October 20, 2020

2010 World Cup Vignettes: What we know about Group B

General:

• One thoroughbred; three hopefuls

• The greatest players don’t always make the best tacticians or coaches.

Group B:

My beloved Argentina appears to be the class of the group. A two-time World Cup winner, Argentina, boasts a cadre of talent, particularly at the striker position, and they have the pedigree and a belief they can win.

Several things concern me about Argentina, however. I don’t see solid tactical decisions in the form of in-game adjustments, formations and substitutions. I see old players in important central midfield positions being asked to perform beyond their capabilities. I see a Swiss cheese defense that better teams will expose as Argentina progresses to the knockout round.

Coach Diego Maradona is god in Argentina, and he brings passsion and a tremendous desire to win to his team. I also commend his commitment to attacking football; however, this team needs better defensive organization and discipline and a coach willing to recognize it. Oh Diego, you will ultimately break my heart.

Nigeria is the only African team in the group, and the only team with little to no chance of advancing to the knockout round. Nigeria has no points from two of the three games they’ll play in the group stage. While not impossible, it’s highly unlikely the “Super Eagles” advance beyond the group stage.

That leaves Greece and South Korea to battle for the remaining spot in the knockout round. South Korea beat Greece 2-0 in Group B’s first game; nevertheless, I give both teams about even odds of advancing. Greece bounced back with a 2-1 win over Nigeria, while Argentina trounced South Korea 4-1.

Greece finishes the group stage against Argentina, and North Korea finishes with Nigeria. Flip a coin or take your pick. Will Nigeria battle South Korea tooth and nail to salvage a result for national pride? Can Greece surprise an Argentinean team, possibly resting important players for the knockout round?

I know who I think will advance but, like most of you, I have no crystal ball handy. That’s what makes watching the Cup so great. Watch and enjoy, amigos.

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