Argentina have to be among the favourites to win the whole tournament, they boast the best player in world football, Lionel Messi, who has been ridiculously good for the last 3 seasons. This World Cup should be the time when he does it on the biggest stage possible. They also have the player that scored the goals that clinched the Italian Cup, the Serie A title and the Champions League for Internazionale, Diego Milito. He has been in outstanding form this year although he almost didn’t make the Argentina team. The reason for that is the enigma Diego Maradona. In my opinion the best player ever but an erratic and accident prone manager. Argentina have the most talented team in the whole tournament but whether Maradona can get the best out of his players remains to be seen. They struggled to qualify, beating Uruguay in the final game to avoid the play-offs. That said they should easily escape this group.
After Greece’s success in the 2004 European Championships they became the team I love to see get beaten. Coach Otto Rehhagel will be the oldest in the tournament at 72 and he is not going to change his style of play now. If only Greece’s politicians had been as cautious with the country’s finances as Rehhagel is with his football. Greece will be negative and defensive and hopefully will get opened up by more skilful opponents. They beat Ukraine in a play-off to qualify but will not have enough to make it out of this group.
All of Nigeria’s squad play for European club teams and there are some famous names. Almería’s Kalu Uche is the standout player. They appointed Swedish manager Lars Lagerbeck after firing the previous coach for finishing third in the African Nations Cup. Expectations are high for Nigeria’s team and they have lots of experience but I don’t think they have enough ability to go far in this tournament. They won’t get to the next round.
South Korea have done well at the previous two World Cup’s both under Dutch managers. This time they have a home-grown version, Huh Jung Moo. South Korea’s captain Park-Ji Sung has had his usual consistent season for Manchester United and their team finished top of their qualifying group. They will match the Nigerians for athletic ability and will be too skilful for them and the Greeks. They may even give Argentina a game.
Argentina and South Korea to qualify and goodbye to Greece and Nigeria…