Unfortunately had to finish this one during the Chile-Honduras game, but luckily for me I did those two teams last night and finished Spain and Switzerland’s previews just now to finally wrap up my World Cup previews. God I wish I could get paid to do this instead of working a real job, but alas…and now, the final World Cup preview with Group H.
Group Previews - [A] / [B] / [C] / [D] / [E] / [F] / [G]
Chile [CHI] – Rankings (18 FIFA / 7 SPI)
Qualifying – CONEMBOL – Finished Second
Recent Matches – W 3-0 vs. Zambia; W 1-0 vs. N. Ireland; W 3-0 Israel
If you’re looking for a sleeper team in the World Cup, look no further. They’re favored to come out of the group behind Spain and since only teams from Europe and South America ever win this thing, why not? A potential knockout round match against Brazil could be looming, and Chile lost both games by a combined scoreline of 7-2. But this is a team with talent playing all over the world and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Honduras [HON] – Rankings (38 FIFA / 32 SPI)
Qualification – CONCACAF – Finished Third
Recent Matches – T 2-2 vs. Belarus; T 0-0 vs. Azerbaijan; L 0-3 vs. Romania
Honduras has certainly not looked good heading into the World Cup and might be one of the coldest, out of form teams in the tournament right now. Combine that with their qualification, gaining the final automatic berth when the USA scored a late goal to tie Costa Rica and this could be a recipe for disaster. Also, this is a roster that is full of domestic talent that will be facing the best in the world, and you have to wonder if this team can hold up.
Spain [ESP] – Rankings (2 FIFA / SPI)
Qualification – UEFA – Group Five Winners
Recent Matches – W 3-2 vs. Saudi Arabia; W 1-0 vs. S. Korea; W 6-0 vs. Poland
Say what you want about Spain and their lack of success in big international tournaments (see 2009 Confederations Cup), but this team has what it takes to go the distance. They have one of the most talented rosters in the world, they’re experienced and they’re in-form, something that can’t be said about all the favorites coming into this World Cup. Plus, they have a relatively easy draw and should have no problems in the Group Stage.
Switzerland [SUI] – Rankings (24 FIFA / 35 SPI)
Qualification – UEFA – Group Two Winners
Recent Matches – L 0-1 vs. Costa Rica; T 1-1 vs. Italy
Another relative unknown here is the Swiss, who won a rather tame qualification group that included Greece, Latvia and Israel. Featuring a roster full of European talent, this is a team that probably can compete with the best on any given day, but since they lack a lot of experience in major tournaments, they could be overlooked. Regardless, this is a team that could surprise some who are unprepared.
IMPORTANT MATCHDAY – NONE
Sorry lads, but since the best game in the group should be meaningless, not much to see here.
HON 0-2 CHI ESP 2-0-1, 7 pts, +4 GD
ESP 2-0 SUI CHI 2-0-1, 7 pts, +3 GD
CHI 2-1 SUI SUI 1-2-0, 3 pts, -2 GD
ESP 3-1 HON HON 0-3-0, 0 pts, -5 GD
SUI 2-1 HON
CHI 1-1 ESP
Spain [H1] and Chile [H2] move on to play Portugal [G2] and Brazil [G1] respectively.
I really think that by the final group of games this group will be finalized I don’t see any other teams threatening unless there’s a draw somewhere, probably by the Swiss. I fully expect to see the second teams for the Chile-Spain fixture and also expect a poor tournament from Honduras.