Tag Archives: Nigeria

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.

World Cup results – June 17

17 Jun

All three of today’s games featured something that had been somewhat lacking in the first set of games…GOALS!  11 goals were scored today. (Please let the goal scoring bonzanza continue…)  In the day’s first match, Argentina put the pedal to the metal and showed why its offense is so potent.  Gonzalo Higuain notched the tournament’s first hat trick en route to a 4-1 victory over South Korea.  In the second group B game, Nigeria took an early 1-0 lead off a Kalu Uche free kick, but the tide turned in the 33rd minute when Sani Kaita was sent off for kicking out at a Greece player.  From that point on, Nigeria was on the back foot.  Greece finally broke through just before halftime on a Dimitrios Salpingidis strike, the country’s first ever World Cup goal.  Vasilis Torosidis notched the game winner in the 71st minute.  The win was the first ever for Greece in the World Cup.  In the day’s finale, Mexico put the screws to a floundering French side with a 2-0 win.  Javier Hernandez beat the offside trap and dribbled around goalie Hugo Lloris for the first goal.  Cuauhtémoc Blanco added a second on a penalty.

Group A results
France 0
Mexico 2 (Hernandez 64, Blanco 79 – pen)

Group B results
Greece 2 (Salpingidis 44, Torosidis 71)
Nigeria 1 (Uche 16)

Argentina 4 (Park Chu-Young 16 – OG, Higuain 33, 76, 80)
South Korea 1 (Lee Chung-Yong 45)

Group A standings
Uruguay – 4 (+3)
Mexico – 4 (+2)
France – 1 (-2)
South Africa – 1 (-3)

Group B standings
Argentina – 6 (+4)
South Korea – 3 (-1)
Greece – 3 (-1)
Nigeria – 0 (-2)

World Cup results – June 12

13 Jun

South Korea dominated Greece in the early game to claim a 2-0 win.  South Korea got an early first half goal from Lee Jung-Soo and Park Ji-Sung put the game out of reach with a superb effort in the 52nd minute.  South Korea put on a very solid effort, but it must be said that Greece looked atrocious and like they had never played a competitive game before. Argentina probably could have defeated Nigeria 3-0 or 4-0 if it weren’t for the efforts of goalie Vincent Enyeama.  Gabriel Heinze notched Argentina’s only goal in the shutout win in the sixth minute.  In the final game of the day, the U.S. eked out a 1-1 draw with England.  Steven Gerrard gave England a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.  The U.S. equalized in the 40th minute after Clint Dempsey’s long range effort was flubbed by goalie Robert Green into the back of the goal.

Group B Results
South Korea 2 (Lee Jung-Soo 7, Park Ji-Sung 52)
Greece 0

Argentina 1 (Heinze 6)
Nigeria 0

Group C Results
England 1 (Gerrard 4)
USA 1 (Dempsey 40)

Group B Standings
South Korea – 3
Argentina – 3
Nigeria – 0
Greece – 0

World Cup picks

11 Jun

Picks to advance from the group stage:
A – Mexico, Uruguay
B – Argentina, Nigeria
C – England, USA
D – Germany, Serbia
E – Netherlands, Denmark
F – Paraguay, Slovakia
G – Brazil, Portugal
H – Spain, Chile

Early call on World Cup champion: Spain

Golden Boot: Fernando Torres

Group B preview

3 Jun

Group B
Argentina
Greece
Nigeria
South Korea

Argentina pretty much sucked in qualification but still somehow managed to nab one of South America’s four automatic bids. The squad boasts a wealth of talent, namely World Player of the Year Lionel Messi. However, Argentina also has a huge obstacle to overcome in head coach Diego Maradona (take that literally or figuratively, whichever you prefer). Maradona is a prime example of why star players don’t necessarily make good coaches. He’s probably the only person in the world who can manage to make Messi look average. Granted, Messi has not excelled for Argentina like he has for Barcelona, so he’ll be looking to make some waves. If Argentina gets going, they could be a bear to stop with attacking options like Sergio Aguero, Messi, Diego Milito, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez.  Although I’d prefer it if they didn’t hoist the trophy because I’d rather not see Maradona run naked through Buenos Aires.

Greece is making its second appearance in the World Cup.  The team is best known for its shocking Euro 2004 title, but that super-mega-ultra defensive style has fallen by the wayside.  In fact, Greece’s defense is a large question going into South Africa.  The goalie, Alexandros Tzorvas, struggles with positioning and that fault in conjunction with aging, slow defenders like Sotirios Kyrgiakos could spell doom, especially against a potent offense like Argentina.

Nigeria comes into the World Cup with a new coach in Lars Lagerback, the longtime coach of Sweden.  He’s only been in charge of one game, so who knows how the players will respond to him on a bigger stage.  Nigeria wasn’t spectacular in qualifying and had to beat Tunisia on the final day to get in.  There’s a wealth of talented players, but with a new coach, it will be interesting to see who gets a spot in the starting 11.  Obafemi Martins and Ayegbeni Yakubu are a potentially dangerous duo up front.  Chelsea man John Obi Mikel has been ruled out of the tournament after recovery from a knee injury has fallen short.  

South Korea will be led by Ji-Sung Park, the country’s most famous player who unfortunately plays for Manchester United.  Despite his poor choice of club team, Park is incredibly influential on the South Korean side and if he gets hurt, the team will struggle.  Head coach Jung-Moo Huh is in his second term as head coach.  He was let go prior to South Korea’s fourth place run in 2002 behind magic worker Guus Hiddink.  Huh is not hugely popular, but the team went through qualification unbeaten, so that helped silence some of his critics.

The Soccer Wall’s picks to advance: Argentina, Nigeria

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

World Cup latest

2 Dec

FIFA has decided that there will be no extra referees in World Cup matches, although bungling president Sepp Blatter said there are plans to add more officials and/or technology later on. FIFA, why are you waiting?! If you want to keep the integrity of the game intact, you need to make some changes now. Heaven forbid you do something out of the box. Like I said yesterday, if anything like the Henry incident happens in the World Cup itself, there will be hell to pay.  If it weren’t for the Henry handball, this wouldn’t be a big deal, however since it did happen, the refereeing will be scrutinized even more than usual in 2010.

FIFA has also announced the top eight seeds for Friday’s draw. Host South Africa, along with Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina and England are the seeded teams. FIFA used their October rankings to determine the seeded teams, although there has been speculation that France was denied a seeding based on their controversial qualification. However, France was ninth in the October rankings, so they wouldn’t have been seeded anyways. Each group will have one team from each pot.

As far as the U.S. goes, it’s looking like they could be in for a tough group. However, they’ve shown that they can play with anyone (Spain, Brazil in the Confederations Cup) and if they can use that confidence and play a solid 90 minutes, they could do good things.

World Cup pots for final draw
Pot 1 – South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England
Pot 2 – Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, New Zealand, Honduras, Mexico, USA
Pot 3 – Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
Pot 4 – Denmark, France, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland