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 B:
Argentina: Clear favourites in one of the easier groups of the tournament. Questions persist over Diego Maradona’s appointment as manager, but consider this; Argentina had only one victory in its first seven matches in South American qualifying and was struggling badly under then-manager Alfio Basile. Maradona’s record, while not great, was still better than Basile’s. Besides, with little Lionel Messi in the lineup (not to mention Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, or Diego Milito) , even crazy Maradona could be made to look like a genius.
South Korea: Strong on technique and speed, but short on organization and aerial strength, the Koreans are a bit of a question mark. They definitely have the ability to spring an upset but could just as easily go home without a point. They come into the tournament full of confidence, however, having just knocked off bitter rivals Japan in their home stadium.
Greece: The Greeks have never been the prettiest team in the world to watch, but they will definitely be tough to break down. Ask any of their Euro 2004 opponents. Completely opposite to the South Koreans, the Greeks use organization and strength to compensate for their lack of flair. They will also rely heavily on striker Theofanis Gekas, who led all of Europe with ten goals in qualifying.
Nigeria: Historically the most successful African team at the World Cup, and traditionally the most-feared team from the continent. But make no mistake, this is not the same Nigeria people are used to. They barely qualified for the tournament by leapfrogging Tunisia on the final day, as the Tunisians were upset in Mozambique and an 81st minute strike by Obafemi Martins sent the Nigerians through. Nevertheless, under Swedish coach Lars Lagerback, the men in green should have the talent and support to do well in South Africa.
Argentina 1-0 Nigeria
South Korea 0- 1 Greece
South Korea 1- 3 Argentina
Greece 0 – 0 Nigeria
Argentina 1- 1 Greece
Nigeria 2-1 South Korea
Argentina 7 pts
Greece 5 pts
Nigeria 4 pts
South Korea 0 pts
Also: Find out who Hadi picks to emerge from Group A.