Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Countdown to South Africa - Group C

Group C


One time winners, England have never seemingly reached the dizzy heights of 1966. No thanks to indifferent managers, bad luck and inconsistencies have blighted England’s World Cup aspirations. The English media continuously build up England before every major tournament, heaping unnecessary pressure on the team. This time it’s no different, now being called the “Golden Generation”. Again silly quotes, but to be honest the media doesn’t dictate what happens on the football pitch. With Fabio Capello in charge, England do have a good chance to go far, but now the problem is their over reliance on striker Wayne Rooney. England need to work together as a team, rather than individuals, they could certainly cause an upset.

Manager: Fabio Capello

A disciplinarian, with a tactically astute mind for football, Capello has managed some of the top clubs in Europe; including the likes of Real Madrid, Roma, Juventus and AC Milan. The Italian commands the upmost respect and has instilled much needed discipline within the squad, which should be beneficial for all.

Key Player: Rio Ferdinand

The Manchester United centre back has been handed the captains armband after it was finally revoked from the shameful John Terry. A player with plenty of experience, a numerous Premiership title winner and a Champions League winner with his club, and a veteran of two World Cups, he now needs to show his excellent leadership and ability on the biggest stage.

Best Finish: Winner 1966

Everyone in the world knows about this, so let’s not elaborate! All we can say is another winner on home soil, in an infamous 4-2 win over rivals over West Germany.

Prediction: Quarter Finals/Semi Finals

They could make it far, but they will need the rub of the green, with Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard all performing well.


The American’s are a very tricky side and showed this in an excellent Confederations Cup campaign. The likes of Clint Dempsey, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay Demerit and Jonathan Spector all play in England and should be more than use to the way in which the game is played over here. The likes of Maurice Edu, and the tricky pacey winger DaMarcus Beasley both also play quite local, playing in Scotland with champions Rangers. The American’s also qualified superbly winning their group ahead of fellow finalists Mexico and Honduras.

Manager: Bob Bradley

The 52 year old from New Jersey, has been the boss since 2006, and will be coaching at his first World Cup.

Key Player: Clint Dempsey

For me he is one of the best players and most underrated players in the Premiership. He has been vital for Fulham this season, and helped reach the club maintain its mid table position and more impressively, reach the EUROPA League final. Dempsey has good technique, control and an eye for goal. Expect him to help the USA fire their way to the second round.

Best Finish: Third Place 1930

Prediction: Quarter Final

I believe the United States will be dark horses and manage to go quite far in this tournament. I believe they will give England a run for their money, but end up group runners up, losing finally in the Quarter Finals.


They qualified in acrimonious circumstances against African Cup of Nations winners Egypt, beating them in two-legged qualification match due to them having exactly identical points, goals scored and conceded tallies. Ranked number 27 in the world.

Manager: Rabah Saadane

The 62 year old has managed Algeria four times before and is now in his fifth spell after taking over in 2007. If anyone knows Algeria, its him.

Key Player: Madjid Bougherra

The former Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday player, is now a cult hero as well as a key player to the back to back Scottish Champions Rangers. He can player Centre Back, Right Back or Centre Midfield, and has 40 caps for Algeria since making his debut in 2004.

Best Finish: Round 1 – 1982 and 1986

Prediction: Group Stage

I feel there aren’t enough big name players in the Squad to qualify. I expect them to prop up the table.


The Slovenian national team are currently ranked number 23 in the world, and they finished runners up to neighbours Slovakia in the qualifying campaign. A familiar name is that of the International captain Robert Koren, who plays for West Bromwich Albion, along with up and coming young player Rene Krhin who plays for Inter Milan and is highly rated by Jose Mourinho.

Manager: Matjez Kek

He has been in charge of the national side since 2007, after spending 6 years in charge of Slovenian top flight side Maribor.

Key Player: Samir Handanovic

The 24 year old, 6ft 4in goalkeeper plays for Siena in Italy, and is one of the busiest and most consistent players in the League. He has played over 100 times for Siena, and made 38 appearances at International level, and will be the Number One in South Africa.

Best Finish: Group Stage 2002

Finished bottom of the group with zero points losing to South Africa, Paraguay and Spain.

Prediction: Group Stage

Again, no enough quality players to cause any real impact. Will be battling with Algeria for the Wooden Spoon.

Next Up, Group D

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