Monthly Archives: June 2010

Predictions – June 26th Round of 16: Uruguay v S. Korea and US v Ghana

I’ve seen the first round.  Its time for the crystal ball to start speaking in specifics.

S. Korea will beat Uruguay by 2 goals if they score first.  They are too quick on the wings for Uruguay, who struggled against France’s speed in the first half and then weren’t really tested for the rest of the group matches.  S. Korea will corral Diego Forlan and Uruguay doesn’t have the speed or height to test them (maybe Lugano gets a goal off a set piece).

Prediction: S. Korea 3 Uruguay 1

Potential scorers: Park Chu-Yong, Park Ji Sung and Lee Chung-Yong; Suarez.

U.S. / Ghana match is tougher to call.  I will go with the U.S.’s experience to pull this out.  I think Ghana is too young to pull out a close match with the pressure of representing Africa likely to weigh on the young players the longer it goes.

Prediction: U.S. 2 Ghana 1

Potential scorers: Clint Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra

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World Cup 2010 – post group play final thoughts

Most of the slots played out as I thought.  Biggest surprise to me was Serbia not beating Australia to go through.  Close on its heels was Italy getting turned over by Slovakia.  However, the big European teams recovered well enough as Germany, England and Spain all got through.

Players of the advancing teams so far:

Uruguay: Diego Forlan.  Mexico: Gio Dos Santos (though I still haven’t figured out how Blanco is still getting it done – he’s a freak of nature).

USA: Landon Donovan (though I’m feeling Altidore in the last two games and of course Howard’s been a rock).  England: Ashley Cole (slim pickings here).

Holland: Wesley Sneijder (but if it were impact per minutes played, it would be Elia).  Japan: Keisuke Honda.

Brazil: Robinho.  Portugal: Tiago (would have given it to Meireles if he hadn’t used his off foot to miss the chance against Brazil).

Paraguay: Team (though I’m partial to Nelson Valdez).  Slovakia: Robert Vittek (wake up Hamsik – there’s a World Cup going on; almost gave this to Strba for being a true man and gutting out a major knee gash in the Italy game).

Argentina: Messi.  South Korea: tie between Park Chu-Yong and Lee Chung-Yong (Park Ji Sung’s been good, but we expect that of him).

Spain: David Villa.  Chile: Jean Beausejour (love that Alexis Sanchez though)

Teams that have shocked me by how well they have played and my dark horses for the tournament are Chile and Japan.  Don’t be surprised if Chile pulls one on Brazil.

Players I’d buy today – Alexis Sanchez hands down and Ozil second.  Sir Alex – these are the only two you need right now.  Forget everyone else.  Plus they’re both under 22 years old.  Can’t ask for a better pair.  Sanchez might just be the best dead ball dribbler in the tournament – Messi needs a rolling ball to do you.  Sanchez can just juke you out of your socks by gyrating over a dead ball.  Plus, he’s fast, aggressive and strong.  Sign him up Fergie.  And for anyone looking for a left winger – not United since they have Nani – I can’t believe they haven’t signed Beausejour.  He plays for Club America – he should be in Europe.

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Predictions before the Final group games

Group A: Mexico and Uruguay will go through.  I believe Mexico will beat Uruguay for top spot, thus avoiding Argentina

Group B: Argentina and S. Korea go through.  Nigeria might beat S. Korea, but I’m thinking goalless or 1-1 draw.  Nigeria is currently -2 in goal difference while S. Korea is -1, so if Nigeria beat S. Korea, they are through.

Group C: England and the US will go through.  England will beat Slovenia and Rooney will score – guarantee it.  The US will fumble around but beat Algeria to go through.

Group D: Ghana and Serbia.  I’m picking an upset.  I don’t believe Germany will be able to beat Ghana while Serbia will beat Australia.

Group E: Netherlands and Japan.  I think the Danes are too loose in defense and Japan is going to score on the break.  They were tough against the Dutch and I think Denmark will struggle to break them down.

Group F: Paraguay and Italy.  Crazy as it seems, the Italians will beat or draw with Slovakia to go through.

Group G: Brazil and Portugal.  7-0 took care of that.

Group H: Spain and Chile.  This one’s the craziest.  I just can’t bring myself to think Spain won’t make it through – especially with Chile’s suspensions.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chile draws and Switzerland goes through at Spain’s expense.  It would be an injustice if Chile didn’t make it.

Stone cold locks in this round: England over Slovenia, Serbia over Australia.

Still sticking with my pre tourney prediction – Brazil wins the World Cup if they win their group and the Dutch win if Brazil doesn’t.

Young players I really like in this tourney so far include: Ozil, Gio Dos Santos, Weiss (Slovenia), Elia, Gervinho, Navas and Subotic.  Kjaer hasn’t been bad either – just has no experienced partner in central defense to bail him out on a couple of highly visible errors.

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Day 2 Predictions: S. Korea vs Greece, Argentina v Nigeria, USA v England

Argentina and Nigeria will come out of Group B.

England and USA will come out of Group C.

But that’s in another week.

Tomorrow, Greece is going to tie S. Korea up defensively, but a moment of magic will have S. Korea score before the Greeks tie it up late.  Greece 1 S. Korea 1.

Argentina will beat Nigeria.  I believe it will be the highest scoring game of the tournament to date – Argentina 3 Nigeria 1.

England v USA.  Can’t really call it because the US is so good at the counter attack.  However, England has the team speed to negate that and a coach who knows what he’s up against.  Howard will have a good game as will Dempsey.  Unfortunately Demerit and Onyewu/Clarence Goodson won’t.  Even though England has been off form, I predict England 2 USA 0.  Rooney and either Terry or Lampard will score for England.

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Mexico v S. Africa and France v Uruguay – Post match comments

Not bad for a first day.  Usually the kickoff game is worse than the second game, but this was role reversal.  If S. Africa had won the first game, I think France and Uruguay would have been more aggressive in trying to get a result.  As it was, S. Africa was lucky not to have gotten down big in the first half and then was unlucky not to have won the game based on the second half.  Player of the first game: Gio Dos Santos with Khune a close second.

France has great talent.  Too bad the man in charge of that talent is a monkey.  To not start Malouda is absurd.  He could then have played Ribery in the hole and dropped Gourcuff deeper.  Why wouldn’t you start Henry ahead of Gouvou who missed a sitter.  Talented as France is, and they will get to the next round, they won’t be making any impact on this tournament.

CH12 is 1.5 out of 2 – I’ll penalize myself a half point for S. Africa not pulling off the 2-1 upset.  Not bad for a first day.

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Mexico v S. Africa – in game comment

That was offsides – commentators don’t know the rule obviously.

Mexico needs to bring on Javier Hernandez for Franco.  Too many chances wasted by Franco.  Chicarito will get it done.  S. Africa needs to open it up and get more bodies forward at speed.

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Winners of Group A – Prediction

Uruguay will go through.  France as well.  Though I wouldn’t be surprised if S. Africa pips them.  Apart from Germany’s group, this is the most evenly matched group from top to bottom.

But count on Uruguay and France to go through and I’ll bet on France to top the group even though they are divided and not in form.  I just have to believe in Ribery, Gourcuff and Lloris.

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