The 2010 FIFA World Cup is right around the corner and for those who like to base their predictions on tradition the title should be coming to South America.
Europeans teams never won a World Cup played outside their continent and Brazil is the only South American team to win in European soil but that was back in 1958.
This time though the FIFA World Cup will be played in South Africa. It’s the first time an African nation has been granted the right to host the competition and Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay will represent the South American continent.
I will be writing here once a week (Mondays or Tuesdays depending on the matches schedule) to bring you reviews, previews and share my opinions on how the South American nations are performing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
For now let me give you a little preview on what to expect from each one of these countries in their group stages:
Once again Argentina brings one of the strongest squads to the World Cup. Led by the untamed and legendary Diego Maradona, the teams counts on the best player of the world at the moment – Lionel Messi and as always the Argies promise no less than the title.
They’re in group B along with Nigeria, South Korea and Greece. None of those team I believe will rival Argentina in group stage. Their opening match against Nigeria take place on Saturday, June 12 and it will be determinant to Maradona’s aspirations.
Argentina could face either Uruguay or Mexico in the second stage of the World Cup and then we would really be able to see what this team of stars can produce.
Like they say “Brazil is always Brazil.” Apparently there are no limits to how many talented players this continental nation can produce. That’s one of the main reasons Brazil is always among the favorites to win the World Cup. This time is no different.
Some questions arouse when Brazil was accompanied in group G by Ivory Coast, Portugal and North Korea. This latter one obviously not a threat to the Seleção’s plans but with the Ivorians wanting to become the African sensation of the tournament and Portugal feeling they have their best squad since 1966, Brazil’s task seems a little harder than they expected.
However as Brazilians like to claim “God is Brazilian” and their main rivals have already suffered serious blows to their squads. Portugal lost Nani and Ivory Coast might have a Dider Drogba playing with a fractured arm.
I see Brazil leading group G and the toughness of the challenges might even boost the team’s energy to pursue their sixth world title.
Chile is a team on its prime. It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen a Chilean squad with some much talent, organization and potential. I wouldn’t be surprise to see Chile fight for the lead of group H with Spain.
Players like Pablo Contreras, Jorge Valdivia and Humberto Suazo are the pillars of Bielsa’s boys. The main threat for the Chileans in group stage is their first opponent; Honduras. A good result right on this first encounter and I believe Chile can pass to the second to face a tough battle against either Portugal or Ivory Coast. And that’s when the lack of a more powerful bench might send Chile back home earlier. I hope not.
Let me start by saying that after years and years in search of a way to score goals Paraguay had found the answer in Salvador Cabañas. Everything was going great for them. Paraguay led the South American qualifiers for many rounds and didn’t have a lot of problems in securing their spot in the 2010 World Cup finals but then…
The attack against Cabañas’ life in a bar/club in Mexico shocked us all. The images of the striker laying on the restroom floor with blood all over made not only the Paraguayans weep but also the world of football. Thank God he recovered and went on a race to get back to the best of his health in time to help his teammates succeed in South Africa. Time proved to be a fierce enemy and Cabañas will have to watch from the stands.
Now it’s up to Edgar Benitez, Roque Santa Cruz and veteran Oscar Cardozo. They will be the main attacking pieces of a team whose objective is to take from Italy the first place of the group right on the first match of group F on Monday, June 14.
Two time World Champions but since 1970 Uruguay hasn’t made it to the semifinals of a FIFA World Cup.
This year it won’t even be easy to get out of the group stage. Uruguay is in group A along with hosts South Africa, France and Mexico. It will be probably the most balanced group of the tournament.
Everybody has a chance but nobody is a big favorite. South Africa could be taken as underdogs relying on the home advantage. France has a very unstable as sometimes boring team but the talent is there. Mexico is coming with a lot of enthusiasm after their recent results, so I see a very, very tough road ahead of Forlan and his teammates.
So here is my preview on the South American nations.
Agree? Disagree? Did I mess up? Let me know!