Saturday, 26 June 2010

A Look At The World Cup: Part One

With the World Cup now taking centre stage in the sporting world, it's clear that everyone's eyes are solely fixed on their respective nations matches and players, while the fans and media are scrutinising every managers tactics and every decision.

Now the world's premier sports competition has reached its most exciting part, the knockout phases, there are just 16 teams left in the competition, with 16 teams on the plane back home (including 2006 finalist's France and winners Italy).

Let's look at the second round line up:

Uruguay VS South Korea



The Uruguayans finished top of Group A, with two wins against South Africa and Mexico, while drawing on the opening night of the tournament against France. The Uruguayans impressed many in the group stages with their attacking prowess and the front three combination of Luis Suarez, Edison Cavani and key man Diego Forlan. Also dont discount the no nonsense defending from Diego Lugano and Diego Godin, plus the safe hands of Fernando Muslera helped Uruguay qualify without conceding a goal.

Key Man

Diego Forlan

The Athletico Madrid hitman has had another excellent in Spain, and has managed to transfer this form onto the international scene. He has played all 3 games so far, scoring two goal and was voted man of the match for his performances against South Africa and France. He could be the difference on the day.

South Korea


The South Koreans somewhat failed to live up to the 2002 hype at the previous tournament, but make no mistake they have definitely been one of the most consistent and efficient teams on display at this years competition. They finished runners up in their group behind Argentina, after beating Greece and earning a somewhat lucky draw with Nigeria. The only blemish in the group was a 4-1 defeat to Argentina.

Key Man

Park Ji-Sung

The Manchester United midfielder is the key man for the national side, and his performances so far have done nothing but increase his reputation as a very hard working and professional individual. I have been very impressed with him so far, and believe he is an excellent leader of the South Korean squad.


I believe Uruguay are the favourites for this match, and will duly deliver. The South Korean's were heavily beaten by the last South American side they faced, and Uruguay play a similar attacking style to the Argentines, and the front three should be too much for Park Ji-Sung's team to handle. Uruguay 2-0 winners.

USA vs Ghana



The American's comfortably topped Group C, although they left it quite late against Algeria to collect the top spot. Another hard working team, which are very resolute although not being the best technical team, but that American tenacity is what has helped them fight back to earn draws with England and Slovenia, and win the group.

Key Man

Clint Dempsey

England fans will be familiar with Dempsey, not only because he helped Fulham reach the Europa League final, but it was his tame shot that Robert Green spilt into the net in the opening group game. The big bustling striker can cause the Ghana defence problems with his agility and technique, while shutting down his attempts on goal is a must.



What can be said about the Ghana team? The most effective and complete African team in the competition, they seem to have a strong sturdy defence, solid goalkeeper, hard working midfield, attacking flair, but the only thing missing is that goalscorer.

Key Man

Asamoah Gyan

Asamoah Gyan has been excellent so far, scoring two penalties, but he cannot do it all alone. He needs a bit more help upfront, and the Ghanaian attackers need to take their chances if they are to advance. Gyan has impressed many with his agility, pace and skill. He is a very good player, and can cause the USA defence many problems.


The Ghana team had many chances against Germany, and still lost, and against a ten man Australia, only drawing. However Ghana are a very good collective unit and should be able to beat the USA team as long as they take their chances. 1-1 Ghana win 2-1 after extra time.

Germany vs England



The German side impressed with an opening 4-0 win over ten man Australia, but subsequently lost to Serbia 1-0, and then struggled to overcome a stubborn Ghana side, eventually winning 1-0. The German's attacking is not what people are use to seeing and it has come at somewhat of a shock, but it has somewhat subsided in the last two games. If they regain this form, they can succeed, and beat the English.

Key Man

Miroslav Klose

The German striker is one of the top goalscorers in World Cup finals history, and continued impressing by scoring in the first game. However the 32 year old was sent off in the second game against Serbia for two yellow cards and missed the win against Ghana. He will now be rested and raring to make up for lost time against England. Linking up with Mesut Ozil, will be a deadly combination and one which could damage Fabio Capello's men.



A terrible stuttering first two games in the group, with a needlessly shaky last 20 minutes in the final match made the England term look.. well.. Very English. Poor performances, then one good performance and England have done the hard part, getting out of a relatively easy group. Now they can play with no pressure, and take on an old foe.

Key Man

John Terry

The Chelsea defender has been rock solid for England, and I'm starting to gain a little bit of respect back for the double winning captain. He will need to give his all, as he always does, for the team when they face the Germans in order to combat the free flowing football they have displayed so far. Also of just importance is the goalkeeper David James, who has made the side look a lot more safe and secure with him behind the defence.


A battle with the Germans is billed as the big match game, but the English media have not been hyping the match as previous games so far, for the simple reason; the English are the underdogs. This is probably the smartest way to approach the game, as England are underdogs and there is less pressure on them. England to win 1-0 in full time, Wayne Rooney goal.

Argentina vs Mexico



Despite an awful qualifying campaign, Argentina popped up out of nowhere to become everyone's favourite's to collect the trophy once they saw Diego Maradona's attacking options. Diego Milito of Inter Milan, Gonzalo Higiuan of Real Madrid, Martin Palermo of Boca Juniors, Carlos Tevez of Man City, Sergio Aguero of Athleico Madrid and of course Lionel Messi of Barcelona. They finished top of Group B, beating Nigeria, South Korea (convincingly) and Greece to finish the group with maximum points, scoring seven goals and only conceding one goal.

Key Man

Lionel Messi

Currently the best player in the world, he has performed very well in this World Cup so far without really hitting top form. Expect him to unlock a defence if need be, and being single handily able to win a game when required.



In a group whereby after the first round of games, it seemed anyone could top it, the Mexicans drew with the host nations South Africa in the opening game, then took advantage of a terrible France team to win 2-0 to book their place in the second round. A final game defeat to Uruguay prevented the Mexicans from topping the group.

Key Man

Giovanni Dos Santos

The young Tottenham player has failed to live up to the hype he received while playing at Barcelona, but started this World Cup really impressively and has used his attacking flair and ability for fashion many chances for the front two.


2-1 Argentina win. Mexico are a tricky outfit, and could definitely cause an upset as they have met Argentina many times, and have somewhat of a good understanding of the South Americans. But scoring is not something which Gullie Franco, Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez have done freely at this tournament. While I believe Argentina could be got at defensively, the attacking prowess should see them through.

Stay tuned for Part Two, which will come on Monday.


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