2010 World Cup Preview: Group F

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, Slovakia, New Zealand

The Lowdown

Reigning World Cup champions Italy head Group F alongside Paraguay, Slovakia, and New Zealand. The Italian side will look to win back-to-back World Cup titles, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Brazil did so back in 1958 and 1962.

Paraguay are becoming perennial World Cup participants and will also feature in Group F. After a disappointing first round exit in Germany, the Paraguayans will want to at least get out of this group.

They will be challenged by Slovakia, a team making their first World Cup appearance (first since the break-up of Czechoslovakia). New Zealand back at the tournament after a 28-year absence round out the teams in a quite appealing group.

 

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2010 World Cup Preview: Group E

Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Cameroon, Japan

The Lowdown

Group E at first glance appears to be all about the battle for second place. The Netherlands are easily the team to beat and will be favored to stroll through the group. Bert Van Marwijk’s team enjoyed an easy qualifying campaign and have been in imperious form in the friendlies leading up to South Africa.

The Netherlands will open up against Denmark, the Danes being no pushover when it comes to World Cup play. In fact, in three previous Cup appearances, Morten Olsen’s side have never failed to advance to the Round of 16.

Cameroon still holds the record for best ever finish by an African team at the World Cup and the Indomitable Lions will hope to repeat or better their quarterfinal appearance from the 1990 World Cup.

Japan meanwhile are in their fourth consecutive finals and will be hoping to advance to the knockout stage for only the second time, the first being in 2002 when they co-hosted the tournament with South Korea.

 

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2010 World Cup Preview: Group D

 

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

The Lowdown

This group has been called by some observers as the real group of death. It features a clear favorite in Germany, however all of the four teams in Group D will have aims on advancing to the knockout rounds.

As stated, Germany are the top-seeded team in Group D and even without the injured Michael Ballack are the side to beat from this section. Australia are back at the World Cup after giving a superb account of themselves in Germany four years ago. Serbia finished atop a very difficult qualifying section in Europe and enter the tournament hoping to improve on their poor performance at the 2006 finals. Ghana meanwhile are one of the strongest African sides, though how they manage to deal with the loss of their captain Michael Essien could perhaps determine how far they go in South Africa.

 

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2010 World Cup Preview: Group C

 

 

 

 

 

Group C: England, USA, Slovenia, Algeria

 

 

 

 

 

The Lowdown

Perennial World Cup contenders England are the top-ranked team in Group C. Fabio Capello’s side are amongst the teams talked about as potential winners in South Africa and while expectations are always high when England compete at a World Cup, there is enough quality in the squad to suggest that this team have what it takes to go far.

The United States are looking to rebound from a group stage exit at the 2006 World Cup. Landon Donovan leads a U.S. team that looks primed to repeat their heroics of the 2002 World Cup where they made it to the quarterfinals.

Slovenia are back at the World Cup after an 8-year absence. There are no stars like Zlatko Zahovic this time, however this is arguably a stronger, closer knit team that won’t have the unnecessary drama of the 2002 side.

Algeria qualified for South Africa thanks to a play-off victory bitter rivals Egypt in Sudan back in November. Rabah Saadane has put together a good mix of domestic talent and French-born/French-based players as Algeria return to the competition for the first since 1986.

 

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2010 World Cup Preview: Group B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece

 

 

The Lowdown

Another difficult group to call in this World Cup. The clear favorite is Argentina, though Diego Maradona’s side had a tumultuous qualifying campaign that only saw them clinch a spot to South Africa on the final day of matches. Nigeria, South Korea, and Greece are all harboring hopes of being the second placed team in the group.

Nigeria are a physical side who can boast some top attackers though they are a team that has been inconsistent in recent years. South Korea look primed to finally make a splash at a World Cup on foreign soil, while Greece hope to recapture the spirit of 2004, when the team came out of nowhere to win the European Championship.

Group B is certainly one of the groups that could go all the way to the end of the third matchday before we see who advances. It is one of the less talked about groups, however there is certainly plenty of intrigue here.

 

 

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2010 World Cup Preview: Group A

Group A: South Africa, Mexico, France, Uruguay

The Lowdown

Group A is one of many intriguing groups in this World Cup where the top two places will really be fought over. Traditionally the hosts are handed a favorable draw, however South Africa received no such favors this time around as Carlos Alberto Parreira’s side were dealt a difficult section. France may have squeaked in just, however they will be the favorites in this group. That is not to say that Mexico and Uruguay won’t be fighting it out for the top two spots. South Africa is arguably one of the weakest hosts in recent memory, but no host has ever failed to qualify for the knockout round so history is on their side.

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World Cup Coverage Continues

Many thanks to all of you who have visited the site recently. We have enjoyed record-breaking numbers for our little site and your visits really make us want to work even harder to bring you quality football coverage. We have completed the 10 previews of the bottom-ranked teams at this World Cup (according to the FIFA Rankings) and now we are glad to bring you more coverage of the 2010 World Cup in the days and weeks ahead.

We will be breaking down each group ahead of the World Cup opener on June 11th. In addition to analysis and some of our own World Cup predictions, we will be bringing you World Cup Morning Kick-Offs before and during the tournament.

In addition of course we will continue bringing you the off-beat stories you have come to expect by visiting us here. Enjoy the coverage and as always we look forward to hearing from you in our comments section.

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