FIFA World Cup: Group B analysis

27 May

Group B (April FIFA rankings):

  • Argentina (7)
  • Nigeria (21)
  • South Korea (47)
  • Greece (13)

On the face of it this group looks like a simple one to pick:  Argentina and Greece.  Both teams have history, strong players (namely Argentina), and they are highly ranked.  However, the relatively awful form of these teams heading into the World Cup has made this a far more open group than meets the eye.

Even though Argentina struggled to qualify for the World Cup (only ensuring qualification in the final round of the CONMEBOL with victory over Uruguay), they remain one of the favourite teams to win the tournament.  And given the insane amount of quality they have in their strikeforce and midfield (Messi, Agüero, Milito, Tévez, Higuaín, etc) it is hard to argue with this conclusion.  However, Argentina has felt unbalanced, and unstable, under the coaching of Maradona.

Maradona keeps an eye on the players while they train

Combined with the relative frailty of their defensive line this implies that Argentian aren’t a shoe-in for getting out of the group stage – even if they are massive favourites.

In my opinion Greece is the most over-rated team in this group, by a long shot.  The Greek squad lacks depth AND quality, and unlike previous Greek squads they are vulnerable at the back.  The one big plus for the Greek side is their physical nature – a factor that has led many to believe that they will be able to force their way past Nigeria and South Korea.  However, as the friendly against North Korea illustrated, a physical game plan doesn’t mean much when it is all you have.  The Greeks lacked quality during qualification and have looked flat in the lead up to the World Cup.  I expect them to come last in this group.

The president of Nigeria has demanded that they bring back the World cup … or at least get to the next round.  And while the Nigerian team isn’t bad on paper, there are issues.  With their new manager (Lars Largerback) only seeing them play a competitive match for the first time on Monday (against Saudi Arabia) and Nigeria consistently showing itself to be inconsistent in front of goal (even with Obafemi Martins and Yakubu) I can’t see Nigeria getting out of the 1st round.

South Korea is not expected to achieve much.  Although they topped their group in Asia (undefeated), the fact that they are generally quite a short team, lack a recognised striker, and do not have the physical presence of many European sides, has seen them written off.  However, they are the only one of these four teams coming into the World Cup on form – beating Ivory Coast, Ecuador, and Japan in their last three games.  Furthermore, even though I despise Manchester United, Park Ji-Sung is a great player – a great player who has been on form in recent months.  Combining the momentum of the team and the good form of Park Ji-Sung with the weakness of the Greek side, and general inconsistency of Nigeria, has lead me to put South Korea as favourites for the coverted second place in Group B.

So, who is going to take out Group B?

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6 Responses to “FIFA World Cup: Group B analysis”

  1. kltpatt May 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Nigeria with a coach with a Lars Lagerback- it would be difficult to take them seriously LOL

    Make no mistake- Argentina are the dark horse to sneak this tournament. The also have in their strike force Maxi Rodriguez who scored IMO one of the best goals of the 2006 FWC

  2. goonix May 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    That is an amazing strike. To think that the poor bloke is now plying his trade at mid-table Liverpool LOL!

  3. kltpatt May 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    CSF

  4. Felicity May 28, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    Epic goal is epic. Lolverpool though… poor bastard.

  5. dtaylor84 May 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    “The president of Nigeria has demanded that they bring back the World cup”

    Is Goodluck Jonothan planning to send a Mussolini esk message to the Nigerian team ala “Win Or Die” circa 1934 world cup final?

    • nolan83 May 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

      LOL!!!

      I don’t think so. It sounded like he just wanted the sound bite – then he covered it off by saying they should just try to get to the next round 😉

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