Friday, November 20, 2009

The World Cup field of 32 nations is set. The next big date is December 4th 2009. The group draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be staged in Cape Town, South Africa. Let take a quick look at the teams and who can take a run.

Asia(4)— Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea.
The top team from Asia is the team that came from the Oceania Confederation, Australia. Australia changed confederation since the Oceanic was such a pitiful confederation. In the 2006 Oceania final round of 6 Australia was 4-1-0 (W-D-L) and the had 21 GF and 3 GA. This only qualified them to a 2 game playoff with Uruguay. They lost 1-0 in Montevideo and won 1-0 in Australia. This playoff had to go to a shootout which the socceroos won. They moved to Asia and again came in first in qualifying with 20 points. It is a lot easier to get one of 4 slots in Asia than to compete for the .5 Oceanic slot. If one Asian team can go deep it will be Australia.
Africa (6) — Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa (host) The African nations will be playing on their continent for the first time. This should give all the African teams a boost. The Ivory Cost I consider the top team followed by Nigeria. S Africa I have last however every nation will want to be in the group once groups are picked.
Europe (13)— Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland. It is usually a European team or a South American team that win the World Cup and it should be no different here. The favorites have to be Spain, England, Netherlands and Germany. However any team can win it. Greece won a European Championship. Denmark just toyed with USA in a friendly. France and Italy have won World Cups….could it be Portugal’s year?......
South America (5)— Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay. Brazil and Argentina always make the World Cup and this tournament is no different. I find it odd that ½ the teams from CONMEBOL make the tournament. I think UEFA is stronger but they only get 13 slots with 53 teams competing. Regardless about my pet peeves Brazil and the rest bring flair to the game that otherwise would be dominated by European teams….so good for them. It is always interesting how these perform on the big stage. These are 5 quality teams that could get through the group phase. Brazil is the Favorite in this group.

CONCACAF (3) — Honduras, Mexico, United States
This is the confederation that I follow. My confederation that the Yanks are in. I only rank CONCACAF above the Oceanic confederation. CONCACAF is top heavy and the competition drops off. Mexico has advanced out of the group stage in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006. That is 4 in a row. Mexico has small players however the pressure cooker that the soccer players face prepares them for the World Cup. They live with this pressure everyday. We are all waiting for the Yanks to advance deep however with injuries to Davies and Gooch make them vulnerable. You have to score to advance so look for goals from Landon Donovan. Honduras is happy to be in the big dance. Competing and scoring will be big. Advancing will be tremendous.

Oceania(1)— New Zealand do not want to be imbarrassed.....

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