Saturday, June 5, 2010

2010 World Cup Preview - Group G & H

On the last day of the 2010 World Cup Preview, I'll introduce to you Groups G & H. In my opinion, Group G stands out as my "Group of Death," but its not nearly has harsh as previous years. If you're just tuning in, here are the links to the Group A & B, Group C & D, and Group E & F previews.

Group G
Brazil - World Ranking: #1. Everyone's favorite, the "Yankees" of the World Cup is searching for their 6th World Cup Title. Their roster is an all-star list of players including Kaka, Robinho, and Luis Fabiano.

- World Ranking: #3. Despite Cristiano Ronaldo's goal drought throughout qualifying, I see these guys putting up a fight. I highly recommend watching their matchup with Brazil (for obvious reasons). Ricardo Carvalho will be working the back line, too.

Ivory Coast
- World Ranking: #27. A late pick-up of a Sven-Goran Eriksson to manage and hopefully save this team after it has already qualified could be risky. It doesn't help that Didier Drogba has a hernia injury that he won't have operated on until after the World Cup, so Eriksson might have his hands full. Other players that should stand out include Salomon Kalou, striker, and, Emmanuel Eboue in the midfield.

North Korea
- World Ranking: #105. This team is a long shot. In this Group, all they have is a prayer. If you end up watching these guys, I assume its really to watch Brazil, Portugal, or Ivory Coast, but Hong Yong-Jo might stick out.

PICKS: Its hard to not have Brazil and Portugal coming out of this group. Brazil #1, Portugal #2, thanks to the goal differential tie-breaker.

Group H
Spain - World Ranking: #2. Despite being ranked #1, this team did lose to the US during semifinals of the Confederations cup last year. Fernando Torres has a nagging knee injury, Cesc Fabregas is also nicked up. I'll probably keep an eye on Xavi feeding crisp passes to David Villa up front.

- World Ranking: #24. If the Swiss play their cards right, they could be heading into the knock-out stage. Watch out for midfielder, Tranquillo Barnetta.

- World Ranking: #38. Nabbing the 3rd spot out of CONCACAF, they'll have a tough time if their star striker, David Suazo, doesn't recover from a muscle injury in his right leg.

- World Ranking: #18. Despite getting hit by a devastating earthquake at the end of February 2010 and a little drama between FIFA and the Chilean league, it looks like they'll be there, though I can't see them going far. Player to watch: Humberto Suazo, Striker.

PICKS: Spain will be the clear front-runner out of Group H. Who follows them is a tough call. I see a lot of the world hoping that Chile makes, but this isn't a fairy tale. The Swiss is my pick. Spain #1, Switzerland #2.

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