World Cup (Groups E-H)

Published: Mar 04, 2014 07:52am EST
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 04, 2014 @ 07:52am EST

 

December 6th saw the draw for the 2014 World Cup. Countries were placed in Groups for the tournament being held in Brazil from the 12th June through to the 13th July. Over the next few days I will look at the various Groups, potential surprises and maybe even get a good gauge as to where the USA will end up and who might go on to actually win the World Cup.

Yesterday I looked at Groups A-D and sorted out who I thought would progress from each Group to make up the first part of the last 16. Today I will tackle the second set of Groups, E-H and complete my thoughts on who will progress and who will go home.


GROUP E:

Group E will consist of Switzerland, France, Ecuador and Honduras. This one I think will be an interesting Group and maybe not quite as straight forward as people might think at first glance.

Switzerland have made nine FIFA World Cups and although they missed the 1998 and 2002 each of the last eight in three of those finals. You have to look at this Group and think this could be another World Cup the Swiss can do well in. The only question mark has to be the fact that they play Honduras in the Final Group game, the same side they played in game three of the last World Cup. The failed to get a win which would have put them in the mix for that second, or even top spot in the Group. As it was they settled with a 0-0 tie and went home.

Ecuador face off with Switzerland first off and hopefully will have a more consistent three Group games than their qualification process which was anything but. 2002 was the countries first World Cup and although they failed to get out of the groups, four years later though in Germany they got to the last sixteen. Manchester United player Antonia Valencia and ex Manchester City striker Felipe Caicedo will need to perform if they want to progress. In Germany they started off with a win against Poland and followed that up with a win against Costa Rica. That meant by the time they faced Germany they didn’t need any points to progress.

Who would bet against France in this World Cup, and only a month or two after it looked as if they would not even be going to start with. They will have to do much better than four years ago when they were eliminated at the Group stage. If, and I do mean if, they beat Honduras in the opening game then I can see them going far but if they slip up then the next game against Switzerland and then the final game against Ecuador may be too much pressure for Deschamps and his men.

Honduras are expected to be the whipping boys of the Group, and they may very well turn out to be. In 2010 the first two games were against Chile and Spain and were out of it by the time Switzerland came around. This time though they start against the French, who could be nervous in the opening games. If they can get the win or even a tie then their next game against Ecuador will certainly be a can win. *Qualification: Ecuador, France

Qualification: Ecuador, France.



GROUP F:

Argentina, Nigeria, Iran and World Cup new boys Bosnia-Herzegovina make up Group F in a Group in which Argentina is expected to dominate. Bosnia are new to the stage but have players who are playing in top Leagues around Europe and will not be intimidated by the majesty of the event.

Argentina are the big favorites for this group but they would probably have preferred to play Iran first rather than the very talented Bosnian’s. How they deal with that opening game will be a good judge of how they will progress. I certainly do not think that Argentina will not progress from the groups but it may not be as easy as they might like.

Bosnia-Herzegovina will make their World Cup debut in Brazil and having to face Argentina first up will certainly throw them right in at the deep end. They certainly have enough talent to have a good run and if their qualification run is anything to go by then they could be a dark horse. Certainly for me it will be the game on the 21st June in Cuiaba against Nigeria which might be the difference between going through or home.

Iran are actually vastly more experienced in the World Cup finals than the Bosnian’s but I think would take the moon and the stars to align if they are to progress from the Group. I can see them getting a point or two but certainly not enough to lift them above two of the other three sides in the group. In Germany 2006 they found themselves in a Group with Mexico and Portugal. They finished bottom then and this Group I think is tougher than the one seven years ago. They did beat the USA in 1998 to finish second from bottom but a repeat of that fixture would see a different result and I think that shows the changes over the last fifteen years.

Nigeria are in much the same boat as France. They are certainly expected to do better than their last World Cup performance when they faced Argentina, Greece and South Korea. A single point was won that time around and home they went. This time around I really think the winner between these guys and Bosnia will determine the team to progress with Argentina.
 

Qualification: Argentina, Bosnia.


GROUP G:

When this group was announced a gasp went up from the crowd and all across America people took to social media to suggest that the USA would be three and out. Certainly it is not good when you have to face Portugal, Germany and Ghana but I like the way the fixtures have come out and I think that could give the USA an edge.

Germany start against Portugal, then face Ghana before finishing off against the USA. Certainly the hosts from the 2006 World Cup would be favorites to progress and I really do not see any argument against that assumption. The Germans did slip up slightly in 2010 when after hammering Australia 4-0 in the opening game, they went on to lose 1-0 to Serbia. The last game was against Ghana and the win took them through as Group winners.

Portugal always go into these tournaments with high expectations and usually end up just that little bit short of fulfilling those expectations. Three years ago they were in a similar position in a group with Brazil and the Ivory Coast. In that group, two tied games and a big win against Korea was enough to get them through.

Four points were enough for Ghana in the last World Cup where they actually faced and beat the USA in the final 16 before being eliminated by Uruguay. That time they started with a win which was pivotal and the same will be needed again.

So now to the USA and the first game against Ghana will be a good indicator of how they will fare. A win for the USA will set them up nicely for a game against Portugal in which a tie may only be needed. If this is the case and Germany win their opening games then when Klinsmann sets his team up against his fellow countrymen then they will have more than one foot in the door to the next round.

Qualification: Germany, USA (depending on that important first game).


GROUP H:

Finally we get to the last group and two sides from Belgium, Algeria, Russia and South Korea will make fill the final two of the last sixteen.

Belgium didn’t make it to the last two World Cups but were involved in the tournament held in 2002. There they also played Russia and pretty much was a case of winner goes through. Belgium won through but were eliminated in the next round when they face Brazil.

Algeria were in a similarly difficult group in South Africa with the USA, Slovenia and England in group C with them. A defeat in the first and last game really took the shine off the tied game with England. Had Landon Donovan not scored for the USA in the last minute and the 1-0 win gone to Algeria then they could have progressed instead.

Russia could love this group or really hate the group depending on their start against South Korea. Anything other than a win will put more pressure on them for the second game against Belgium. By the time they face Algeria it may be too little too late.

South Korea have been doing quite well in recent World Cups. Last time out they got out of the Groups before being eliminated by Uruguay. In a group that consisted of Argentina, Nigeria and Greece it was not a bad run. In 2014, like 2010 it will depend on their first match, which is against European opposition again.

Qualification: Belgium, South Korea.

So with these predictions made the first part of the Round of Sixteen will feature these matches:

Ecuador v Bosnia

Argentina v France

Germany v South Korea

Belgium v USA


So what do you think? Let me know on Twitter @PACityboy and Facebook.


 

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