December 3, 2020

2010 World Cup Vignettes: What we know about Group A

General:

Vuvuzelas, present at every Cup game, are among the most annoying noisemakers on Earth. It’s like watching a football game from inside a bee’s nest.

South Africa has done a solid job of preparing for and pulling off the World Cup. Several months ago there were worries galore. However, logistics, transportation and security all seem top notch, so far.

Group A:

This is a delicious group.

Uruguay is no joke. Top scorer, Diego Forlan, scores goals aplenty for Athletico Madrid, a Spanish club team from one of the best leagues in the world. Forlan already tallied two goals against host nation, South Africa.

Countryman, Luis Suraez, plays for Dutch giants, Ajax, and he’ll surely generate plenty of interest from big European teams following the cup. He’s yet to prove himself of the World Cup stage, however.

Uruguay, a previous cup winner, is well-coached, has balance, poise and enough talent to reach the knockout round. This is a sleeper team to watch.

South Africa managed a 1-1 tie against Mexico in its first game, a tremendous achievement for the host nation. Unfortunately, the Bafana Bafana simply don’t have the talent or pedigree to progress from this strong group. The South African’s must win against France to make it out of group play and, despite not playing well, France still has too much talent and experience for South Africa.

Mexico managed only a tie against South Africa in opening round play, so it’s pending game with France is critical, for both teams. The team winning the Mexico/France match should advance to the knockout round with Uruguay.

France has more talent on its bench than most teams have period. France’s problem: its coach, Raymond Domenech. Domenech’s players dislike him; the French Football Association dislikes him; and French fans dislike him. His replacement as national team coach waits in the wings until after the tournament. I can’t help but believe this ambiguity, ultimately, stunts France’s chances for progression.

That said, I have no prediction for the France v. Mexico game. There are plenty of intangibles in play. My mind tells me the talent and pedigree of France prevails; my heart tells me not to underestimate Mexico’s passion and desire to win. Those variables generally equate to a terrific game. Let’s hope so for the fans of the world’s most beautiful game.

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