Posted on: June 22, 2010 7:28 am

World Cup 2010 - Group B Kncokout Scenarios

I’m on a roll this morning, third entry already. Unfortunately, they’re going to get harder later. Group C’s scenarios are a disaster. More on that later, right now it’s Group B’s turn and it’s still anybody’s game here. No team is safe, not even the in-form Argentines who top the group with 6 points. This is one of many groups where three teams could all have six points, but two teams will still advance. Someone needs to tell me why head-to-head is the third tie-breaker behind goals scored. Also, I’d like to render by Group B preview useless and just start from scratch here.

Argentina (2-0-0, 6 pts, +4 GD)

Matches – ARG 1-0 NGR; ARG 4-1 KOR; GRE vs. ARG
Knockout Scenario – Win/Draw vs. Greece

Easiest scenario for Messi, Maradona and the team that I was definitely most wrong about before the World Cup, get a point, win the group. Sounds pretty easy but remember they’re going up against a Greek side that desperately needs three points to advance. I have to hand it to Argentina though, they looked great against the normally organized South Koreans last week and should be considered a threat if the make the next round. And it would take a perfect storm to eliminate this team now.

South Korea (1-1-0, 3 pts, -1 GD)
Matches – KOR 2-0 GRE; ARG 4-1 KOR; NGR vs. KOR
Knockout Scenario – Win and Hold tiebreakers vs. Greece / Draw and Greece Draw/Loss

Here’s where it gets tough. South Korea and Greece are virtually tied, with the Koreans ahead right now on goals scored (3-2). So even with a win against Nigeria, they could still get passed by Greece on goal differential or total goals. Very confusing. With that being said, the standings say Korea has their easiest game of the tournament so far, but as poor as Nigeria has been attacking, they’re still not eliminated yet either. Best thing for the Koreans to do is take care of business against Nigeria and hope for the best.

Greece (1-1-0, 3 pts, -1 GD)
Matches – KOR 2-0 GRE; GRE 2-1 NGR; GRE vs. ARG
Knockout Scenario – Win AND Pass Korea on Tiebreakers / Draw and Korea Loss

Remember, they lost to Korea so if they end up tied on everything, head-to-head could be in play. Just like Korea the best thing they can do is win their match, easier said than done against the Argentines. The big question with this match is does Maradona feel comfortable with his position in the standings or and rest players or does he go for the result and a little insurance for first place? That I cannot answer, But the Greeks need at least a point to have a chance at advancing.

Nigeria (0-2-0, 0 pts, -2 GD)
Matches – ARG 1-0 NGR; GRE 2-1 NGR; NGR vs. KOR
Knockout Scenario – Win vs. Korea AND Greece Loss

Okay, stay with me on this one and just keep a Group B table near you while reading. If Nigeria beats Korea, even 1-0, they’d switch on the goal differential. If Argentina beats Greece, even by one goal, Greece would also fall behind Nigeria on GD. Nigeria would have at least a -1 GD and Korea/Greece would both have at least -2. Simple right? Good, because it’s the only way that Nigeria can advance so they’re rooting very hard for Argentina later. And I’d rather have this scenario, then what ever Korea and Greece have.

My original predictions had a Nigeria win and Greek-Arg draw, meaning Greece would advance with four points over Korea and Nigeria’s three. Again, anything goes here so that prediction is as good as any. Personally, I’m rooting for Nigeria or an epic fail for Argentina so I look smarter than my original preview, which should be burned.

Posted on: June 12, 2010 12:30 pm

World Cup 2010 - Group B Recap

The morning preview to the much anticipated USA-England game featured much better play than on Day 1 of the World Cup. Including, possibly the first upset victory of the World Cup.

South Korea [KOR] 2 – 0 [GRE] Greece

The normally stout Greek defense was butchered on two huge mistakes that were both converted by the Koreans. A terrible foul, rightly called, lead to basically a corner kick that Lee Jung-Soo put home in the 7th minute and an early lead. Captain and Man U standout Park Ji-Sung then doubled the tally, collected a poor defensive touch and carried the ball into the box and beat Greek keeper Tzorvas. South Korea now has a crucial victory it will need to advance while Greece will now have to pull off an upset of its own to get back into the right half of the table.

KEY PLAY: Park Ji-Sung’s second goal. Absolutely a lasy touch by the defender and Ji-Sung has now scored in three straight World Cups.

Argentina [ARG] 1 – 0 [NGA] Nigeria

Diego Maradona’s side had plenty of chance to extend their early lead on a Gabriel Heinze uncontested header in the 6th minute. Likewise, the Super Eagles had chances of their own to equalize in the game, but never seemed to have the momentum on the run of play. Argentina seemed to have the better attack, especially late in the game on the counter-attack as Nigeria pushed for the equalizer.

