- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On November 19, 2009
- 4 Comments
- 2010 World Cup
Yesterday ended the long and difficult road that is World Cup qualifying. The 32-team field is set and while we won’t know until next month what the groups are it does present a good time to discuss each team and how they got there.
(Note: I hope this is a start of many more World Cup posts going into next year. I plan on doing as much coverage of the World Cup as I possibly can and I hope you enjoy it as well.)
Denmark: This group only lost once in a group that few expected them to win. That win over their rivals Sweden was definitely the icing on the cake for the Danes. As we saw yesterday against the US they are a strong side that has the ability to do some damage.
England: Fabio Capello’s side was rather consistent through qualifying. They won nine games out of 10 which is never that easy to do in Europe. Many believe they have a great shot going into next year’s World Cup.
Germany: Two wins over Russia helped sealed their path to the big dance once again. Their home play was dominate as usual.
Italy: For a defending champion their qualifying wasn’t the best to watch but they got in nonetheless. That last match to Cyprus was down right ugly.
Holland: Steamrolled through qualifying as they wrapped things up super early, well before any other team did.
Serba: Held off a strong France side to win their group. I think this is a country that could shock some folks next summer.
Spain: Didn’t give up a single goal at home during qualifying and some argue they were the best side during the entire qualifying round. All I know is I don’t want to be in a group with them.
Slovakia: Won their group thanks to a win over Poland, which gave them their first birth to the big dance.
Switzerland: Won their group thanks to a late draw in qualifying. Still rather impressive losing only once during qualifying and getting by Greece was no easy task.
Greece: Speaking of the Greeks they clinched yesterday over the Ukraine. Winning in Donetsk was shocking to some but this side is stronger than they lead on to be.
Slovenia: Incredible win over Russia to go through. Just don’t get confused between them and Slovakia though.
Portugal: They did it without Christiano Ronaldo to get through but one has to hope this side improves on a lack-luster qualifying round next summer.
France: Yes the handball got them through over the Irish but let’s not hang on that goal too long if we can. The French will need an improved game next summer if they want to get out of the group stage as most teams will gun for them thanks to that handball.
Brazil: Rolling through qualifying like most would expect them to. They did struggle a bit from home but who doesn’t in South American?
Paraguay: They shocked a lot of folks by getting in but when they make the most of your home games in qualifying you usually find a way to get in.
Chile: First World Cup bid since 1998 and they did it with loads of goals away from home. Just gotta wonder if that will carry over next summer in South Africa.
Argentina: We know the issues they had qualifying but Maradona’s men got it done on the final day when it mattered most. We have to hope it gets better than what we saw over the last year and a half though out of this bunch.
Uruguay: Beat Costa Rica in the playoff to get in. Not entirely sure if this is a squad from South American that we should worry about or not yet.
USA: Got a big road win in Honduras but made the most of things at home through qualifying to get in. Bob Bradley has his work cut out for him though to get out of the group stage this time around.
Mexico: Started off rocky in qualifying but got their act together when it mattered most.
Honduras: All the thank you cards have been sent to the US for helping them get through in the most dramatic of fashions. This squad is good but will they prove it on a big stage?
Ghana: Very good side at home during qualifying. No doubt we will continue to see this side improve in the coming years.
Ivory Coast: Didn’t lose once on their way to returning to the World Cup.
Nigeria: Some questioned whether or not they’d be able to qualify this time around but when you win 9 of 12 qualifiers across a couple group stages you will most certainly get in.
Cameroon: Slow start was followed by a strong finish in qualifying. Got to wonder if that will only pick up next summer.
Algeria: Had an extra game to prove they deserved to be in the World Cup. They certainly proved that they deserved to be in over rivals Egypt yesterday in that one game playoff.
South Africa: Gotta wonder what kind of side we will see out of this bunch next summer? The one that did fairly well at the Confederation’s Cup or the one that failed to qualify for the African Nation’s Cup.
Australia: The Aussies are back in the World Cup after a strong qualifying round. They have to improve on their road play though as they only scored two goals away from home.
Japan: Finished behind the Aussies in group play but managed to qualify nonetheless.
South Korea: Looked good in qualifying by not losing a game.
North Korea: Got through thanks to goal differential after they came in second behind their neighbors to the south. First World Cup since 1966.
New Zealand: The All Whites got through over Bahrain last weekend. They did what Australia use to do in Oceania qualifying and that is roll through the group stage.