Friday, May 21, 2010
South Africa: Pool A
Pool A in the 2010 FIFA World Cup promises to offer some solid matchups. The host nation, the last World Cup's runner-up, a perennial threat, and the nation who won the first ever World Cup.
France looks to be the strongest of the pool. Looking at their strikers, Thierry Henry is the standout with 118 appearances and 51 goals in international play. Nicolas Anelka, Chelsea FC striker is right behind him with 64 caps and 14 goals. Chelsea teammate Florent Malouda will lead the midfielder corps boasting 51 appearances.
The second team to come out of Pool A could be a battle. But in my opinion, I have to give it to the host nation. Mexico is a strong team with strikers Cuauhtemoc Blanco (114 caps, 38 goals) and Guillermo Franco (20 caps, 6 goals). Other notables include the midfield threat of Gerardo Torrado with 111 caps, and Barcelona defenseman Rafael Marquez (88 caps, 10 goals). But I don't think there is a home-field advantage quite like that of South Africa. They shocked the world when they held eventual Confederations' Cup winner Brazil to a single goal, and scoring twice in a tough loss to Spain, 3-2.
They only have 3 players on their preliminary roster with over 50 appearances in international play, but this team has more heart than the other three combined. Benni McCarthy, a forward for West Ham United, will look to lead this team with 83 caps and 35 goals. An early exit for the hosts would be simply unacceptable. They are a team with something to prove. Ready the vuvuzelas. It might get loud.