Sunday, 22 November 2009

WC2010: Whos Going? (Part 3)

A few more while I have the time.. For these guys I'll start talking about their Group Stage draw etc, but I doubt I'll be going back to edit the others.


So we've all seen how France eventually qualified, winning in extra time against the Republic of Ireland with a, lets just say, dubious "goal" from true professional Thierry Henry. Not too much point going into detail about this, but Henry cheated, he should have been caught. It's a shame as it was a sickening way for Ireland to be eliminated, and on such a grand stage, a blatant foul like that has to be spotted.

Now France themselves, Raymond Domenech is in charge just now, but after what was a disappointing qualifying campaign (despite actually qualifying...) it is still to be seen whether Domenech will actually be the man in charge come June 2010. I am actually quite interested to see how France will fare this time around, still they have bags of quality, and if they can start performing to their potential they will do well in South Africa.

France were drawn into Group A, alongside hosts South Africa, Uruguay and Mexico. Tricky group but I'm sure Domenech and the squad will be pleased to avoid some other tricky sides.

Star Man: Nicolas Anelka

In the form of his life just now, an on-form Anelka is absolutely key to France's success. Leading the line with Henry and Benzema, France in truth do have a very impressive forward line.

Player to watch: Hugo Lloris

Will be one of the top keepers in South Africa. Keeping goal has been a somewhat problematic position for France in the past while, Landreau has yet to meet his potential, Coupet was just not up to scratch, and now Hugo Lloris has arrived to save the day.

Great shot-stopper, great command of his area, and a mistake is rare from him. Top player.

Prediction: Quarter finals. Got the team to go farther, got the lack of team spirit to be stopped at the groups or second round. Quarter finals is the most likely outcome for Les Bleus


They were finalists in Euro 2008, and generally do well in the World Cup, so you would be excused for thinking Germany are in with a shout for winning. In truth this is a team with a few problems, only increased by the tragic death of first choice goalkeeper Robert Enke.

Their qualifying was quite straightforward though, remaining unbeaten in their group with Russia, Finland and Wales. Germany have some big time players and will always be tricky to beat for ANY side, but with integral players like Ballack coming out and saying he doesn't think they have a chance of winning, don't expect too much from them.

Germany are placed in Group D alongside Serbia, Australia and Ghana.

Star Man: Michael Ballack

Top player and has been for many years. Extremely gifted technically, and as the captain really has to run the team from the centre. Ballack is one of those players that if he were to be injured, Germany's chances would dwindle further.

Player to watch: Mesut Ozil

Ozil, 21, has been coveted by the German national set up for years. The exciting Werder Bremen attacking midfielder has been drawing admirers from all around the footballing world this season with some virtuoso performances. He is a firm favourite in Bremen, comfortably filling the void left by Diego. Ozil is already being tipped by journalists (and the man himself) as Ballack's natural heir in the national team, and he possesses all the qualities to become a world-class no.10. Amazing first touch, great vision, and an explosive turn of pace make him a very very tricky customer.

Prediction: In truth, Germany have a deceptively tough group which they will have to work very hard to get through. However if they do make it as expected, I can see Germany exiting in the Quarter Finals.


A team for the future, Ghana made a really good impression on the footballing world with their resilient showing at WC2006 in Germany. Currently competing in the African Cup of Nations, Ghana have been plagued with injuries making their campaign tougher than usual. But they do have some classy players and with everyone fit, their starting line-up is a daunting prospect to play against with the likes of Essien, Muntari, Appiah, Gyan etc.

Ghana find themselves in group D, facing Germany, Serbia and Australia.

Star Man: Michael Essien

Essien is certainly the most famous of players in the Ghana squad, and alongside Muntari and Appiah in midfield, it gives Ghana a fantastic engine room from which to power the team.

I've always been a massive fan of Essien, always used to watch him at OL and when I said he would be world-class, he didn't let me down at Chelsea. Fabulous player.

Predictions: Strong team, but if they make it through the group I would expect a second-round exit.

More soon!


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