Questions Going Into Friday

Questions Going Into Friday

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 9, 2010
  • 2010 World Cup

Will Spain win it all? (Getty Images)

I think it is safe to say that work production over the next few days are going to be down, a lot…maybe even as much as the first few days of the NCAA Tournament in March. Most of us are looking forward to Friday and the vast majority of us are looking forward to Saturday even more.

But going into the World Cup I have a few questions that need answered surrounding the entire tournament. Feel free to answer them as you see fit below, and if you’d like even pose your own questions. Let’s get the discussion going up folks.

1. Can Spain actually win it all?

Of course they can, but honestly I’d be shocked if they did. Its not a matter of being overrated because the Spanish side is a good one. History is against them though as no team entering a World Cup as the number one rated team has ever won the entire thing. They’re a bit banged up too and if they face a hot team in the knockout round that is tough as nails in the defense department you could see them fade away just as they did against the US in last year’s Confederations Cup.

2. Should we even consider Italy to repeat?

You have to think the Italians will do fairly well in this tournament but just like most European teams I just don’t like their chances. I honestly believe they’ll have a tougher time in the group stages than most people do. Paraguay and Slovakia will be tough tests and we really have no idea what we’ll get out of New Zealand either. Italy starts off with a real tough task in the opener against Paraguay, one that we could see them stumble in.

3. Is it Brazil’s to lose?

The last few World Cup’s Brazil has won every other World Cup. They didn’t do it in 2006 so we should easily consider them to do so in 2010 right? Absolutely, though their road won’t be easy. Their group is a rough path but also their potential quarterfinal match with the Netherlands could be rough. The firepower isn’t there nearly as much as we’ve seen in the past but I’m a big supporter of what they do in defense. They seem to defend better with each game, which should lead them to the finals in this tournament.

4. Is England set up to fail?

It should be England’s year, their group is by far one of the easiest (yes even with the US in it) and after that their road shouldn’t be all that terrible even if they finish in second place and have to face Germany in the next round. But with all the injuries and issues with this side one has to think this will be a bigger let down of a tournament for them. It really truly boils down to how well Wayne Rooney plays. Its like that Nike commercial, if he shows up it will be all the glory, if not things will go real bad for England in a hurry.

5. Is Group G really the Group of Death?

I know I get suckered into it each time out but the more I look at it the real Group of Death in this field isn’t Group G, its Group D. Germany, Serbia, Ghana and Australia make a more complete and deeper group than Group G. If you think about it you could easily see just about any of those four win Group D and not be totally shocked by it. In Group G it is deep with Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast but it also boasts one of the worst teams in the entire field in North Korea. We’ll still be in for a big battle between those main three but there’s no way we’d ever expect North Korea to advance if they weren’t in this group. Hell I’m not entirely sure they’d advance if they had home field advantage.

6. How will the African teams actually do?

No African team got a good draw, let’s throw that out there right now. Cameroon may have got the best draw even though they are in a group with the Netherlands. Injuries leading up to the tournament are playing a bigger factor for teams from Africa than anywhere else. I still believe the Ivory Coast has a good shot to make a deep run in this tournament even with the injury to Didier Drogba.

I also don’t buy into this home-continent advantage stuff. The only team that should have any advantage is South Africa. None of the other African sides are geographically close to South Africa on a map, most of them are closer to Europe.

I do think we’ll get an all-African matchup in the knockout stages with Cameroon and the Ivory Coast squaring off, but that prediction may be a bit of a reach at this point.

7. How will South Africa (geographically and weather wise) affect these games?

Some games are at high altitudes  and others aren’t. The weather shouldn’t be a big factor even though its winter time in South Africa. Also don’t sleep on the travel schedules of some counties here too. The US lucked out in how far they have to go between games while others weren’t as fortunate. You have some teams that have to start out at sea level and then go to their next game in altitude (or vice-versa).

The thing that could impact the games could be the annoying sound of a vuvuzelas. Boy I wish those got banned.

8. What exactly will we get out of Argentina?

I think if I had to pick one country other than the US to watch in these games it would be Argentina. Not necessarily because of Lionel Messi, but more because of Maradona. What Maradona does well as a coach is takes the pressure off his players by either making an ass of himself to the press or just saying something random.

We know this team will go as far as Messi takes them. So far he hasn’t quite shown that he’ll step up on a big international stage. If his coming out party happens this month on that big stage you can bet Argentina could be lifting that shiny gold trophy at the end of things.

9. Will history repeat itself with the outcome?

By this I mean will a non-European team win this Cup due to it not being on European soil? So far no European team has won away from “home” while in every non-European hosted World Cup a South American side has won the event (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay).

I think it is safe to bet on a non-European team winning. Its probably even safer to bet on a South American team winning it all too. The African teams all got bad draws so don’t expect them to win it all or even go that deep. The Asian sides are fairly weak for the most part and the CONCACAF teams are a bit of a wild card (mainly the US and Mexico here).

What I do think will happen is a bit of a shock but that is my heart speaking. My mind just continues to lean towards Brazil or even Argentina taking home the title. If I had to bet money on any European team winning it would actually be Germany, even with the injuries.

10. One underrated team that could go far?

One team that scares the life out of me for the US is Serbia. Don’t be shocked if the US has to face them in the knockout stages. Serbia is a team that is highly dangerous and one that not a lot of folks are talking about here. I wouldn’t put it past this team to make it to the semi-finals.