Posted on: June 26, 2010 9:23 am

World Cup 2010 - Round of 16 - Day 1 Preview

I had half a mind to just write a rather long ranting piece on the attention this USA team is getting for a rather mediocre preformance so far. But today is not a day for angry ranting as we are just hours away from USA-Ghana. But I will say this. Everyone who is lauding the USA with praise and talking about reaching the semi-finals in a weak bracket are completely underestimating Uruguay and Ghana. Also, for reason that cannot be explained, it is official that the USA completely suck at group stages of major FIFA tournaments. Don't belive me? World Cup 2002, backdoor second place after losing to Poland in the third match. World Cup 2006, three games, one tie to eventual champions Italy. Confederations Cup 2009, backdoor second after 3-0 win vs. Eygpt and 3-0 loss by Italy. 2010 World Cup, controversy aside, 91st minute goal secures advancement and group win. Numbers don't lie people, and that trend after this year will be completely unacceptable. But all of that doesn't matter, the USA is through and Landon Donovan is the hero and the talking heads are going crazy. So, let's set the straight a little bit.

[URU-A1] Uruguay vs. South Korea [KOR-B2]

Original Prediction - Uruguay [A1] vs [B2] Greece

Okay, so anyone who saw my Group B preview probably realizes that I am an idiot, but my predictions, as seen here on the ESPN Bracket Predictor, are in the 85th precentile and I'm only out one Quarterfinal team in Denmark, who I took a flier on since my original sleeper team (Chile) got paired with Brazil in the 1st knockout round (got that one right too).

Anyway, this is a bit of history here for South Korea (and Japan) as they qualified for the knockout stages for the first time on foriegn soil and since the 2002 World Cup. However the Korean's looked atrociously bad against the other team from South America that they faced (Argentina) and while Uruguay certainly lacks their attacking prowess, I certainly think that they have the edge in this game. Uruguay defeinately has a more defensive mindset for a CONEMBOL team, but I think they have more of the talent. Korea lacks playmakers with the exception of their captain, Man U's Park Ji-Sung but they have been scoring goals. The question is can the break down a Uruguay defense that hasn't yet conceded a goal. I say no.

Prediction: Uruguay 1-0

[USA-C1] United States vs. Ghana [GHA-D2]

Original Prediction - England [C1] vs. Austrailia [D2]

I apologize in advance for the follow mini-rant about the USA. Bob Bradley needs to bench Robbie Findley for Edson Buddle. Buddle earned his way onto this team and he's been effective when he starts while Findley's been invisible. Herculez Gomez should be coming off the bench in the 2nd half, perhaps paired with Dempsey up front if Bob Bradley wants too make some midfield changes as well. Michael Bradley might be the most underrated player in the World Cup but holding defensive midfielders never win awards (see Shalrie Joesph, NE Revs, MLS). But Mike Bradley needs a parter in the center midfield and I don't know who that is right now, but I like Jose Torres off the bench which probably means Ricardo Clark starts again. For all the complaints about the USA defense before the World Cup, they've done well. The USA needs to finish shots. I'm looking at you Jozy Altidore. End Rant.

The Ghana Black Stars eliminated the USA from the 2006 World Cup thanks to an Oscar winning-preformance to draw a penalty to help them win 2-1 in the final group game. And since the only goals Ghana has scored in this tournament have been penalties, they'll probably be at it again. Ghana are the only African nation left in the home continent's first Cup but they have lacked the offensive punch so far in this tournament. The USA are notoriously bad at starting games, giving up early goals to England and Slovenia and almost again to Algeria were it not for the crossbar aiding Tim Howard. I think the USA needs to score in the first half and establish themselves defensively. I think we also need the referee's to, what's the word I'm looking for...oh, not suck.

Prediction: USA 3-1

Enjoy the games guys, I'll be around for analysis of both games, no commentary, although I did think about doing it for the first game. I'd like to apologize for my shoddy posting, but I just work to much. I also robbed my wingman (mattries) a chance to give you his TV picks for the final group games, which was a fantastic idea on his part. I look forward to a USA victory and another chance at a quarterfinal match.

