May 27, 2010 at 11:17 am #

      If France makes better use of their attacking resources, I can see them doing ok – hence why it is interesting to see them trying it out.

      Still don’t want to see them get out of the group … 😀

  6. Felicity May 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Vive la France!

  7. agnitio May 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Our blog now has its first troll.

  8. dtaylor84 May 28, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    Uruguay to top the group. Forlan and Suarez are one of the most potent strike forces in the world and they will smash both South Africa and Mexico for 3 or 4 goals apeice.

    France to make second place simply because they are France and the other teams will be either (1) overwhelmed or (2) bored to death.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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