Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 World Cup Preview: Group G

As we continue the World Cup Preview circuit we bring you to group G. Here is the same standard intro. Blah.

Sitting here and trying to tell all of you that we have any idea about what is really going to go on in the World Cup would be a total and utter lie. I might watch soccer a few times a year but I really do try and get into the World Cup, because I love my country. This year we are working with Ian from The Steelers N'at to get a preview together. Between tonight and Thursday we will preview two groups a day and hopefully give you some incite. We teamed up for the Olympics and it was a good experience and I learned a lot about it so Ian and I decided to do this again. Like the previews for the Olympics we will make some predictions at the end which will most likely go terribly, terribly wrong.

My preview is going to continue with Group G.

Group G

Brazil
Ivory Coast
North Korea
Portugal

When you think of the World Cup since it started in 1930 it is Brazil. Brazil has five World Cup titles and has appeared in the top four 10 total times. They missed out on a top four finish in 2006. This might be a sign that Brazil is coming back down to the rest of the group in terms of talent. This group is kind of divided between the best and really some of the not so best in soccer. The top half looks as if it is Brazil and Portugal ranks #1 and #3, respectively, in the FIFA Rankings while Ivory Coast checks in at 27th and North Korea checks in at 106th. I am bettering on North Korea knocking off Brazil. Book it.






Brazil

Like I said earlier, Brazil is the cream of the crop when it comes to World Cup soccer. That being said Brazil is going to be the favorite to come out of the group. Brazil has one of the best players in the world in Kaka, but he has been saddled with some nagging injuries that he sustained with Real Madrid. Even if he isn’t 100%, as he says he will be, everyone will pay attention to him just the same because the world knows he is the best and that he can win games by himself, as hard as that is to do in soccer.

Brazil is very strong in goal and with their defensive units. In the World Cup qualifying the Brazil defensive squad (that includes goalkeepers) they let up only 11 goals in 18 matches. That is pretty legit if you ask me.

While the defense is tough as nails the forwards and strikers are just as dangerous. To go along with Kaka Gilberto Silva and Luis Fabiano lead the chard. Silva is the hard working mid and has played on the 1994 World Cup winning team. Fabiano brings the threat of scoring every time he touches the ball.

Brazil is also the only country to appear in the World Cup every year since it started in 1930. Should be interesting for Brazil.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is impressed with Brazil






Ivory Coast

When I think of the Ivory Coast I think of soap, not of a nation and a soccer team, but maybe that is just me. This is only Ivory Coast’s second ever appearance in the World Cup, with the first coming in 2006 where they finished 1-0-2. Although Portugal and Brazil are both top five in the FIFA rankings Ivory Coast could make a run at getting into the round of 16. Playing in their hometown is a big deal for the team and they have been very public about letting everyone know that they want to make some noise for the home fans.

You might not like Ivory Coast at all (how can you, really?) or not really care about them but take a look at standout striker Didier Drogba. Dude broke his arm in a match against Japan and he is going to play in the World Cup, with a broken frickin arm. If that is not bad ass enough for you then I have no idea what would be.

The midfield duo of Yaha and Kolo Toure is going to led the unit to try and keep some goals off the board. It kinda sounds like they should be sumo wrestling in some contest or eating a live chicken, which might help. I heard sacrificing a live chicken by eating it whole is actually good luck, I think. With goaltending considered to be their weakest link it will be up to Kolo and others to push the issue on the offensive end to give them a chance.

Ivory Coast has been dubbed the best team in Africa so it will be interesting to see if they can live up to the bill or if they are just going to fold under the pressure. The players know what is at stake here and Ivory Coast has the talent, but they are up against some very good teams. We will see.

Ivory Coast automatically gets a win for this little diddy. Note the kid coming off the plane in a “U” shirt.






North Korea

I have a better chance of playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers than North Korea does of winning the World Cup. Come on, lets be serious. This is not going to be a very good team and if they get a win in this group I would honestly be surprised. Sure in 1966 they played in the quarterfinals but the only problem with that is that it is not 1966.

Things aren’t that great in North Korea when it comes to soccer. Behind the rule of Kim Jong-Il the North Korean people watch state-run media. With that kind of media they are only going to get results if the North Koreans win. Wow, just wow.

Hong Young-Jo, a 27 year old captain, is going to be a player to watch for the North Koreans. He scores some big goals and will be there big threat on the pitch. There are some others players that might be good but whatev.

Nothing more to say.

If you find yourself lost in North Korea you might want to watch this if you get hungry



No idea what that was even about. I guess you can eat if you can point at pictures. Monkeys should be ok there.




Portugal

Portugal is a pretty good team. There, I said it. I guess Portugal makes some good wine so I would probably like them. I mean I am not a big wine drinker, but I can appreciate a good glass. I mean good wine takes a long time to make and if you can get a good glass…wait, what, we are talking about soccer? Oh, right, my bad.

Before we get to the actual soccer part take a look at a few of these Portugal fans:



I like. Go Portugal

Anyways, Christiano Ronaldo is pretty well known in the soccer world, huh? He did not play very well due to some injuries in the qualifying run but he still commands a lot of the defenses attention so naturally that is going to leave some openings for some of their other talented players to make plays.

Pretty impressive stat for the Portuguese is that during the latter half of the World Cup Qualifying round they went 6-0 by outscoring opponents 10-0. That is right, in their final six qualifying games they had six shutouts.

That being said they are in the “Group of Death” which is never a good thing to hear when you are playing in pool play. You might think that just because this team is ranked so high in the FIFA ranks that they should move on but the Ivory Coast is going to be a tough out, especially since IC is playing in their home continent.

If you like solar things, go here.




Cory's Predictions: Brazil moves on pretty easily, Ivory Coast comes close but I want to use that picture again when we do the knockout round preview or something we might do. Who knows. Portugal is second.

Ian's Prediction: Ivory Coast got a really bad draw with Brazil and Portugal in their group. Getting them is like Northern Iowa getting an 8 seed and having to play Kansas in the 2nd round-oh wait. Yeah, it's not going to happen. As much as I'd like to see an African team succeed in Africa, it's not going to be the Ivory Coast out of this group. Brazil and Portugal move on.


Editor's Note: Ian actually picked Real Madrid to win this group. After I informed him that this is the World Cup he then picked Kazakhstan. I then told him that this isn't a movie and he then picked Donkey from Shrek. I think Ian was high. I just picked random words from his other previews and blindly picked teams. You are welcome Ian. Now your soon to be wife doesn't have to know you toke it up at "work"

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