Saturday, December 05, 2009
Although the Germans have unearthed few new stars since the 2006 tournament, they always seem to lift when the World Cup comes around. Serbia have looked a very convincing unit throughout the European qualifiers, with Dejan Stankovic enjoying an Indian summer at club and international level. As the Olyroos know, the Serbs have some quality younger players as well, Zoran Tosic in particular.
As for Ghana, Australia may have defeated them with an under-strength team last year, but on that occasion Ghana were missing their key trio of Michael Essien, Stephen Appiah and Sulley Muntari. I would rate the two sides as roughly equal but for Essien, who can take charge of a game like no-one in the current Australian squad.
If Pim Verbeek can get his team out of that group, he deserves enormous credit. It is perhaps for the best that the Germans are to be negotiated first.
The other groups are relatively even. Group G, with Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast, has attracted the inevitable "Group of Death" tag, but it is not disproporionately stronger than the rest. The hosts will have a tough time qualifying from Group A, which looks strong. For a more in-depth analysis of the different groups, be sure to check out Shane Davis's overview.
Bring on June - I can't wait!
In each of the past few World Cup's, each time that Germany takes the field in their forst up match, I wish upon wish that the opposition will make their pedestrian team look second rate, but they ALWAYS come up with the goods.
As for Serbia, no-one has mentioned that as good as they are at the moment, they probably lack depth.
This was shown up last tournament when one of their key defenders had to pull out on the eve of the tournament and, in an admitedly tough group, they could not get even one point. Although, another factor that probably played against them last time was that their country was in fact disintegrating what with Montenegro about to vote themselves out of the Federation.
As for Ghana, and other African teams, well for me, they are the great unknowns of this World Cup.
You would think that up to 4 of them are capable of going far but it like the rest of the world can't seem to work them out.
Ghana is my big worry. If they get their pace right with a short passing game then they will win.
I do not know against Serbia. It may depend on their earlier games.
The socceroos style worries me.
We have used up a lot of luck.
We need to play possession style attacking football alah Guus
Watch out for Adler in goals and Özil as a creator. Both were very impressive against Russia in qualifying.
"In each of the past few World Cup's, each time that Germany takes the field in their forst up match, I wish upon wish that the opposition will make their pedestrian team look second rate, but they ALWAYS come up with the goods."
They haven't played very good opposition at the start since 1994 though (Bolivia, United States, Saudi Arabia and Costa Rica at home). They can still be quite pedestrian under Loew if the opposition or circumstances aren't tough, but they'll probably be pumped up enough for the first game and are generally a revitalised side compared to those around the turn of the millennium. I do however think they suit Oz somewhat.
"As for Serbia, no-one has mentioned that as good as they are at the moment, they probably lack depth."
They have depth in defence, attacking midfield and up front but not so much in goal or in defensive midfield. There are options in the latter area, but probably not of the quality of the rest of the team. Oz should focus on the likes of Cahill and Bresciano getting behind the Serbian midfield and sneaking up on the defence, especially if Serbia decide to not go with any out-and-out defensive midfielders to begin with.
Still, it'll be hard to get anything more than a draw unless Serbia fall apart a bit again.
pretty sure i heard that a rather reasonable south korea side had the same points total as us in germany, but still came third in their group.
half of the contestants are knocked out after the first round. it seems rather harsh to label half the field as failures.
Yep. Most evenly-matched groups since the move to 32 teams IMO, mainly because the strongest non-seeded Euro team (France) landed in South Africa's group.
...pretty sure i heard that a rather reasonable south korea side had the same points total as us in germany, but still came third in their group....
Yup. Having said that, they were a bit lucky in their first game (1-0 down when the oppo had a man sent off), and more importantly choked when it really mattered.
By that definition, G is a group of death as one such team will have to miss out from there.