The World Cup Draw took place today in South Africa. Here are the groups and some hastily written thoughts.
Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France
There could be some intrigue here. France are the most talented team, before you factor in Raymond Domenech. Mexico are solid. Uruguay have one of the best goalscorers in the world, Diego Forlan. They could pull off an upset.
Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece
No pushovers for Argentina in this group, but no real stern opposition either. Nigeria barely qualified. South Korea are solid, but don’t really have the man-power. Greece are still living off Euro 2004.
Group C: England, United States, Algeria, Slovenia
Bob Bradley is breathing a sigh of relief. England have the best manager in the world, Fabio Capello, but U.S. will be pumped. Algeria and Slovenia were arguably the easiest draws in their respective pots. The U.S. not advancing from this group would be a disappointment.
Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
That’s a close second for Group of Death status. Germany, Australia and Ghana all qualified for the group stage in 2006. Though, Australia don’t have Guus Hiddink. Serbia have a solid squad and performed well in qualifying. Germany should be a lock, but any of the other three could go through.
Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon
The Dutch should advance easily. Denmark were great in qualifying, but that may be their ceiling. Cameroon have some talent surrounding Samuel Eto’o. Japan can score goals. They beat Ghana 4-3 in a friendly in the Netherlands and also topped Togo 5-0 at home.
Group F: Italy, Paraguay , New Zealand, Slovakia
Easy draw for Italy. Paraguay are okay. Slovakia were less than dominant in an easy European qualifying group, only outscoring teams not San Marino 11-9. New Zealand are non-factors.
Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal
The infamous “Group of Death.” Brazil are Brazil. Ivory Coast may be the most talented African team. Portugal have Cristiano Ronaldo. North Korea receive the appropriate karma for their human rights record.
Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile
It’s a winnable group for Spain, but not an easy one. Chile should be exciting, but very hit or miss. Switzerland are solid. Wilson Palacios is a nice player, but perhaps not good enough to carry Honduras through.