Tag Archives: Australia

2014 World Cup Draw Set

6 Dec

Yeah, I know, it’s been forever and a day since I actually posted anything, but the World Cup makes a person want to blog again, if only to complain about how rough the US has it.  Anyway, the ridiculously drawn out official draw was today and while yeah, the US has it rough, spare a thought for the Aussies, who have an even tougher go.  And while almost everyone can complain about the groups right now, in the end it’s all about what happens on the field.  Anything can happen on any given day and that’s one of the things that makes the World Cup (and sports in general) so awesome.

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

I’ll admit that my initial thoughts were that the USA was on the receiving end of a brutal draw (In fact I think my exact words were ‘holy shit’).  But after thinking about it a little bit, I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as it could’ve been.  I think it’s great that the US will open against Ghana.  It’s going to be huge for the Yanks to start the tournament well and if they can do so against a team that’s knocked them out of the last two World Cups, so much the better.  There’s no doubt they’ll have the motivation to take down Ghana.  Portugal is tough, even if they only qualified through the strength of one Mr. Ronaldo, but I do think they are beatable if the US can play an entire 90 minutes.  I believe that Germany is the top team in the group and probably one of the favorites for the tournament.  That will be interesting if only for the storyline of Klinsmann taking on his home country.  I’ll chalk that one up for a German victory.

As I’ve said in the past, the key to US success on the big stage is putting together a solid 90 minutes. They can’t afford to have lapses and give up early goals like they did against England, Slovenia, Ghana x2 last time around.  Coming from behind to win/draw is not a sustainable model for success. The US has been playing well in the past year and I think Klinsmann’s system is finally starting to click.  It’s just a matter of whether they can show up when it really counts and play consistent football.

Now for the extremely premature predictions.  Of course a team’s chances could go to hell in a handbasket pretty quick with a couple key injuries and we all know that there is a lot of football to be played before we get to Brazil.  But based on how things stand currently, this is what my gut says:

Advance to second round (1st, 2nd)

Group A: Brazil, Croatia

Group B: Spain, Chile

Group C: Colombia, Japan

Group D: Italy, England

Group E: France, Honduras

Group F: Argentina, Nigeria

Group G: Germany, USA

Group H: Belgium, South Korea

Knockout

A1 vs. B2: Brazil vs. Chile – Brazil

A2 vs. B1: Spain vs. Croatia – Spain

C1 vs. D2: Colombia vs. England – Colombia

C2 vs. D1: Japan vs. Italy – Italy

E1 vs. F2: France vs. Nigeria – France

E2 vs. F1: Honduras vs. Argentina – Argentina

G1 vs. H2: Germany vs. South Korea – Germany

G2 vs. H1: USA vs. Belgium – Belgium

Round of 8

Brazil vs. Colombia – Brazil

France vs. Germany – Germany

Spain vs. Italy – Spain

Argentina vs. Belgium – Argentina

Semifinals

Brazil vs. Germany – Brazil

Spain vs. Argentina – Spain

Final

Brazil vs. Spain – Brazil

Going with the home country in this one.  France was the last team to lift the World Cup in their home country, but I think Brazil has the talent to get it done.  Spain’s got the experience though and Brazil will be under mountains of pressure, so I anticipate this final going down to the last minutes.

Get excited for World Cup host announcements

30 Nov

Forget Brazil 2014. Well, for now. Right now, it’s all about who will host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022. The U.S. is gunning for the 2022 bid along with Australia, Korea, Qatar and Japan. The 2018 Cup will be decided between Russia, England, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands. It’s looking like the U.S. is the favorite for 2022, but take that with a grain of salt.  The U.S. was also thought to be the favorite to land the Olympics in 2016 but ended up being eliminated in the first round of voting (granted a different voting body).

The 1994 World Cup was the most successful ever, in terms of attendance. If anything, the game has grown in this country since then so I would imagine even more interest in the beautiful game.  There’s not a lot of work to do as far as transportation or stadiums since they are already in place in all the possible host cities.  Of course, I would love for the World Cup to come back to the U.S.; I didn’t get to go in 1994, a fact I am still bitter about.

