Wednesday, April 7, 2010

World Cup 2010, Vol 5: This might get Messi Senior Soccer Analyst and Los Angeles correspondent, Josh Garcia, is back with the fifth of his continuing series examining the 2010 World Cup.

A little more than two months stands in the way of me being able to watch the World Cup (at work, hopefully). I’m literally starting to get giddy. Four years ago I was heading into my Senior year of college. I was living in Cortland, NY, and “couldn’t find a summer job.” Too bad for me that the World Cup was on all day, starting at 9am and going until 5pm. It took the place of my job. I gained weight, never went outside, didn’t talk to anybody and loved every minute.

I watched about 98% of the games in 2006. I recall watching Argentina V. Serbia and Montenegro and hearing about this Argentinean “prodigy” that was coming into a blow out for the last 15 minutes. This “prodigy” soon set up Hernan Crespo’s goal from a precise ball across the 6. He would later score a goal to go up 6 to nothing. Needless to say, he had flashes of brilliance.

The youngest player to represent Argentina, who was just responsible for two goals in 10 minutes, was Lionel Messi. Messi is now touted as the world’s best footballer. Messi confirmed this with his four goals against Arsenal on Tuesday in a Champions League quarterfinal match. If I were speaking to a first time World Cup viewer, I would recommend starting with watching Argentina in Group B. Argentina will be one of the more compelling teams with Messi, headlining a world-class roster led by Football Legend Diego Maradona. (Soccer/Football History 101, “Hand of God”)

If there is a coach at the World Cup with more actual playing experience, I’d like to know. Maradona has played in four World Cups (I’m giving him credit for '94) and reached two finals. Who better to lead? Nigeria, Korea Republic and Greece will most likely be vying for the second spot coming out of the group. Nigeria is going to be a fun team to watch. They have an abundance of goal scorers and veterans to anchor their defense, including Jon Obi Mikel and Joseph Yobo. Keep an eye on Obafemi Martins, who is a pure striker.

Greece is only appearing in their second World Cup and is looking to avenge the 4-0 loss they suffered to Argentina in the group stage in the United States. In fact, Greece is looking to score their first goal in World Cup play, since they were outscored 10 to nothing in their first and only appearance. Lucky for them, they have top striker Theofanis Gekas who scored 10 goals during qualifying. Don’t sleep on Greece though, they thrive on being the underdogs. Europe found that out in 2004.

Korea Republic (AKA: South Korea) rounds out group B, and South Africa will mark their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance. Following a dynamic run in 2002 that saw them reach the semifinals by beating countries such as Portugal, Spain and Italy, the Taeguk Warriors saw a disappointing run in 2006 where they didn’t make it out of group play.

Either way, group B will be one of the more entertaining groups to watch merely for the fact that you’ll be watching the greatest footballer in the world, Lionel Messi.

(Image courtesy Online Betting.UK)


WorldCup said...

Very good read and I'm with you on Messi, he will no doubt dazzle us.
But South Africa is in Group A - Nigeria is the other Group B team.

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