Posted on: June 7, 2010 11:35 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2010 11:40 pm

2010 World Cup - Group D Preview

I am almost certain that this should be considered the Group of Death. Why? Because I think it is the only group where all four teams have a legitimate shot a advancing.  Every other group has one team that is clearly inferior to the rest of the group. When Ghana is considered the weakest team, that isn’t good, unless you like super-competitive soccer, then it’s fantastic.

I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback so far, especially my MLS/World Cup wingman mattries37315, who has a nice take on Argentina in the Group B comments section. Appreciate the feed back guys. Here are the links to my previous World Cup previews:

Group Previews - [A] / [B] / [C]

Australia [AUS] – Rankings (20 FIFA / 27 SPI)
Qualification – AFC (Asia) – Won AFC Fourth Round, Group A
Recent Matches – W 2-1 vs. New Zealand, W 1-0 vs. Denmark, L vs. USA 1-3

The Socceroos (another great nickname) have been in very good form leading up to the World Cup. Yes, fans here saw them lose to the USA, but they arguably had the better play in the first half and are a very dangerous offensive team. For those that are oblivious to soccer, watch Everton’s Tim Cahill, who scored on teammate Tim Howard in the USA friendly, to create chances and goals for the Socceroos.

Germany [GER] – Rankings (6 FIFA / SPI)
Qualification – UEFA – Won Group Four
Recent Matches – W 3-0 vs. Malta, W 3-0 vs. Hungary, W 3-1 vs. Boznia-Herz

Germany comes into the World Cup in good form, however the competition they have faced recently leaves a little to be decided. They went undefeated in their UEFA qualifying group that featured Russia, Finland and Wales. Germany is usually in the mix when it comes to the quarterfinal/semis in the World Cup and a potential 2002 quarterfinal rematch could be looming with the USA.

Ghana [GHA] – Rankings (32 FIFA / 37 SPI)
Qualification – CAF (Africa) – Won Group D
Recent Matches – W 2-0 vs. Slovenia, L 4-1 vs. Netherlands, W 1-0 vs. Latvia

The Black Stars burst onto the World Cup scene in 2006, advancing to the knockout stages in Germany. They have placed third and second in the last two African Cup of Nations tournaments and GK Richard Kingson (Wigan – EPL) has the honor of scoring a rare goal as a keeper, equalizing late in a friendly vs. Tanzania in 2008. In what is probably the most even paired groups, full points against this team should be hard to come by.

Serbia [SRB] – Rankings (15 FIFA / 10 SPI)
Qualification – UEFA – Won Group Seven
Recent Matches – L 0-1 vs. New Zealand, T 0-0 vs. Poland, W 4-3 vs. Cameroon

I am a little suspect with the Serbs heading into the tournament. They didn’t have a difficult qualifying group, with really only France to contend with (and we all know how I feel about them) and their results in their recent friendlys have been less than stellar. The EPL defending duo of Nemanja Vidic (Man U) and Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) will have to be in top form to keep Serbia from playing behind too much against the potent offenses in the group.


Hard to pick a date out of all the Group D fixtures, but let’s go with the first round. Any wins here will go a long way towards advancing, but I’m sensing a lot of draws out of this group. The Socceroos (I love typing that) would love a fast start against the favored Germans and a winner from the first match would have a very good chance at getting out of the group.

PREDICTIONS                                     STANDINGS

SRB 1-1 GHA                                       GER 2-0-1, 7 pts, +3 GD
GER 2-2 AUS                                       AUS 1-0-2, 5 pts, +1 GD
GER 2-0 SRB                                        GHA 0-1-2, 2 pts, -1 GD
GHA 2-2 AUS                                      SRB 0-2-1, 1 pts, -3 GD

Germany [D1] and Australia [D2] advances to play USA [C2] and England [C1] respectively.

Like I said, I like draws in this one. I think Germany’s experience will carry them through to the top of the group. I don’t like Serbia’s attack but I don’t see them conceding a lot of goals and I also think that Ghana won’t be able to get the wins it needs to advance. Australia’s probably the most balanced team next to Germany with Ghana a little attack heavy in my opinion and the Serbs more defensive and I think that’s the difference.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com