Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Breaking Down GROUP B

GROUP B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece

This group appears to me to be the most difficult to predict of all the groups. The reason? Because Argentina and Nigeria are both powerful, physically gifted sides that nonetheless have somewhat underachieved in recent years, while Greece and South Korea are less talented teams that have overachieved in the recent past.

A quick history lesson: While Argentina and Nigeria have failed to live up to their promise in World Cups (Argentina not making the final match since 1990's loss to West Germany), South Korea rode their co-hosting gig in 2002 all the way to the semifinals-- and Greece actually won Euro 2004, a feat akin to Vanderbilt winning the SEC Championship!

And so, given what is very likely to be.... questionable managing of Argentina by Diego Maradona, and what is likely to be a par-for-the-course chaotic swirl around Nigeria, I could actually envision both those teams failing to advance to the second round, believe it or not. It's not quite as far-fetched as it sounds. Greece can play excellent defense and South Korea is the best and most successful team in eastern Asia, with lots of speed and scrappy skills.

But surely Argentina's prowess will be able to overcome even Maradona's gargantuan ego and make it through. So I'll predict:

Argentina 7
South Korea 5
Greece 4
Nigeria 1

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