Monday, June 7, 2010

4 Days To Go: The 5 Best Games of the First Round

4 days left and the 2010 World Cup gets underway!

There's SO much news on the internet, magazines, newspapers, television, etc.
I'm but a lowly blogger trying to carve his niche in the big, bad soccer media world.

Having said that, I'm BEYOND excited for the Cup, even if I can't make it to South Africa.
I'm making lemonade out of lemons, looking forward to enjoying the Cup in New York City!

So what are the 5 biggest matches of the first round?

1 - USA vs. England (June 12, 2:30pm)

Call this the teacher vs. the student, if you wish. It's the colonial power against the formerly subjugated. The football powerhouse against the budding superstars.

USA-England has all the drama of a Spanish soap opera.

Most prognosticators give USA little chance against the magic of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

Having said that, USA's not as bad as many pundits think. They're scrappy, they're quick and with Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley, they have pace and vision.

Expect a tough one before the USA succumbs to the English brawn and power.

2 - South Africa vs. Mexico (June 11, 10 a.m.)

Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg will be rocking for the opening match of the 2010 Cup. South Africa's not a strong team, but Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has provided the squad with much needed structure.

Mexico is consistently one of the quickest, most offensive sides in the world, so this should be a show stopper and a fancy way to open the Cup.

3 - Argentina vs. Nigeria (June 12, 10 a.m.)

The unstable Diego Maradona guides the likes of world player of the year Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain into a match against one of Africa's powerhouses. Who knows what'll happen here?

Expect a raucous atmosphere. It's one of Africa's best hopes of advancing out of the first round against a perennial power, coached by the greatest player of all time.

Must See TV, anyone?

4 - Brazil vs. Portugal (June 25, 10 a.m)

Brazil is the co-favorite to win it all. Portugal boasts the world's most expensive player in Cristiano Ronaldo and a fast, loose style.

Both teams will be looking to finish first in the group, as the second-place side settles into a likely match with co-favorite Spain. So expect a knockout, drag-out fight by these two Portuguese-speaking nations

5 - Ghana vs. Germany (June 23, 2:30 p.m)

Who will feel the injury bug the most: Ghana, who is missing Michael Essien? Or Germany, who is missing Michael Ballack?

The Ghanaians will be hard pressed against the efficient Germans, but their freewheeling style may cause fits of anxiety for the former World Champions.

The pro-African crowd may play a part in this.

All in all, five games that will entertain and excite. What do you think?


FredF said...

I'm looking forward to Germany - Australia, Portugal - North Korea, Netherlands - Japan, New Zealand-Italy and Spain- Honduras.

I think there could be a bunch of upsets in this World Cup.

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