However, I would gladly attend a World Cup in Australia too.  The Aussies ran an extremely successful Olympic games in 2000, so there’s no reason to think they couldn’t pull off a World Cup despite having never hosted.  Korea and Japan combined to host the event in 2002, so it would be only 20 years between Asian World Cups, which doesn’t exactly seem fair to me.  Qatar is somewhat of an enigma. The country has spent a ton of money on celebrity endorsements as well as state of the art technology for stadiums, but is the size and politics of the country ready for the world’s biggest party?

England hasn’t hosted since 1966, but allegations of corruption and other shady dealings have dealt somewhat of a blow to the country’s bid.  Russia  has come on strong, while FIFA is said to be wanting to get away from joint bids. (That might be the worst sentence ever written.)

The annoucement of the hosts for 2018 and 2022 will be on Thursday, Dec. 2. It will be shown live at 10:00 a.m. (EST) on Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN, Univision, ESPN Deportes, CNN International and fifa.com.

World Cup results – June 23

23 Jun

Clearly the big story of the day was the USA’s spectacularly dramatic 1-0 win over Algeria. However, I posted about that earlier so I won’t get into much detail here. Bottom line: Landon Donovan has erased that big game choker label after his 91st minute winner. I swear, this team is going to give me a heart attack. With the win, the U.S. topped the group for only the second time ever (previous being in 1930 so that hardly counts).

England took second in group C after a 1-0 win over Slovenia (U.S. was first on goals scored tiebreaker). It was England’s best performance of the tournament and they probably could have added another couple goals. Jermaine Defoe scored the winning goal, making Fabio Capello’s move to start him over Emile Heskey look brilliant. It’s unfortunate for Slovenia, who actually topped the group coming into today’s final game.

In group D, Australia made things interesting, jumping out to a 2-0 lead over Serbia at the same time that Germany had taken a 1-0 lead over Ghana. The 4-0 drubbing by Germany came back to haunt the Socceroos as they got a 2-1 win, but couldn’t make up the goal difference on Ghana. Germany’s Mesut Ozil scored the winning goal to send the team into the round of 16 for the 15th (!) straight World Cup.

Now the U.S. will take on Ghana Saturday and Germany will play England Saturday. The U.S. and Ghana met in the group stage of the 2006 World Cup with the African nation claiming a 2-1 victory. And of course, there’s very little animosity between Germany and England, so I’m sure that game is going to be very civil.

Group C results
USA 1 (Donovan 90+1)
Algeria 0

Slovenia 0
England 1 (Defoe 23)

Group D results
Ghana 0
Germany 1 (Ozil 60)

Australia 2 (Cahill 69, Holman 73)
Serbia 1 (Pantelic 84)

Group C final standings
USA – 5 (+1)
England – 5 (+1)
Slovenia – 4 (0)
Algeria – 1 (-2)

Group D final standings
Germany – 6 (+4)
Ghana – 4 (0)
Australia – 4 (-3)
Serbia – 3 (-1)

Round of 16 matchups
USA vs. Ghana
Germany vs. England

World Cup results – June 19

19 Jun

The Netherlands advanced to the second round out of group E today with a 1-0 win over Japan. Wesley Sneijder notched the game-winner in the 53rd minute. Meanwhile, Cameroon was eliminated after a 2-1 loss to Denmark. The African nation struck first with a Samuel Eto’o goal, but Nicklas Bendtner and Dennis Rommedahl tallied goals to give Denmark a chance of reaching the second round. In the day’s group D game between Ghana and Australia, the Socceroos saw red again as Harry Kewell (who was making his first start in forever) was sent off for a handball on the goal line. Despite playing a man down for over a hour, the Aussies were able to hold Ghana in a 1-1 draw.

