World Cup Group Stage Thoughts

World Cup Group Stage Thoughts

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 16, 2010
  • 2010 World Cup

Germany looks like a possessed team. (Getty Images)

So as of a few minutes ago every team has played at least one group game in this World Cup. A lot could be taken out of it and a lot stands to change in the next round of games starting this afternoon.

So far only a couple countries look remotely like contenders so far, even that may be a stretch. With most games ending 1-0 or in a draw it was obvious most clubs were looking for a point to start out the tournament. Teams that did play a little more open saw results while others just got lucky in the end.

The Favorites

The usual suspects in Brazil, Italy, Spain, Germany and Argentina all looked different in their openers. Italy and Spain failed to impress as the defending champs had to battle back to draw Paraguay. Spain had the possession against Switzerland but the Swiss used the American template of how to beat the mighty Spanish attack.

Brazil and Argentina looked alright. There were times in both matches that we could have seen a slip in play by each of them but they still both got favorable results.

Then there was Germany who absolutely dominated their opener against Australia. The biggest result so far, 4-0, was impressive by this young German squad. I thought they’d be good coming in but I didn’t think they’d blow someone out of the water like this. For Australia it shows that that 3-1 win for the US wasn’t a fluke.

The Surprises

South Africa showed up and got a draw in the opener and really has impressed as a host.

Folks are complaining more about the weather than the adidas ball. Though the complaints about the ball will continue as this tournament goes on I believe. Its winter there though so we shouldn’t expect 90 degree weather.

The Swiss beating Spain today was a surprise but a pleasant one indeed. It shows that if you follow how the U.S. beat Spain a year ago in the Confederations Cup that good things can happen.

South Korea could be one of the more shocking teams in this tournament. Also don’t sleep on Japan either. It comes to show that we know nothing about these Asian teams until the tournament actually starts. Most of us (including myself) were counting these teams out from the start but each showed up and got results. Kudos to WVH writer Geoff Reid for his predictions of South Korea doing well in this group, he was dead on.

The US

I won’t go too into  USMNT here right now as I’ve already discussed the draw against England on here. But again we have to feel good about where this team is at right now. Sure our next match is against the current group leaders in Slovenia but this is a game the US should win and likely will win. It won’t be easy as the Slovenian defense is one tough cookie to crack but the speed of the US attack should break it down. Something Algeria lacked in the opener.

African Teams

So far its so-so from the home continent’s set of teams. Ghana got a nice result against Serbia; South Africa got a point; and Ivory Coast did well to get a draw against Portugal. But Cameroon and Algeria failed to get anything out of their openers. I still think Cameroon will get points in their group, though it won’t be easy against Denmark and Holland. Algeria on the other hand looks like a team that could potentially end up in last in this tournament with no wins and a lot of questions.

The Ball

A lot of discussion about the ball has been done already. I won’t bore you with more though I do think the ball is effecting the scorers and not the keepers here. I also think weather and altitude are playing a bigger factor than the ball but that may just be me.

Look the games were low scoring in the first set of matches because teams didn’t want to expose themselves and set up a disaster like Australia did in the first game. You give up a bunch in the first game like that and your tournament is over as quickly as it got started. Teams will begin to open it up more today and into the weekend, count on it.

The initial nerves should be gone and now its time to get down to business.