YOOOAdrian’s 2010 World Cup Preview- Group D

AUSTRALIA

Australia is motivated and ready to embark on the agony of a crushing loss in the Round of 16 in the 2006 World Cup.  It was against Italy, and the match looked liked it was booked for overtime.  Tied 0-0 in the 93rd minute Italy earned a very controversial penalty kick.  They made the kick which propelled them to the World Cup Title.  Defense is what the kangaroos do best, and they must clamp down defensively if they want to jump into the knock-out stage.

Projected Lineup

  • GK- Mark Schwarzer
  • LB- Scott Chipperfield
  • CB- Craig Moore
  • CB- Lucas Neill
  • RB- Luke Wilkshire
  • LDM- Vince Grella
  • RDM- Jason Culina
  • LM- Mark Bresciano
  • CM- Tim Cahill
  • RM- Brett Emerton
  • CF- Josh Kennedy

Off the Pine

  • F- Harry Kewell (If back from injury)
  • M- Richard Garcia
  • D- David Karney

Formation- 4-2-3-1

Strategy

The 4-2-3-1 is built on a solid defensive mindset.  It’s a very conservative approach, but it’s gotten Australia by so far.  The duo of Neil and Moore provides the squad with a conftorable security blanket.  Grella and Cullina are stingy in the midfield, and they can get the ball out wide quickly for a counter attack.

3 Players to Watch

  1.  Tim Cahill– I’ll just say he uses his head wisely.
  2. Mark Schwarzer– An imposing precence in goal and has great fundamental positioning.
  3. Lucas Neill– He’s the leader and anchor of Australia’s tough defense.

 

(Tim Cahill)

Schedule

  • 6/13- Germany
  • 6/19- Ghana
  • 6/23- Serbia

Odds- 125-1

FIFA RANK- 20

GERMANY

In, 2006, in their home country, Germany got all the way to the Semifinals of the World Cup.  There they lost to Italy.  This German squad was looking to achieve a lot of the same success, but without their best player midfielder Michael Ballack, it will be tough. 

Projected Lineup

  • GK- Manuel Neuer
  • LB- Philipp Lahm
  • CB- Sedar Tasci
  • CB- Per Mertesacker
  • RB- Jerome Boateng
  • LM- Sami Khedira
  • RM- Bastian Scheinsteiger
  • LM- Lucas Podolski
  • CM- Mesut Ozil
  • RM- Thomas Muller
  • CF- Miroslav Klose

Off the Pine 

  • M- Toni Kroos
  • F- Mario Gomez
  • F- Cacau

 Formation- 4-2-3-1

 Strategy

Ballack is a big loss. His leadership will be missed. Even without Ballack, the midfield is still firm and crucial towards Germany’s success.  When Germany has the ball, there is instantaneous movement towards the net.  They especially like to get the ball on the left side where Ozil and Lahm are.

 3 Players to Watch

  1. Bastian Schweinsteiger-  Another member of the 2010 World Cup All-Name Team.  His last name would make for a nice beer name.  Yo bartender, let me get a Schweinsteiger in Das Boot.  On the field, Bastian is very creative with the ball and he needs to step up in the absence of Ballack
  2. Phillip Lahm- He’s a persistent little waterbug.  At only 5’5, he is futbol’s version of Mugsy Bogues.
  3. Manuel Neuer- There’s question in net.  Historically, Germany always has a solid goaltender.  It’s a little shaky this World Cup. 

(DAS BOOT!!!)

Schedule

  • 6/13- Australia
  • 6/18- Serbia
  • 6/23- Ghana

Odds-  12-1

FIFA RANK- 6

GHANA 

Ghana played in their first World Cup in 2006.  In the entitled “Group of Death” featuring Italy, Czech Republic and the United States, Ghana triumphantly got through to the next round.  In the round of 16, they lost 3-0 to Brazil.  Ghana got put into another tough group this World Cup, so it will be interesting to see how they fair.  Midfielder Michael Essien’s injury is a devestating blow to the Black Stars.

