YOOOAdrian’s 2010 World Cup Preview- Group B

ARGENTINA

Diego Maradona is going to have to use his hand of god to achieve ultimate success in the World Cup.  The critics in Argentina have been brutal towards Maradona, especially after an embarrassing 6-1 drubbing to stinkin Bolivia. 

There’s also the Messi factor.  While he shines out in the European League, historically he hasn’t quite been able to hurdle the hump in international competition. 

 Projected Lineup 

  • GK- Sergio Romero
  • LB- Gabriel Heinze
  • CB- Walter Samuel
  • CB- Martin Dimechelis
  • RB- Nicolas Otamendi
  • LM- Angel Di Maria
  • CM- Javier Mascherano
  • CM- Juan Veron
  • RM- Jonas Gutierrez
  • LF- Gonzalo Higuan
  • RF- Lionel Messi

 Off The Pine 

  • F- Carlos Tevez
  • F- Diego Milito
  • M- Javier Pastore

Formation- 4-4-2 

Strategy 

There’s not much to Maradona’s style of play.  His team is built from the defense forward.  While most of the world today has their back four push forward, Maradona does not want any of his players past the midfield line.  Offensively, Lionel Messi seems to be the only player who has been given the freedom to roam freely. 

 

(Lionel Messi)  

3 Players to Watch 

 

  1. Lionel Messi- The best player in the world, but will he finally hex the distinction of not showing up on the national stage
  2. Gonzalo Higuan- Maradona kept passing up on this guy, but all he does is score goals. 
  3. Walter Samuel- Simply known as “The Wall.”

 

 Schedule 

  • 6/12- Nigeria
  • 6/17- South Korea
  • 6/22- Greece

Odds- 9-1 

FIFA RANK-

 GREECE 

 

 In what seems like a long, long, long, long, long, time ago, Greece won Euro 2004.  The Greeks finished 2nd in their qualifying group behind Switzerland, and struggled to extinguish Ukraine in their playoff.  There’s no big star on this squad, but then again name the star on the 2004 Euro Champion team.  This is only the 2nd World Cup appearance ever for Greece.  Their 1st was in 1994. 

 Projected Lineup 

  • GK- Alexandros Tzorvas
  • LB- Nikos Spiropoulos
  • CB- Sotirios Kyrgiakos
  • CB- Vangelos Moras
  • RB- Loukas Vyntra
  • LM- Alexandros Tziolis
  • CM- Kostas Katsouranis
  • RM- Giorgos Karagounis
  • LF- Georgios Samaras
  • CF- Fanis Gekas
  • RF- Dimitris Salpigidis

 Off The Pine 

  • F- Angelos Charisteas
  • M- Angelos Basinas
  • M- Sotiris Ninis

 Formation- 4-3-3 

 Strategy 

 Greece plays a defensive 4-3-3 where they rely much of their scoring on set pieces.  It’s a squad that doesn’t have great strikers, so they like to stay back and counter attack when they can. 

 3 Players to Watch 

  1. Fanis Gekas- For a team that struggles to find the back of the net, Gekas had 10 of the teams 21 goals during qualifying.
  2. Giorgos Karagounis- He has excellent set-piece delivery to a team that relies on set pieces.
  3. Alexandros Tziolis- A vintage Otto Rehhagel midfielder; tall, defensive minded, powerful shot for set pieces and good when the ball is in the air.

 

(Fanis Gekas)  

Schedule 

  • 6/12- South Korea
  • 6/17- Nigeria
  • 6/22- Argentina

 Odds- 150-1 

FIFA RANK- 13 

 NIGERIA

The injury bug is the main story thus far during the pre-lude towards the World Cup.  Nigeria was hit substantially as one of their Super Eagles got their wings clipped, losing their top player and leader in the midfield John Obi Mikel.  Out of the 6 African nations in the cup, Nigeria seemed to have the easiest draw to advance to the round of 16.  The hopes were high, but without Obi-Mikel, the Nigerian fans are not so optimistic. 

