Thursday, 6 May 2010

Countdown to South Africa - Group D

Group D


Host four years ago, the German side finished in third place with striker Miroslav Klose ending up tournament top goalscorer. This time round the Germans look to go one step further this time round, they began by qualifying top of their group remaining undefeated throughout the campaign. The main news released just last week is that of first choice goalkeeper Rene Adler and centre midfielder Simon Rolfes out of the World Cup completely. Finally the national squad had to comprehend with the death of the man competing for the number one jersey; Robert Enke. The Germans still have the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Phillip Lahm, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez leading the charge.

Manager: Joachim Low

Jurgen Klinsmann’s assistant from 2004 through the 2006 World Cup campaign, until he was given the reigns once Klinsmann decided against renewing his contract after 2006. The 50 year old managed Germany to runners up at the 2008 European Championships, and has a well structured set up currently in place, and can expect to be amongst the favourites for the 2010 tournament.

Key Player: Michael Ballack

The German poster boy has played for over 11 years and has 98 caps. The man who wears the number 13 shirt has more runners up medals than any other International, but he is still one of the most vital components to the German machine. One of the most respected midfielders in Europe, expect this to be the 33 year olds last major tournament.

Best Finish: Winners 1954, 1974, 1990

Since 1982, Germany has always at least reached the Quarter Final stage of the World Cup. They are the quintessential big tournament team, and cannot be ignored.

Prediction: Semi-Finals

I expect the Germans to win the group, and the next two games, but fall short once again.


The best team and highest ranked team (20) outside Europe, Africa and the America’s. The Australian’s had an excellent qualifying campaign, qualifying without losing a single game and only conceding one goal. A lot of the players ply their trade in Europe and are quite well known. The likes of Lucas Neill, Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella, Brett Emerton and Harry Kewell are now all on route to Australia’s third World Cup campaign.

Manager: Pim Verbeek

The 54 year old Dutchman has established his managerial career in Holland, and has been assistant manager of different nations include South Korea and United Arab Emirates. Apparently known for his two holding midfielders and lone strikers, they will look to dominate possession and frustrate teams at this year’s tournament.

Key Player: Mark Schwarzer

The Fulham keeper has been sensational this season, helping his side reach the EUROPE League final. The 37 year old has fought off competition from former team mate Brad Jones to still be considered Australia’s number one. Expect him to have a good tournament and be the last line of defence for the Oz. Look out for star midfielder Tim Cahill also.

Best Finish: Second Round

2006, Fabio Grosso’s dive which won them a late penalty, 95th minute in fact, and condemned Australia to defeat. A bitter taste left in the Australian’s mouth, as they will now look to exact revenge.

Prediction: Group Stage

I believe it will be close, but if the Australian’s aren’t up for the fight then they could possibly end up bottom of the group.


The White Eagles surpassed all expectations and had a sensational qualifying campaign, finishing top of the group, above the likes of Romania, Austria and most impressively France. Standard Liege striker Milan Jovanovic helped the cause scoring 5 goals through the campaign. Serbia seperated from the dual nation Serbia and Montenegro in 2006 and this is their first World Cup as Serbia itself. The Serbian side boasts an array of exciting players including Branislav Ivanovic, Gojko Kacar, Bosko Jankovic, Dejan Stankovic, Aleksandro Kolarov, Zoran Tosic, Nikola Zigic and many more. They are an exciting nation and have every chance of shining at this World Cup.

Manager: Radomir Antic

The experienced Serbian had established his career in Spain’s La Liga with the likes of Real Zaragoza, Athletico Madrid, Celta Vigo, not to mention both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. He has the tactical knowhow and has experience working with big name players. He has been in charge of Serbia since 2008.

Key Player: Nemanja Vidic

The Manchester United defender was brilliant in the 2008/09 season, but has been hampered by injury this season. He is still however, regarded as one of the best defenders in Europe, and could probably fit into again team he chooses. A future national team captain.

Best Finish: Fourth Place 1930, 1962 (As Yugoslavia)

Prediction: Group Stage/Quarter Final

It’s a tricky one. The Serbian side has excellent potential and could be dark horses. It’s between them and Ghana to Progress.


The West African side have an array of hard working powerful players, and warmed up for the World Cup by finishing as runners-up in the African Cup of Nations. The Black Stars qualified top of their group, 3 points clear on Benin. The squad boasts the likes of captain Stephen Appiah, experienced players such as John Pantsil, John Mensah, Eric Addo, Sulley Muntari and Matthew Amoah. The Ghana side also has some exciting prospects including Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Dominic Adiyiah, David Addy and Anthony Annan.

Manager: Milovan Rajevac

Somewhat of a strange appointment, the 56 year old has only managed the big clubs in Serbia, but he has made a good impression so far with the Ghanaians. According to he is a strict manager, fine tactician and has excellent defensive management. The Serbians nationality should add extra spice to the tie with the White Eagles.

Key Player: Michael Essien

The Chelsea midfielder played on one leg in the African Cup of Nations, and has missed most of the season with Chelsea through a knee injury. However he is expected to be fit and make up the extra dynamic in midfield needed to drive Ghana forward. He has 51 caps for Ghana.

Best Finish: Second Round

The finished second in their group at the 2006 World Cup, and had numerous chances to score and cause an upset against Brazil, but unfortunately ended up losing 3-0.

Prediction: Group Stage/Second Round

They are somewhat of an unknown quantity, and the lack of firepower has always been a concern for the Black Stars, but the Ghanaian’s have a strong defence and powerful midfield, can help compete effectively against the likes of Serbia and Australia for second spot.

Coming Soon: Group E

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