World Cup predictions: Group A

National managers are whittling down their squad lists to the 23 players they think will give them the best chance to do well at the tournament.

Players are either smug or nervous.
I am still excited.
So risking internet ridicule, I am going to make some predictions on who I think will be the two teams to escape from each group.
Group A:
South Africa
Obviously France look to be the favourites and this is going to be the final tournament under the leadership of funny man Raymond Domenech. Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc will take over after the World Cup. Domenech famously proposed to his girlfriend after France were eliminated from the European Championships in 2008, what surprises will he have in store when France get knocked out this time? I think they will get through this group but I can’t see them going any further…
The next three teams are harder to separate.
Hosts South Africa have a good manager with World Cup experience and the excellent Steven Pienaar in midfield, however apart from some of the best player names (Surprise Moriri, Macbeth Sibaya and er…Bernard Parker) that is all they have on the field. The deciding factor may be the support from the stands. World Cup hosts traditionally perform better than they should do and the fans at the first World Cup to be held in Africa will certainly create an atmosphere that would inspire anyone. If the players don’t get sick of those bloody vuvuzelas….
I would love to see South Africa continue in the tournament even if it means I have to watch with the volume turned down. I think African teams will go far in this World Cup but unfortunately I don’t think it will be South Africa.
The problem is that I think Mexico have a better team than South Africa (despite only picking 5 midfielders…) and I think they should qualify along with France. They played excellently despite losing against England last week and will make it hard for anyone to beat them. They play the hosts in the opening game on June 11th and a good result here should stand them in good stead to qualify. New Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez will be hoping to impress and Alex Ferguson says his price would have risen substantially after the tournament as he expects him to play well.
Uruguay missed out on the last World Cup and had to qualify through a close play-off against a disorganised Costa Rica side this year. Uruguay haven’t made it past the knockout round since 1970 and, despite having two of the best players in this group in Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan, I think they will struggle to make it out of their group this year.
So I am going for France and Mexico to qualify, sorry South Africa…

8 Comments Add yours

  1. martin says:

    I think i will have to disagree with you at least one your predictions.I am with you on France, althought they have cheated the Paddys out of a place in the finals. I feel they will have far to much quality for the other teams to handle, so i can see them going through.But i do think the home nation scenario will be enough to push South Africa through. Despite the lack of top draw players, they willl all be used to the conditions etc.So i am going for France and South Africa.I am also giving you a sound tip to win some money !!! Get on Rooney to be the Golden Boot winner. We have a couple of easier games in the group so we would expect to be scoring around 3 or 4 in each game, and 6 goals usually wins it. Plus with Emule on the plane he is a good partner for WAZZA!!Looking forward to Group B predictions.

  2. Alistair says:

    They are on the way….I won't be disappointed if South Africa qualify, it'll be good for the tournament and all that. I just think Mexico have too many good players and a good manager. And I have to pick one Central American team to go through….Rooney for Golden Boot could be a good shout, although it is a little depressing that we are still relying on Emile Heskey. In fact looking all of our strikers, apart from Rooney, is pretty depressing.

  3. kathryn says:

    I have organised a prediction competition at work. 16 people. First stage is 2 people per group stage for each 6 games have to predict who wins/draw, correct score, time of first goal. More difficult than your predictions!!I have got Group A – I haven't seen Uruguay or South Africa play – any further advice than whats in your blog? I know Mexico looked good when we beat them, but if we can beat them when we looked pretty rubbish then maybe S Africa can go through

  4. Alistair says:

    I was trying to make it easy on myself. Your thing sounds like hard work!I think it will be difficult for South Africa to qualify from this group, it would be great if they did but I doubt it. It will be close between Uruguay and Mexico and either of them could beat France. Uruguay v Mexico will be a key game. Uruguay nearly didn't qualify and rely a lot on Forlan.So if France don't lose the plot and Mexico play like they can they should be too good for the others.

  5. Kathryn says:

    yeah maybe but home country means a lot. I think I am going for the following – could get it totally wrong! The french are shit at the minuteSouth Africa v Mexico 1 1 first goal 37 minsUruguay v France 0 1 50 minsS Africa v Uruguay 2 2 15 minsFrance v Mexico 1 1 44 minsMexico v Uruguay 2 1 20 minsFrance v S Africa 2 0 43 minsCan't wait for tomorrow. Even more exciting cause we missed out on euro last time. Remember those dark days?!!

  6. Alistair says:

    Well you got the first score right!Wasn't a great game but I thought Mexico played the best football. It would have been a shame if South Africa had lost though…I'm looking forward to the Uruguay v France game… I would love to see Uruguay win!

  7. Kath says:

    i missed some of it as was at work. Great S Africa goal though. Thats mexico all over, best side but can't win.Yeah always good to see the french get beat, but i am going to stick with my original prediction.Hows your birthday so far?

  8. Alistair says:

    I'm working in the evenings now so I can watch ALL of the games!Pretty exciting!Birthday is good so far, only our water just went off again. That happens pretty often here though…

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