Sunday, May 30, 2010
South Africa: Pool D
Gotta' be honest here, with the exception of Germany and maybe Netherlands, in the next two pools, I'm not really too sure or concerned with who else is going to move on. But I'm gonna give you my opinions anyway, and hopefully you like them. If not, then that's cool too, you bastards. Pool D. Germany will own. It's Serbia's first year of competing without Montenegro. And in my mind its a toss-up between Australia and Ghana, but with Ghana taking a serious hit from the absence of Michael Essien, I'm not so confident in how they'll fare.
Since 1954, the first year they won the Cup, Germany has exited in the second round once, the quarterfinals three times, and the other seven appearances with at least a 4th place finish. Polish-born striker Lukas Podolski (72 caps, 37 goals) will attack alongside Miroslav Klose (95, 48) whom would prove formidable against any defense in the world. Klose's teammate on Bayern Munich, Bastian Schweinsteiger (74, 19) is Germany's third leading international scorer who will hit the pitch alongside a very young midfield corps. DF Philipp Lahm (64,3) has assumed the role of captain in the stead of injured FW Michael Ballack, and will lead a veteran defensive unit that features four players with over 30 caps. The Germans came in a tough third place in the last World Cup, after finishing as the runners-up in 2002.
The Socceroos are always an interesting team to take a look at. This will be their third World Cup appearance all-time, with last year's exit coming in the Round of 16. They're a more experienced team, with the average age being 28 years old. Captain DF Lucas Neill (54,0) will lead the defense, against some quick and strong attacks in this pool. Controlling the ball at midfield will be key in these matchups, and with players like Brett Emerton (72, 17), leading goal scorer Tim Cahill (38, 19) and Marco Bresciano (53, 11), Australia has put themselves in a solid position. Australia seems to be lacking in their attack, but they are a determined team who plan on jumping on the back of veteran striker Harry Kewell (45, 13).
This pool will provide for the most interesting uninteresting games in the Cup. Of course, that's my opinion, and it's all just on paper right now. Serbia has some good players, but I just don't think they'll be able to pull it together on the world's biggest stage.