World Cup 2010 – the Another King preview

3 Jun

With the greatest festival of sport almost upon us, the Renwick pundit has returned from his/her end-of-season break to provide us with a comprehensive preview of the 2010 FIFA Coca-Cola McDonalds Visa Continental Budweiser World Cup. He/she has also enlisted the help of top football expert Ben Hanna to tell us who is set to shine in South Africa. Not wanting to leave non-football fans/Americans/girls out, there is also some helpful information to help the casual observer get the best out of this month of magnificence. The preview will be in four parts, posted between now and when the tournament starts. So without further ado…

Group A

South Africa

The hosts are not a noted footballing power, but will have plenty of home support and what sounds like a swarm of bumblebees to spur them on. Recent friendly performances have provided encouragement with a few good victories.

Info for non-fans: Keep an eye out for Matthew Booth, a massive white centre-back amongst a team of black players, who sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Ben’s one to watch: Everton’s Francois Pienaar, fresh from his starring role in Invictus, will provide the flair for the hosts.

AK prediciton: Home advantage can only get you so far, and a deceptively tough group could prove a stumbling block. Out in the group stage.

France

Despite RP representation in Nantes, Thierry Henry has single-handedly eroded any goodwill felt for the French. That is, until they face England in the quarter-finals. A recent change in system has provided Domenech’s side with renewed impetus, and they could surprise a few people.

Info for non-fans: Cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

Ben’s one to watch: Zinedine Zidane will want to atone for his headbutt in 2006.

Prediction: Unfancied by many, the French still have a fine collection of players, and their new system seems work for them. Semi-finalists.

Mexico

Technically skilled but lacking in bulk, the Mexicans are capable of producing some gorgeous football at times, but will need to improve on their incisiveness if they are to succeed.

Info for non-fans: Their kit is an awful shade of surgical-scrubs green.

Ben’s one to watch: Cuahtemoc Blanco may be 37, but he did a bunny hop once, so he must be good.

Prediction: Should get out of the group, but will find it difficult against more physical opponents. Second round.

Uruguay

I have to admit, I don’t know much about these guys. They have turned up and surprised a few people in the past however. Have two big name strikers in Forlán and Suárez.

Info for non-fans: Uruguay is not an insult.

Ben’s one to watch: Diego Forlán, even though I hate him.

Prediction: A smattering of very good players doesn’t make up for a lack of strength in depth. Group stage.

Group B

Argentina

Two words: el Diego. The greatest player of all time has decided to grace us with his bonkers presence at another World Cup. However, despite his bizarre selection policy, Argentina have a settled first XI and great strength in depth.

Info for non-fans: Manager Diego Maradona has promised/threatened to run through the streets of Buenos Aires, wearing nothing but a ridiculous beard, should Argentina win the trophy. Naked Rob is therefore supporting them. Also, watch out for his fantastic belly-slides along the touchline, should his team score a late winner. Ladies, watch out for noted hottie Carlos Tevez.

Ben’s one to watch: Leo Messi is a fine footballer. He’s now level with John Arne Riise in my mind.

Prediction: A squad packed full of fantastic talent, but with el Diego in charge, an hilarious catastrophe is never far away. Quarter-finalists, Buenos Aires lives to fight another day.

Greece

Greece will be hoping for some summer lovin’ (although it’s winter in SA), because despite winning Euro 2004, the World Cup is the one that they want, oooh oooh oooh. However, they better shape up, because they need a friend, not to mention more attacking impetus, to progress further than the group stage.

Info for non-fans: Kostas Katsouranis and Giorgios Karagounis are the John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John of the Greece midfield.

Ben’s one to watch: Sotirios Kyrgakios is a quick centre half.

Prediction: Defensive organisation and set-pieces will not suffice. Group stage.

Nigeria

Managerial changes, airport delays, rumours of players being significantly older than they should be, and email scams have disrupted preparation for the tournament. Lars Lagerback may be weighed down by pints of Carlsberg as he crawls along on all fours, but he has significant experience managing Sweden at previous World Cups.

Info for non-fans: Keep your eyes and ears peeled for defender Danny Shittu.

Ben’s one to watch: Kanu, a pacy young dynamo who covers every blade of grass, will be crucial to their chances.

Prediction: Have plenty of talent at their disposal, but Lagerback may not have had long enough to get to know his squad. Group stage.

South Korea

Industrious and energetic, the South Koreans will be aiming to replicate their semi-final appearance in 2002. Key to these aspirations will be Park Ji-Sung, Lee Chung-Yong and Kim Nam-Il.

Info for non-fans: The only team ever to turn up to a World Cup with a pink kit. This year’s red affair is more conservative.

Ben’s one to watch: Should things go poorly, expect dictator and world’s greatest golfer Kim Jong-Il to play himself in the hole.

Prediction: Better organisation than the Nigerians and more attacking options than the Greeks could see them progress, but will be hard pressed to go further. Second round.

Renwick Pundit will return with the second installment of the preview in due course, looking at groups C and D. Also, watch the blog for information about this year’s World Cup fantasy football tournament, coming soon…

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4 Responses to “World Cup 2010 – the Another King preview”

  1. James June 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    Lol. Epic work Pundit. I particularly like Uruguay!

  2. Peter F June 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Hilarious reading- ‘Cheese-eating surrender monkeys’, haha, read that in The Times today.

  3. Ben June 3, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Wrong Robert I’m afraid my one to watch for Greece is samaras. He has been magnificantly suceasful at the highest level and can score from practically anywhere. Good report though

  4. Robert June 3, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    Pundit tells me he is thankful for your correction. Any other player tips, send me a text and I’ll pass them on.

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