So, Milwall beat Swindon 1-0 at Wem-ber-lee today to win promotion back to the Championship after five failed attempts to escape League 1. Should we read anything into the fact that one of English football’s most maligned teams has taken a step up the ladder on the 25th anniversary of the Heysel tragedy, one of the game’s darkest moments? Let’s hope it’s just a coincidence.
Daily Archives: May 29, 2010
With the World Cup now less than two weeks away, it’s time for old, out-of-shape wannabe footballers like myself to jump into the debate. In the coming days, I’ll be analyzing the teams group by group and, at the same time, attempting the impossible by predicting the outcomes. Wish me luck – I’ll need it! Let’s start with perhaps the toughest group to predict, at least on paper:
France: Although they are officially unseeded at this World Cup, the French will be the favourites in most people’s eyes. Hand of Henry aside, the French are too deep in talent at all positions to be written off so swiftly. Speedy, technically gifted, and boasting a proven pedigree of world class players, if the French can come together in the group stage, they can give any team in the competition a run for their money.
Uruguay: The absolute last team to qualify for the World Cup, they edged out Costa Rica on aggregate in a playoff. This team may be one of the more entertaining ones to watch, as they are strong up front and weak at the back. Goals should not be a problem for the South Americans, as they possess one of the most leathal strike partnerships in the tournament, with Diego Forlan of Atletico Madrid and Luis Suarez of Ajax combining for over 50 goals this season. If they can get their defence organized, this team may be the surprise of the early rounds.
Mexico: Perennial underachievers, the Mexicans will once again be a tough opponent for anyone. With a population of over 100 million and a passion for football that is second to none, it is amazing that the CONCACAF powerhouse has never progressed beyond the quarterfinals. They, like Uruguay, possess a strong set of strikers, such as premier leaguers Carlos Vela (Arsenal) and Guillermo Franco ( West Ham). Rafa Marquez of Barcelona will once again be called upon to anchor the defence (although he may be deployed as a holding midfielder as well). Time will tell if this is finally Mexico’s time to break through.
South Africa: The hosts can count themselves unlucky to be drawn into such a tough group. A poor showing in the recent Africa Cup of Nations tournaments does not bode well for them, but with over 60,000 people willing them to victory at every game, this team will not roll over easily. They are more than capable of emerging from the group.
Here are my predictions:
South Africa 1-1 Mexico
Uruguay 1-1 France
South Africa1-2 Uruguay
France 2-0 Mexico
South Africa 0-1 France
Uruguay 1-1 Mexico
France 7 pts
Uruguay 5 pts
Mexico 2 pts
South Africa 1 pt