June 11th Preview – Group A Games

One hell of a Vuvuzela.

The World Cup is upon us and the traditional first game between the hosts and another team is only a few hours away. South Africa will open the tournament against Mexico in Jo’burg and a couple hours later France will play Uruguay in Capetown to round out Group A action.

For every day of the world cup we will have a preview for the following days action as well as a recap of the past days games. As stated by Matt, I will be trying to do live commentary for every game (though might miss a couple). So please come and check us out AT LEAST three times a day, and as always comments are welcomed and encouraged.

SOUTH AFRICA versus MEXICO
South Africa might be the first host nation not to make it out of the group stages. There are no world beaters in this group but none of the teams are mugs either.

South Africa are also the second lowest ranked team at the World Cup, ranking 83rd according to FIFA;  5 spots below New Zealand (though 22 above North Korea…Kim Jong Il is not pleased). But they will have the hopes and desires of an entire nation blowing Vuvuzelas pushing them on. Crowds are often a 12th man and a crowd blowing these plastics trumpets can make for a 13th as well.

Pienaar. Bafana Bafana's best player.

South Africa are also currently playing well and are undefeated in their last 5 warm up games (4 wins and a draw) including a 1 – 0 win against Denmark 5 days ago; so look for them to come out strong against Mexico.

Mexico have been the busiest of the 32 nations competing at the world cup playing 8 warm up games between May 7th and June 3rd. That’s more games in a month than a club team playing in a league, domestic cup and champions league, so one might assume that either Mexico are incredibly fit or already burnt out.

In that stretch they beat world cup participants Chile and Italy, 1-0 and 2-1 respectively, outplayed but lost 3-1 against England and lost a close one to the Dutch 2-1. They’re more than ready and their quick, slick passing game will put the South African defense on their toes.

Mexico’s defense on set pieces has left little to be desired, as shown in the game against England and this is where South Africa will look to score their goals. They will send giant defender Booth up for any corner or set piece into the box. Everton’s Pienaar will run the show for South Africa and veteran EPL striker McCarthy will be eating a pie somewhere.

TSG PREDICTION – DRAW 2-2

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It's okay Thierry. We think you should start even if Domenech doesn't.

FRANCE versus URUGUAY
Uruguay, winner of two world cups (1930 and 1950) have not done too much in recent WC history. In the 80’s and 90’s they were known as a very dirty team but their rough play couldn’t get them past the round of 16. This time around they finished 5th in qualifying and needed a playoff against Costa Rica to get to South Africa.

Los Charruas strength is in their attack with Atletico Madrids Diego Forlan and Ajax Luis Suarez leading the charge. Both are fantastic strikers and can score from inside and outside of the box. Their back line is anchored by Captain Diego Lugano but the rest of squad is relatively young.

This team is a mixture of youth and experience and depending how they gel will obviously determine how they will do.

France as mentioned in a previous post are a mess. Just today it was announced that the players are demanding that potential NY Knick point guard Thierry Henry should start in tomorrows game ,where as stubborn as a mule coach Domenech says he’s coming off the bench. Internal dissent between a team is never good.

Also rumors are abound that certain players are not even passing to each other in friendly games, so things are looking pretty woeful for Les Blues.

Still, their team is chock full of excellent players who play at the highest levels and for the best teams. They’re professionals and hopefully will act like it.

This game will come down to whether Uruguay’s defense can handle Ribery, Gourcoff, Govou and Henry. They have played many games together and if they can get along, they should roll out as winners. Uruguay is going to have counter in order to win, but France’s defense is well tested and should not have a problem with Forlan and Suarez.

TSG PREDICTION – France 3 – Uruguay 1

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16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sam on 2010/06/10 at 5:07 PM

    Mexico will probably win that one. They don’t smack of sentimentality to me and their fans travel pretty well. I think the home team advantage stuff will probably be more effective on European teams than North American teams who usually don’t like each other all that much on game day generally.

    Unless of course South Africa fills the stands with 100,000 dudes throwing beer bottles…

    Reply

  2. I really hope South Africa wins, but I don’t think they will. They just lack the quality to beat Mexico. I don’t think it’ll be the blowout some of my friends are predicting though. I’d guess 2-1 or 3-1 at the outside.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Tom M on 2010/06/10 at 7:24 PM

    I would love to see SA win and advance as well. The home crowd can’t be underestimated. I just don’t know if they have enough quality to get through. A tie in this game is certainly not out of the realm. This group is very intriguing. To me every team has the potential to get through.

    Reply

  4. Posted by KMac on 2010/06/10 at 7:59 PM

    On one hand, I root for Bafana Bafana – quite an endearing team. On the other, I’d like to see CONCACAF represent.
    Who am I kidding Dos y zero!
    KMac

    Reply

  5. Posted by Len on 2010/06/10 at 8:11 PM

    Sorry Shaun but North Korea is actually the lowest ranked team at 105. I think SA might have a chance to win it……they did very well against Spain in the third place game at te confederations cup last summer.

    Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/06/10 at 9:16 PM

      You beat me to the north Korea comment and I’m assuming by win it u mean the game not the tournament right?

      Reply

      • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/10 at 10:31 PM

        My bad…totally forgot about North Korea

        Reply

      • Posted by Len on 2010/06/11 at 2:09 AM

        Oh the game definitely. Pienaar’s good, but he ain’t that good. I hope they get out of the group stage but I agree that they may be the first host nation not to do so. Under 5 hours to go!

        Reply

        • Posted by Brad on 2010/06/11 at 5:37 AM

          No one must doubt The Boys The Boys will make the second round. Honestly, it’s just going to happen. If Japan ’02 and USA ’94 could do it, they will too. And they will win one of these games by at least two goals.

          Reply

  6. Posted by Wheels on 2010/06/10 at 8:44 PM

    I do so hate to be the downer, but you are of course aware that McCarthy will in fact *not* be leading the line for SA, right? He’s not on the damn team.

    The only line his fat ass will be leading is the one at the concession stand.

    Reply

  7. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/10 at 8:46 PM

    I thought McCarthy got left at home?

    South Africa has the better nickname, but Mexico is better everywhere else. I doubt the main homefield aspects for SA — loud horns and altitude — will faze Mexico in the least, though there’s always also the reffing. The afternoon kickoff should mean it’s not too cold for the Tri.

    Reply

    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/10 at 10:36 PM

      I totally missed that. I knew he made the 30 as an overweight guy but i just assumed he would be in the squad for old times sake…my bad and thanks for bringing that up

      Reply

  8. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/11 at 12:34 AM

    Actually,, the truth on McCarthy is that he got left home because he kept sneaking women in at late hours to the training facility. That’s been confirmed.

    C’mon Shaun step it up!

    Reply

  9. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/06/11 at 3:46 AM

    I can see Mexico taking this match too. Their performances have been pretty impressive, even though the results didn’t go their way. I think they will have too much for RSA.

    Reply

    • Yeah, it’s best not to exhaust your luck in the warm-up friendlies and save it for the cup. I’m conflicted about this one but I do know that I’m heading to the pub in about 10 minutes for a meeting.

      Reply

  10. FINALLY!!!! The day is finally here. I see it being a 2-2- draw, but other than the emotional high they’ll be on for this first game I don’t see RSA with enough to do anything against the other two teams.

    Reply

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