World Cup Preview: Group A

World Cup Preview: Group A

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 1, 2010
  • 2010 World Cup, France, Group A, Mexico, South Africa, World Cup 2010

Sebastian Abreu will lead Uruguay in Group A. (Getty Images)

Its hard to believe but the 2010 FIFA World Cup is less than two weeks away. We know our roster here in the US and other counties have released their rosters as well. Time to get excited if you aren’t already.

Geoff Reid and I will be going through each group to give you a preview of the tournament. I’ll tackle half the groups while he handles the other half. Today we begin with Group A, a group that could end up being one of the most competitive groups in the entire field. The hosts were drawn into this group back before the groups were all made up back in December. At the draw South Africa learned they’d get France, Mexico and¬†Uruguay¬†in their group.

A host nation has never failed to get out of the group stage in the World Cup. Most believe South Africa will be the first that fails to move on this year. Having three tough teams in their group it is easy to see why. France is a former champion, Mexico has always been tough and Uruguay may be one of the most underrated teams in the entire tournament.

Here is a quick look at each team:

South Africa: You have to wonder if home field advantage even matters. But in years past when a host was given a small chance to move forward into the knockout stages teams surprised us. The US moved forward in 1994, and both South Korea and Japan did a in 2002. On some levels most figured none of those three would have done so much like most would believe that South Africa won’t this year. But let’s not sleep on the South Africans here, they’ve had some solid matches this year leading up to the Cup including a 1-1 road draw in a friendly against Paraguay. They also won 2-1 against Colombia. The key for the hosts will be getting well-timed goals against teams with lots of pressure like France or Mexico to move on.

France: In some ways you can argue they are lucky to be here. They coasted into the World Cup thanks to some real shaky and at times questionable qualifying. But to me France is like a veteran team in the NFL or NBA that knows when to turn it on in key moments. They’ve looked so-so in friendlies leading up to this event with one more on the way this weekend against China. To me France will likely get out of this group but it won’t be pretty.

Mexico: El Tri is a tough cookie to crack. Usually they do well at the World Cup but in a group like this I think it will be a tough couple weeks on them. Looking at their recent results you can’t be all that impressed with them. Anyone remember that 0-0 draw with Iceland. The thing is Mexico has played more friendlies to prepare for this tournament than anyone else in the field. I worry about their focus though and their draw in the tournament isn’t too favorable. They open with South Africa which will likely be a very emotional game for the host nation. While I don’t think they’ll lose to South Africa, winning that match won’t be easy.

Uruguay: When the draw came out back in December this quickly became one of my dark-horse teams. Any team that can go into Costa Rica and get a win like they did to qualify is tough in my book. They’re deep up top and will put a lot of pressure on the French in the opening game. My bet is most teams will look for a draw against them due to their attack, or hope for mental errors in the back to score goals.

Group A Predictions:

I’ve gone back and forth between France and Mexico on this but I believe Uruguay will come out on top followed by France thanks to goal differential with Mexico. South Africa will be the monkey wrench in this group as I see them giving both France and Mexico fits.

1. Uruguay 7pts
2. France 4pts
3. Mexico 4 pts.
4. South Africa 0 pts.