Group D results
Ghana 1 (Gyan 25 – pen)
Australia 1 (Holman 11)

Group E results
Netherlands 1 (Sneijder 53)
Japan 0

Cameroon 1 (Eto’o 10)
Denmark 2 (Bendtner 33, Rommedahl 61)

Group D standings
Ghana 4 (+1)
Germany 3 (+3)
Serbia 3 (0)
Australia 1 (-4)

Group E standings
Netherlands 6 (+3)
Japan 3 (0)
Denmark 3 (-1)
Cameroon 0 (-2)

World Cup results – June 13

13 Jun

Slovenia grabbed the top spot in group C with a late 1-0 win over Algeria.  Captain Robert Koren scored the 79th minute winner after Algeria goalie Fawzi Chaouchi misplayed the shot (sounds familiar, right?).  Algeria’s Abdelkader Ghezzal has been red carded only six minutes earlier.  In the group D opener, Ghana notched the first victory for an African nation with a 1-0 win over Serbia.  With the game knotted at 0-0, fortunes changed when Serbia’s Aleksandar Lukovic picked up a red card in the 74th minute.  Minutes later, Zdravko Kuzmanovic inexplicably handled a ball in the box and Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan buried the ensuing penalty.  In the day’s finale, Germany ran roughshod over Australia in a 4-0 win.

Group C results
Algeria 0
Slovenia 1 (Koren 79)

Group D results
Ghana 1 (Gyan 84 – pen)
Serbia 0

Germany 4 (Poldoski 8, Klose 26, Muller 67, Cacau 70)
Australia 0

Group C standings
Slovenia – 3
USA – 1
England – 1
Algeria – 0

Group D standings
Germany – 3
Ghana – 3
Serbia – 0
Australia – 0

Group D preview

6 Jun

Group D
Australia
Germany
Ghana
Serbia

Australia advanced to the round of 16 in 2006. Will the Socceroos be able to repeat the feat in 2010? Group D is a tough draw all around. Tim Cahill is a star for Everton and led Australia in scoring during qualifying. He’s got a good nose for the ball around the goal. Although it must be said that Australia looked much better without Cahill in a friendly loss to the USA on Saturday. The defense will be anchored by Fulham goalie Mark Schwarzer, who had a solid Premier League season. Head coach Pim Verbeek has already announced his intention to leave the post after the World Cup, but that shouldn’t stop the squad from playing its typical, aggressive style.

Germany is like the Michigan State of soccer. They always step up in the big competitions. For example, in 2006, no one expected Germany to do well even though they were hosting, but they ended up finishing third. Michael Ballack was recently ruled out after an ankle injury, so the question will be who can step it up in the midfield. Bastian Schweinsteiger had an excellent season for Bayern Munich and the team will look to him as the senior leader in the midfield. Another question will be the strength of the goalkeeping. Manuel Neuer was once the third choice keeper, but now he’ll be the starter.

Ghana has dealt with an injury blow of its own as Michael Essien has been ruled out of the competition. There’s already a little bit of bad blood with Germany as Kevin-Prince Boateng was the one who ended Ballack’s World Cup before it even started. Head coach Milojan Rajevac has a lot of options to choose from. There’s a solid veteran core led by midfielder Stephen Appiah and also a young group that ended up winning the U-20 World Cup last year. The big question will be if the young players can step up on the biggest stage possible.

Serbia doesn’t come into the World Cup on the best of notes as fans rioted after a shock 1-0 loss to New Zealand in a friendly. Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic and Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic will help anchor the defense. The questions surrounding Serbia involve the team’s ability to score. All the strike options have talent, but aren’t exactly prolific in front of net. Captain Dejan Stankovic will lead the midfield.

The Soccer Wall’s picks to advance: Germany, Serbia

World Cup draw is set

4 Dec

The groups are set for the 2010 World Cup. Host South Africa will open the tournament on June 11 against Mexico. At first glance, group G looks like the toughest one of the bunch with Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast and Portugal. The US ended up with a pretty good draw in group C – it’s definitely a group they can get out of. The Yanks will open with England and also play Algeria and Slovenia. Only 188 days to dissect all the possibilities…

Group A                            Group B
South Africa                      Argentina
Mexico                                Nigeria 
Uruguay                             South Korea
France                                 Greece

Group C                          Group D
England                             Germany
USA                                    Australia
Algeria                              Serbia
Slovenia                           Ghana

Group E                        Group F
Netherlands                  Italy
Denmark                        Paraguay
Japan                              New Zealand
Cameroon                     Slovakia

Group G                      Group H
Brazil                              Spain
North Korea                Switzerland
Ivory Coast                 Honduras
Portugal                       Chile