A lot of ink has been spilled on the question of the teams that form the group of death, and all the football fraternity is pointing to none other than Group H, which comprises of the technical “Samba Boys” of Brazil, the speedy and agile side of Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the determined Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire and the skillful side of Portugal. But football can be full of surprises. Is Group H the real the group of death? Why not Group E? And what about Group B? Or even Group D with Germany, Australia, Serbia and the Black stars of Ghana?
Of course the clash between Brazil and Portugal is expected to be a derby given the two sides’ colonial history. In any given World Cup, Brazil has produced one of the world’s finest players. They are the only country that has won the World Cup title five times in history and they put up a wonderful performance winning the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa last summer. All eyes will again be looking to former Fifa footballer of the year Kaka, Luis Fabiano, and the very tricky Robinho.
The team that poses the biggest challenge to Brazil in this group is not Portugal, but rather the Ivory Coast. Didier Drogba is currently considered as the best striker in the world. FC Barcelona’s Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya, Salomon Kalou (Chelsea) and Emmanuel Eboue (Arsena) are outstanding players who will surely have a tremendous amount of crowd support from the locals.
Portugal will have no choice but to depend to a high extent on individual talents of stars like Real Madrid’s Ronaldo who is currently in high gear. Though they have not impressed with their current game, they have a very dangerous and fast counter attacking system which can prove a real threat to any of their opponents.
Although many see the Korea side as the weakest link in this group, they have proved to be worthy of a world Cup bunch. They are speedy, agile and their strikers capable of getting any strong defence on the wrong foot. History has taught us not to fast track results. We have to wait and see this fairly unknown team in action.
Netherlands, the seasonal Denmark side, the tactical Japan and the ever physical and experienced Indomitable Lions of Cameroon is yet another group expected to explode the derby expected of a possible group of death.
The Dutch have one of the best attacking forwards in the world at present. Robin Van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Roben (Bayern Munich), the all time strikers, Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel of Liverpool, can pose tremendous troubles when in combination.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are a very experienced African team. They are very physical with a focused and compact mid field manned by the stout Alexander Song of Arsenal, and as football history has shown, it’s a side that is never intimidated. Their qualifying games didn’t go as smooth but they put up courageous performances, with Samuel Etoo on the conduit, they finally sailed through.
Denmark and Japan are two teams that are capable of producing shockers with a rear system of abrupt counter attacks.
Why not Group B?
To prove why pinpointing the group of death is not as easy in this world, Group B has Argentina, Nigeria, Republic of Korea and Greece.
Despite his media romps, former world football star and Argentina technician Diego Amando Maradona has vowed to reach the finals of South Africa 2010. With a very talented and young squad all eyes will be on the current 2009 Fifa footballer of the year FC Barcelona’s attacker Lionel Messi, Manchester Uniteds’ Carlos Tevez, Sergio Arguero (Atletico Madrid) and Javier Saviola (Real Madrid) as they will be the nucleolus of the Argentina side.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have also waited a long time to prove their worth and remember they will be in front of a big local support, enjoying the services of some of the finest world footballers like Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg- Germany), and packed with the Premier league stars, John Obi Mikel of Chelsea, Joseph Yobo and Yakubu Aiyegbeni (both Everton) and captain Nwanko Kanu. No-one will relish facing them.
Greece and Korea Republic can both prove to be formidable sides given that each team has got a lot of aspirations for the World Cup.
Relaxed Group C
England is placed in Group C with USA, Algeria, and Slovenia in what is seen as a relaxed pool.
The English side has a very diverse squad with a lot of young players that are hungry for a World Cup tittle. Their Italian Coach Fabio Capello has worked so hard to bring up a good squad but the stunning performances of USA and Algeria could make this group highly competitive.
Though Slovenia has yet to prove itself on the international scene, they have a solid squad that is one of best in Eastern Europe.
With Germany, Australia, Serbia and the Black stars of Ghana, in group D , this is another group whose potential to display electrifying football should not be underestimated.
The Germans will not have an easy ride, especially with Ghana and Serbia who both play a physical sort of game.
Current World Cup champions Italy are pooled together with Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia in Group F while Spain, Switzerland Honduras and Chile are in what is considered the weakest pool in South Africa 2010.