 Projected Lineup 

  •  GK- Vincent Enyeama
  • LB- Taye Taiwo
  • CB- Danny Shittu
  • CB- Joseph Yobo
  • RB- Chidi Odiah
  • LM- Sami Kaita
  • CM- Dickson Etuhu
  • RM- Kalu Uche
  • LF- Victor Obinna
  • CF- Ayegbani Yakubu
  • RF- Peter Odemwingie

 Off the Pine 

  • M- Nwankwo Kanu
  • F- Obafemi Martins
  • F- Chinedu Obasi

 Formation- 4-3-3 

 Strategy 

Without Obi Mikel, who will step up and be the playmaker in the midfield.  Like Uruguay, the strikers are solid, but who is going to get them the ball.  Their defense is solid. 

 3 Players to Watch 

  1. Peter Odemwingie- He will be the key if the Eagles will soar into the next round of play.  He’s a pacey and energetic fella who could provide the spark Nigeria needs.
  2. Kalu Uche- Without Mikel, this is the go to guy in the midfield.  He scored 9 goals in 28 games for Almeria in Spain this past year.
  3. Nwankwo Kanu- A legend and a former 2-time African Player of the Year.  This will be his last World Cup.

 

(Peter Odemwingie) 

 Schedule 

  • 6/12- Argentina
  • 6/17- Greece
  • 6/22- South Korea

 Odds- 80-1 

FIFA Rank- 21 

 SOUTH KOREA 

 

The 2002 World Cup semifinalists are in their 7th World Cup in a row.  The South Koreans have won just once on foreign soil during their World Cup history, that came in 2006 in a win against Togo.  In 2002, the World Cup was played in Japan and South Korea.  This team has talent, and 2nd place is up for grabs. 

 Projected Lineup 

  •  GK- Lee Woon-Jae
  • LB- Lee Young-Pyo
  • CB- Cho Yong-Hyung
  • CB- Lee Jung-Soo
  • RB- Cha Du-Ri
  • LM- Park Ji-Sung
  • CM- Kim Jung-Woo
  • CM- Ki Sung-Yong
  • RM- Lee Chung-Yong
  • LF- Lee Kuen-Ho
  • RF- Park Chu-Young

 Off The Pine 

  •  F- Lee Dong-Gook
  • M- Kim Dong-Jin
  • M- Kim Do-Heon

Formation- 4-4-2 

 Strategy 

This is a team built on stamina.  They attempt to beat opponents with their work ethic.  The midfielders are extremely flexible as they can push up or play back.  There is a lot of pressure on the forwards as South Korea has struggled to score goals.  The team does have fantastic chemistry. 

 3 Players to Watch 

  1. Park Ji-Sung- He’s nicknamed “Three Lung Sung” because of his astonishing stamina on the field.  He is undoubtedly the team leader.  Sung is versatile as he can play anywhere in the midfield.
  2. Ki Sung-Yong- He’s just 21 years of age and one of Asia’s blue chippers.
  3. Park Chu-Young- He’s the poster boy for South Korea, but he needs to put the ball in the net.

 

(“Three Lung Sung”)  

Schedule 

  •  6/12- Greece
  • 6/17- Argentina
  • 6/22- Nigeria

 Odds- 200-1 

FIFA RANK- 47 

GAME-BY-GAME Picks 

 1.      6/12 (7:00)- Greece vs South Korea (1-1) 

Greece scores on a set piece as South Korea’s Park Ji-Sung will make a play to set it up for Park Chu-Young 

 2. 6/12 (10:00)- Argentina vs Nigeria (Arg- 3-0) 

Argentina needs to make a statement to the rest of the world. 

 3. 6/17 (7:30)- Argentina vs South Korea (Arg- 2-1) 

South Korea will play them tough, but Lionel Messi will do something special to win it and pick up 3 points for Argentina. 

 4. 6/17 (10:00)- Greece vs Nigeria (1-0 Nig) 

The Greeks continue struggling to score.  Odemwingie wins it for Nigeria 

 5. 6/22 (2:30)- Nigeria vs South Korea (2-2) 

This should be the most entertaining match of the group as there will be constant action and some goal scoring. 

6. 6/22 (2:30)- Argentina vs Greece (1-1) 

Argentina’s already won the group.  They’re just going through the motions in this one. 

 PROJECTED GROUP RESULTS 

 1.      Argentina (7 pts) 

2.      Nigeria (4 pts) 

3.      South Korea (2 pts) 

4.      Greece (2 pts)

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