Projected Lineup

  • GK- Richard Kingson
  • LB- John Paintsil
  • CB- Isaac Vorsah
  • CB- John Mensah
  • RB- Samuel Inkoom
  • LCM- Anthony Anaan
  • RCM- Kevin Prince-Boateng
  • LM- Sulley Muntari
  • CM- Stephen Appiah
  • RM- Dede Ayew
  • CF- Asamoah Gyan

Off the Pine

  • F- Matthew Amoah
  • F- Derek Boateng
  • D- Hans Sarpei

Formation- 4-1-3-2

Strategy

The futbol universe thinks of African soccer as being naive technically.  This isn’t the case for Ghana.  Their defense is cohesive and solid, and their central midfield is still stacked well, although Essien will be sorely missed.  For an African team, Ghana is as defensive as you can get in a predominantly stout defensive Group D.

3 Players to Watch

  1. Stephen Appiah- Will he be able to vacate the position left by Michael Essien’s abscence.
  2. Asamoah Gyan- He plays with a good pace and a good finisher at the net.
  3. John Paintsil- He once got heat for taking an Israel flag out of his shorts after scoring a goal.  The flag must have been in his shorts for a while because Paintsil doesn’t score often.

(Asamoah Gyan)

Schedule

  • 6/13- Serbia
  • 6/19- Australia
  • 6/23- Germany
  •  

Odds- 66-1

FIFA RANK- 32

SERBIA 

Everyone seems to be hopping on the bandwagon.  Serbie is the trendy darkhorse pick.  This puts a lot of pressure on Serbia, will they be able to handle it?  Defensively, this is arguably the best back four in the World Cup.

Projected Lineup

  • GK- Vladimir Stojkovic
  • LB- Aleksander Kolarov
  • CB- Aleksander Lukovic
  • CB- Nemanja Vidic
  • RB- Bramislav Ivanovic
  • LM- Milan Jovanovic
  • CM- Nenad Milijas
  • CM- Dejan Stankovic
  • RM- Milos Krasic
  • LF- Nikola Zigic
  • RF- Marko Pantelic

Off the Pine

  • M- Zdravko Kuzmanovic
  • F- Danko Lazovic
  • D- Ivan Obradovic

Formation- 4-4-2

Strategy

Balance.  Not only does this team defend very well, they have talent in the midfield and up front.  Serbia relies on set-pieces, offensively and defensively.  During the qualifying rounds Serbia conceded just a single goal on a set-piece.  Offensively, they scored 8 of their 22 goals on set-pieces.

3 Players to Watch

  1. Branislav Ivanovic- Not only can he defend, he’s very adept at putting the ball in the net off set-pieces.  He had 3 in the qualifiers.
  2. Nemanja Vidic- One of the best central-backs in the world.  Ivanovic and Vidic are a fantastic duo on the right side of the defense.
  3. Dejan Stankovic- The leader, known to give it a go from deep.  Oh, and he can connect.

Nemanja Vidic of Serbia shouts encouragement during the FIFA 2010 World Cup Qualifying Group 7 match between Austria and Serbia at the Ernst Happel Stadium on October 15, 2008 in Vienna, Austria.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nemanja Vidic

(Nemanja Vidic)

Schedule

  • 6/13- Ghana
  • 6/18- Germany
  • 6/23- Australia

Odds- 66-1

FIFA RANK- 15

GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS

 1. 6/13 (10:00)- Serbia vs Ghana (Ser- 1-0)

A defensive struggle which will be won on a Serbia set piece.

2. 6/13 (2:30)- Germany vs Australia (Ger- 2-0)

Germany doesn’t lose openers.

3. 6/18 (7:30)- Germany vs Serbia (1-1)

This should be one of the better matches in group play.

4. 6/19 (10:00)- Australia vs Ghana (0-0)

Two defensive sides with not much offense.

5. 6/23 (2:30)- Germany vs Ghana (Ger- 3-1)

The German side needs a win and goals to win the group.

6. 6/23 (2:30)- Serbia vs Australia (0-0)

Serbia will control the game, but won’t figure out the Aussies defense.

 PROJECTED GROUP RESULTS

  1. Germany (7 pts)
  2. Serbia (5 pts)
  3. Australia (2 pts)
  4. Ghana (1 pt)
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