FIFA World Cup: Group E analysis

1 Jun

Group E (April FIFA rankings):

  • Netherlands (4)
  • Denmark (36)
  • Japan (45)
  • Cameroon (19)

Outside of Group F (which has my team, perennial strugglers New Zealand [ed or maybe not following the result against Serbia  …], in it) Group E is the most exciting group for me.

Like a number of other groups, first and last appear clear in Group E.  More than likely topping this group, unbeaten, will be the Netherlands.

The Dutch were the first European team to qualify for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, winning all 8 of their group games.  Even more importantly, they only conceded two goals.

The quality of the Dutch strikeforce has been apparent since Euro 2008, when their electric performances took them to the last 16 – where they conceded twice in extra time to lose to Russia.  I remember watching that game and thinking how frustrating it was that such a good squad had just thrown it away.  However, over the past two years their defenders have continued to play together with Bronckhorst, Ooijer, Heitinga, and Mathijsen forming an increasingly impressive backline.  Even as their defence has improved, the attacking acumen of their strikers and attacking midfielders has grown – compare Van Persie, Robben, and (to a degree) Sneijder to the players they were two years ago!

The Dutch should not only clean up this group, but go the whole way in the tournament as long as:

  • Van Persie and Robben don’t break down,
  • The defensive line doesn’t experience spontaneous brain explosions.

Whatever you guys are doing, DO NOT get injured doing it!

While these things occur far too often for the Dutch – I am relatively certain they won’t happen until a knockout round – as a result, the prediction of the Dutch topping this group holds 😉

At the other end of the spectrum is Japan.  The Japanese team has looked devoid of creativity and has lacked that cutting edge in front of goal – a severely problematic issue when you are a team relying on pace and counter attacking play to get anywhere.  In their last three games they have conceded six goals and, apart from Keisuke Honda, no-one has been playing with much intent.  Although the narrow loss to England will provide them with some hope, the close result came off the back of England playing poorly, not Japan playing well.  As a result, Japan is destined to hold up the bottom of this group.

This leaves us with Denmark and Cameroon.  Both squads have their share of quality, and yet both squads have looked subdued coming into the tournament.  While the market is just backing Cameroon to snake second spot, I’m leaning towards Denmark.  The reason for this is GOALS.

Now don’t get me wrong, the best thing about the Danish team is their defence, not their attack.  Sorenson (who I’m assuming will be back from injury) has been in spectacular form between the sticks, Agger is a technically gifted defender, and even though Kajer is out injured Kroldrup provides a ready made replacement (given that he was the first choice defender less than a year ago).  However, with Bendtner, Tomasson, and Rommedahl at the front, the Danish team will be able to put away the occasional goal.

And this is where Cameroon has struggled recently.  They have scored once in their last three games, two goaless draws (against an aging Italian side and lowly Georgia) and a 1-1 draw with World Cup virgins Slovakia.  Even following a lacklustre season at Inter, Eto’o is the Indomitable Lions greatest goal scoring threat – and he is talking about leaving the squad.  Overall, unless Cameroon can pull their finger out the Danish are going to push their way into second spot in this group.

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7 Responses to “FIFA World Cup: Group E analysis”

  1. dtaylor84 June 1, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    In regards to the Netherlands attacking talent… dont forget my personal favourite Dutchy’ Rafa Van Der Vaart. Sure, he’s played fuck all games for the circus that is Real Madrid last season, but that just means he’ll be fresh to carve up, and when he did play he was miles better than Kaka 😉

    • nolan83 June 1, 2010 at 9:55 am #

      He is a quality player, and a regular starter for the national side.

      But it was between mentioning him or Sneijder – and Sneijder is electric 😀

  2. goonix June 1, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    Definitely one of the easiest groups to pick a winner from imo. RvP had a slight injury scare but I think he has come through.

    • nolan83 June 1, 2010 at 9:55 am #

      Indeed – unlike Group G 😛

  3. agnitio June 1, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    I still dislike Robben after his dive when Reina touched his face.

    Other than that I love the Dutch. I also loved the use of the word “electric” 🙂

    I also think the Danish will take second.

    • nolan83 June 1, 2010 at 11:43 am #

      That made me angry – very angry. However, I have to admit that he is an amazingly good player. At least when he isn’t injured or being a f**kt**d

      • agnitio June 1, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

        I don’t for a second dispute his skill, just like C Ronaldo that doesn’t mean I like him:)

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