Dentist by day, football prognosticator by night, our own Dr. Hadi Zogheib is scouting out each group at World Cup 2010 and predicting first round scores and standings. Here’s what the good doctor says about Group C:
England: Their rabid fans will expect no less than first place from this mediocre group, and Don Fabio’s men should deliver. World class all over the pitch (except in goal), England will nevertheless be heavily reliant on Wayne Rooney to pop in a goal or ten. The Lampard/Gerard cohesiveness question has arisen once again with Gareth Barry’s questionable fitness, but as long as Super Wayne is healthy, expect to see the Men of St. George’s Cross advance deep into the tournament.
Slovenia: The smallest country, population-wise in the World Cup party, the Slovenians are just happy to be there. However, any team from Europe is capable of a surprise (just ask mighty Russia, who Slovenia beat in a playoff to get to South Africa). The men in green will rely heavily on Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to keep them competitive.
Algeria: Coming off an unconvincing 3-0 loss against the Irish in a recent friendly , the Algerians look to be the weakest team in the group based on talent alone. However, any team that can defeat African champions Egypt in a playoff deserves to be respected. They may not be technically gifted, but the Algerians are as scrappy as they come.
USA: As Ian Harrison wrote in a previous entry, the Yanks are not just in South Africa to make up the numbers. Excellent goalkeeping from Tim Howard and a solid midfield led by Clint Dempsey will help the Americans give any opponent a run for their money. Edson Buddle has been tearing up MLS this season with the LA Galaxy, and has earned his call-up, but it will most likely be Jozy Altidore who coach Bob Bradley relyies on to lead the line.
England 2-1 USA
Algeria 1-0 Slovenia
England 3-1 Algeria
Slovenia 0-2 USA
Slovenia 1-2 England
Algeria 0-0 USA
England 9 pts
USA 4 pts
Algeria 4 pts
Slovenia 0 pts