2010 World Cup Preview: Group D

2010 World Cup Preview: Group D

  • Posted by Geoff Reid
  • On June 4, 2010
  • 2010 World Cup, Australia, Geoff Reid, Germany, Ghana, Group D, World Cup 2010

Injuries are an issue in Group D, just ask Germany about them. (Getty Images)

By Geoff Reid

Group D didn’t have that necessary appeal that other groups had as the draw was made with the average person believing Germany would cake walk through this group with a three way battle for second place and a shot at the last 16. That was until German captain and best player Michael Ballack went down with an injury playing in the FA Cup Final for Chelsea a few weeks ago. Arguably you can say the loss of Ballack has evened the playing field. We’ll soon find out.

Germany: As mentioned already with Ballack’s injury someone will have to take his place, and Germany is not short on quality players. The problem is none of them are of Ballack’s quality. His injury leaves a big hole in central midfield next to Bastian Schweinsteiger and the most likely partner for the Bayern Munich man is Hamburg attacking midfielder Piotr Trochowski. Up front has been Miroslav Klose’s position the last two world cups, but his lack of form and playing time for club has raised questions about whether he should be starting for Die Mannschaft. The Bayern striker has always been right on the money and scored goals for the national side at exactly the right times in the past, and the question is can trainer Joachim Low afford to overlook him? It looks as that may be the case after not choosing goal scorer Kevin Kuranyi for walking out on the team in 2008, even after scoring goals for fun in the Budesliga this past season for Schalke. Lucas Podolski has also has the same question marks, but has always shown up for the three time world champions. Either way, Deutschland has always known how to win any way they possibly can, even if they don’t deserve it, and that’s a confidence they’ve had for many years.

Australia: It’s hard to get your head around this 2010 edition of the Socceroos. The starting 11 pretty much picks itself. A big difference today compared to 2006 is Guus Hiddink is not the manager anymore, and the squad is lead by another Dutch coach who was assistant under Hiddink at South Korea in 2002, Pim Verbeek. Verbeek has the squad built for the defensive 4-2-3-1 formation and solid foundation. The question will be who will score the vital goals without a natural striker? Former Liverpool and current Galatasarray attacker Harry Kewell should be the player up top by himself with help expected from Everton’s Tim Cahill, Blackburn Rovers’ Brett Emerton, and Palermo’s Mark Bresciano. All four players are very capable of scoring goals, but aren’t out and out strikers. The Aussies have natural talent for sure, but do they have enough to get through this group?

Ghana: Just like Germany, Ghana lost an edge with having Michael Ballack’s Chelsea teammate Michael Essien officially ruled out of the world cup a few weeks ago. No doubt it is a big blow to the Black Stars, and most people in Ghana thought their chances of reaching the knockout phase were reasonably good until that news broke. This also may lead to a formation change for coach Milovan Rajevac, instead of playing a 4-1-3-2 with Essien in the lineup, a straight 4-4-2 might be better with Inter Milan’s Sulley Muntari and Udinese’s Kwadwo Asamoah in central midfield? In defense, the squad looks weak, and while they can still get through the group stages, the loss of Essien looks like it may just be too great for these guys.

Serbia: The Serbians and Yugoslavs before them always had the same problem: Plenty of talent, but never came together as a team. Will this be the year that all that changes? Manger Radomir Antic is charged with making that happen and this has to be the best chance of that happening in a long time. So much talent at Antic’s disposal that includes Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic, Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, Inter Milan’s Dejan Stankovic, and new Liverpool signing Milan Jovanovic. The front pairing seems to balance well in that Ajax striker Marko Pantelic who’s technically gifted and can be prolific, who is complimented by Valencia’s Nikola Zigic who has an impressive work rate and a magnificent team ethic. This team could be this world cup’s dark horse.

Prediction: Even with the loss of Ballack, the Germans have enough to overcome and get out of this group, most likely as winners. However, I can’t see the same for Ghana. With Australia lacking an out and out goalscorer to compliment their attacking talent, I see Serbia emerging from this group along with Germany.

Germany 7pts
Serbia 5pts
Australia 3pts
Ghana 1pt