Recaps and game analysis to follow one or two hours after each match.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Group D: Australia

The Socceroos are back for not only their second world cup, but their second world cup appearance in their history.  After making it to the round of sixteen in 2006, they were uprooted from their Oceana qualifying group and placed into Asia, which they promptly stormed through to the finals.

Now more experienced, Australia is sure to be a hit at the 2010 World Cup. However, they were unfortunate enough to be placed in a very tough group. Most people say Group G is the group of death this year, but I disagree. Brazil will qualify, Portugal has not been as good lately, but will still get lucky, Ivory Coast is a bit overrated, and North Korea will be last place at the tournament. On the other hand, Germany may be rock steady, but Australia, Serbia, and Ghana are all very strong teams, and they all have a shot at getting second place. Furthermore, if one of them manages to upset Germany, then any of the three could even possibly get first in the group!

Currently there is a lot of criticism on coach Pim Verbeek. Naturally it is a tough job for any coach to follow in the steps of Guus Hiddink, but Verbeek has been criticized for playing to conservatively. Sitting on wins by playing defense rather than attacking, and substituting out needed attackers to put on more holding midfielders.  Hopefully the warm-up matches will give Verbeek an idea of which starting team he would like to run, and use them to their highest potential.

Australia's toughest game will be against Ghana, as the two teams fight over second place.

Key Players: Tim Cahill (pictured) has been a lifeline for club (Everton F.C.) and country. Possessed of a strong work ethic, he can make good runs and score, knocking four goals in qualification. If he can stay fit, Harry Kewell is also a natural selection, having played in the EPL for a number of successful years.

My Prediction: Group D 3rd place, just narrowly missing out on goal differential.

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