Group A: South Africa, Mexico, France, Uruguay
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.
What Should Happen
South Africa is the host nation for a historic World Cup, the first ever to be held in Africa. There is widespread joy over this and South Africa is ready. After concerns in the last couple years about whether preparations for the tournament would be completed on time, the infrastructure (stadiums, facilities, airports, etc) is all set and South Africa is ready to welcome the world.
The national team however has not enjoyed the best of preparations for the tournament, suffering through mixed results in the lead-up to the competition that has dampened expectations. Many observers believe this is the weakest host of a World Cup finals ever. That remains to be seen, but even South African fans know that their team must play out of their skins in order to avoid becoming the first host nation to exit at the Group Stage of the competition. South Africa were handed a very difficult draw in Group A as they will face off against Mexico, Uruguay, and France. Should they claim a spot in the second round, the entire nation and continent for that matter would create a wonderful atmosphere which would only serve the World Cup itself well.
TALE OF THE TAPE
FIFA Ranking: 90
World Cup Appearances: 2 (1998, 2002)
World Cup Record (W-D-L): 1-3-2
Best World Cup Finish: Group Stage (1998, 2002)
Road To South Africa: Qualified Automatically As Host Nation
It’s been 44 years since North Korea appeared in the World Cup and fans of the side will be hoping for a performance in South Africa akin to what the national team was able to do back in 1966. In that World Cup, the North Koreans shocked the world by defeating Italy 1-0 and advancing to the quarterfinals of the tournament. There the stage was set for another giantkilling as the team were 3-0 ahead of Portugal. However, the great Eusebio inspired a comeback that has gone down in the annals of World Cup history and North Korea were eventually beaten 5-3 in one of the tournament’s most memorable matches.
The odds are against such an inspiring performance this time around in a group that features three heavyweights in the form of Brazil, Portugal, and Ivory Coast. Any result against these world football giants would be a shock that would surpass the team’s exploits in England ’66. The most likely scenario will see the team play spoiler by keeping down the opposition’s scoring due to a tight defense.
TALE OF THE TAPE
FIFA Ranking: 106
World Cup Appearances: 1 (1966)
World Cup Record (W-D-L): 1-1-2
Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals, 1966
Road To South Africa: Qualified with a 2nd Place Finish in Asia’s Group 2
Hello all, welcome to the Monday Morning Kick-Off. A couple bits of business to tend to first before we dive into some hopefully interesting football tidbits.
For starters, One Game, One World will go all World Cup starting in mid-May. We are planning previews of the teams, along with news, interviews, and stories ahead of the 2010 World Cup which begins on June 11th. This is a historic tournament, the first in Africa, and it means that here at OGOW we are excited to bring you coverage of the competition before, during, and after the competition.
Of course, there will be a million media outlets to receive coverage from, but we hope you will check out our mix of traditional and non-traditional coverage for perhaps something a bit different ahead of the world’s greatest sporting event.
Ok, well off we go for today’s Kick-Off.
Yes, we have reached what is commonly known as the business end of the season in many leagues, mostly Europe. In most leagues it is a two-horse race as Barcelona and Real Madrid contest La Liga, while Chelsea is attempting to hold of Manchester United in the English Premier League. Continue reading