KEY PLAYS: Any Lionel Messi shot. Mainly because most of them weren’t good, even the ones on target. Messi now hasn’t scored in eight straight games for his country, but his point blank chance right into Nigerian keeper Enyeama should have sealed the game at 2-0.

Today’s matches now put more emphasis on the second group of matches, because the two winners and losers will face off. The Nigeria-Greece game is now an elimination game if there is a loser and the Argentina-S. Korea game now becomes important for both sides as they look to advance. The Nigeria-S. Korea game on the final matchday of the group could be an elimination game as well, if both teams are 1-1 with three points in the table.

Posted on: June 6, 2010 10:27 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2010 10:28 pm

World Cup 2010 - Group B Preview

I’d like to thank CBSSports.com for featuring my Group A preview and for plugging my USA World Cup preview as well. If you haven’t checked either of them out, and to put a play on words from the great Bob Uecker in Major Leauge, “judging by the number of hits, you haven’t” please do so.

Also, I’d like to clarify the two rankings. The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings are like the AP Top 25 for NCAA football and ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) are kind of like Jeff Sagarin’s computer poll. The links bring you to the homepages for each. As promised earlier, perhaps a little later than I wanted, here's the Group B preview…

Argentina [ARG] – Rankings (7 FIFA / 5 SPI)
Qualification – CONEMBOL – Finished 4th
Recent Matches – W 4-0 vs. Haiti, W 5-0 vs. Canada

It’s hard to judge Argentina’s form heading into the World Cup. They weren’t stellar in qualification, and the last two significant friendlies they played were both losses at Spain and Germany. I don’t like coach Diego Maradona’s strategy either, mainly because I can’t figure it out. This is another favorite that I am wary about, but when you have the one of the best players in the world in Lionel Messi, who knows.

Greece [GRE] – Rankings (13 FIFA – 42 SPI)
Qualification – UEFA – Won Aggregate playoff vs. Ukraine, 1-0
Recent Matches – L 0-2 vs. Senegal, T 2-2 vs. North Korea, L 0-2 vs. Paraguay

The Greeks are relative new comers to the international stage but made a quick impact as the 2004 European Champions. Qualifying in just their second World Cup (an three loss performance in 1994-USA being the other) the Greeks are thrown into a group that isn’t impossible for them to get out of. But that would likely mean an upset victory over either Argentina or Nigeria to guarantee advancement out of the group stages.

Nigeria [NGR] – Rankings (21 FIFA / 34 SPI)
Qualification – CAF (Africa) – Won Third Round Group B
Recent Matches – T 0-0 vs. Saudi Arabia, T 1-1 vs. Columbia, W 3-1 vs. North Korea

This is one of the African nations looking to make some noise on their own continent. This is not a team that has seen a lot of success at the World Cup level, but they have been regular contenders for the African Cup of Nations for the last three decades. This is a team that sports a lot of players from European clubs but all three of their World Cup keepers play in Israel.

South Korea [KOR] – Rankings (47 FIFA / 28 SPI)
Qualification – AFC (Asia) – Won AFC Fourth Round Group B
Recent Matches – W 2-0 vs. Japan, L 0-1 vs. Belarus, L 0-1 vs. Spain

Aside from their fourth-place finish as co-hosts in the 2002 World Cup, South Korea’s soccer history is not very impressive. Most of their World Cup players come from its domestic league and has really one star in captain Park Ji-Sung from Manchester United. I think they’ll be relegated to a spoiler role, but they should be a tough team to score against.


June 22nd is turning out to be quite a day. Trust me, having the most important games last is a trend that will stop shortly. But in this case it holds true. Odds are that Nigeria will need a win to seal a spot in the next round and the winner of the Greece-Argentina came could also be a winner take all match as well.

PREDICTIONS                                     STANDINGS

KOR 1-2 GRE                                     NGR 2-0-1, 7 pts, +2 GD
ARG 1-2 NGR                                     GRE 1-0-2, 5 pts, +1 GD
ARG 2-0 KOR                                     ARG 1-1-1, 4 pts, +1 GD
GRE 1-1 NGR                                     KOR 0-0-3, 0 pts, -4 GD

Nigeria [B1] and Greece [B2] advance to play Mexico [A2] and Uruguay [A1] respectively.

Yes, this seems a bit harsh towards South Korea, and probably to Argentina as well. But I’m convinced that Diego Maradona is going to channel his inner “insert bad NCAA March Madness coach here” and completely screw this whole thing up. I really do. I think that Greece is going to be a lot better than people think and Nigeria could end up with the best finish of all the African nations.


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