Welcome back to the Post Up! I will keep this introduction short and sweet, a few days ago we started to look at the World Cup and who will be advancing to the knock-out stages. We looked at Group’s A and B so far, so today we will be looking at Group’s C and D. Alright, so let’s get this thing started.
Group C Overview:
In Group C for the World Cup, the teams consist of Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast, and Japan. As it stands, this is one of the weaker groups compared to everyone else. That being said, without their being any “powerhouse” this group is completely up for grabs. According to FIFA, the rankings for every team in this group is 5th, 10th, 21st, and 47th, respectively. So with this group being such a toss-up, who will win it?
Group C Winner: Japan
This may come as a shocker for those of you that follow soccer and the national teams. As already stated, Japan is ranked 47th in the world, according to FIFA, and many other writers have not chosen them to move on. They claim that Japan is too small and weak and not able to cope with the climate. However, in my opinion, Japan is perfectly suited for these group match-ups. The Japanese team is filled with very good players, who by the way are professionals and are going to be able to adapt to the climate like any professional. I find it insulting that they are being so grossly underrated just because of their size. They are in a group that can go any which way and with the mass amounts of creative and technical players that Japan has, I believe that this will bold very well for them. With the likes of Kagawa, Okazaki, Honda, Endo, etc. leading the attack, and then combining them with a very solid defense in Yoshida, Uchida, Nagatomo, Kawashima, etc. this Japanese team is a very solid one. It is due to their balance in all areas that Japan will be able to advance into the knock-out stages and win Group C.
Group C Runner-Up: Ivory Coast
For the rest of the teams in Group C, they are not like Japan, in terms of balance. They are either defensive or offensive heavy, and when it comes to the Ivory Coast, they are offensively heavy. The Ivory Coast comes into the World Cup on a very good run in the last year. They have only lost to Mexico and Nigeria in the last year, and have beaten or drawn some good teams like Belgium and Nigeria. Where Ivory Coast lacks in defense, they exceed in offense. Their offense is the best in this group and one of the better ones in the World Cup. Lead by the likes of Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Drogba, Bony, etc. this attacking core is very good and strong. Their defense is not horrible, but it is average at best. They will need to step it up to keep the Ivory Coast in games, but due to the wealth of attackers that they have, I expect this to be enough to get the Ivory Coast into the knock-out stages.
Group C Dark Horse: Greece
Here is my dilemma with picking the dark horse to move on in Group C, it is so up for grabs it can go either way. I decided ultimately to choose Greece for one of two reasons. The first was that I think Columbia is grossly overrated. I understand that over the last year this team has only lost one game, and that was to Uruguay, but I still do not trust this team completely. Their big players are young and have done next to nothing on an international stage. This team is going to be spearheaded by the likes of Martinez, Rodriguez, Valencia, Cuadrado, etc. who are not only young, when it comes to international tournaments, but also most of those players are midfielders and not that great of scorers. That brings me to my second issue, Colombia has only one player that has scored more than 15 goals and right now no one knows if he will be fit in time. Falcao is giving it his all to be ready after tearing his ACL, but even if he comes back, he won’t be 100% fit. It is with all these question marks that I decided to take Greece as my dark horse. Greece is in a very open group, much like in Euro 2004, and they just need to play the way they did in 2004 and they can advance. The way for them to play is defensively. Greece is superb defensively, and no matter who plays them, they will have a hard time scoring against this team. That being said, if Greece can hold, and somehow sneak in a counter-attack goal here and there, they could surprise us by moving on into the knock-out rounds.
Group D Overview:
Here we are to Group D, the most all-around solid group so far. The group is composed of Uruguay, Costa Rica, England and Italy. As it stands the teams are ranked 6th, 34th, 11th, and 9th, respectively. While Costa Rica is ranked 34th, do not sleep on them, they are a solid team that will not be push-overs in this group. That being said, this group is also interesting and up for grabs, not to the extent but, much like Group C. What will happen? Well….
Group D Winner: England
England is the best suited to win this group and there are a lot of reasons for it. I know I was upset earlier about the whole climate thing, but in this group it does come into play. Most of these games will be played in Northern Brazil and the game temperatures are going to be right around 90ºF. It is due to this that the team that is going to win this group needs to have some familiarity with the climate and a good mixture of youth and veterans. While England do not have that familiarity as do the other teams in this group do, they have too much talent and talented youth to let the weather get the best of them. This squad is combined with World Cup experience, and youthful energy, and in my opinion is one of the better English squads we have seen recently. They have the veteran leadership in Rooney, Milner, Lampard, Johnson, Gerrard, Carroll, Hart, etc. to help along the youth. The youth on this team is oozing with talent with the likes of Barkley, Jones, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamerlain, Shaw, Wilshere, etc. With all of this, and the team looking to prove that they are one of the best in the world again, I expect England to take this group and to move on into the knock-out stages.
Group D Runner-Up: Italy
Italy is going to have a tough time in this group, and that is solely due to the weather. With Italy’s aging squad and lack of youth, they are more than likely going to have a tough time, but ultimately, they will have enough to make it out into the knock-out rounds. They do have some very good youth players like Verratti, Marchisio, Balotelli, etc. in their squad, but for the rest of them, they are old and aging. The veterans in this squad are led by Buffon, De Rossi, Pirlo, Chiellini, etc. and with that age, they may have issues with the climate. However, they do play in warmer weather, more often than not, and they also have too much class to be brought down by the climate. They also have Balotelli in their squad, and if he decides to turn it on, it will be lights out for Italy. Ultimately, it is because of their health, and class that I have to go with Italy to make it out of the group stages and into the knock-out rounds.
Group D Dark Horse: Uruguay
Okay, so you know how I just said that Italy will make it out because of their health and class? Yeah, that is way Uruguay is here, because they are not healthy. This team is ranked 6th in the world, but even that is overrated when they are healthy. Their defense is average at best, and they need to perform well above expectations in order to move on into the group stages. Also the other major issue is health. Right now their best scoring option is injured in Luis Suarez, and he says he will be ready for the World Cup, but if he plays he will not be 100% and therefore who scores for Uruguay then? Regardless of what people think, Cavani is not that great a scorer and therefore this team turns to a very aged Diego Forlan. However, with all these criticisms, Uruguay is a very good team. They also have the likes of Scotti, Rodriguez, Pereira, Godin, Muslera, etc. on their team. If the defense can figure it out, and Cavani can play well and Suarez can play well enough, it would be a surprise to no one, including myself, if Uruguay were able to move on into the knock-out stages.
Well there you have it, the predictions for the next two groups of the World Cup. Do you agree with the predictions or do you not? What do you think will happen? Let us know by commenting and leaving feedback on everything and anything we do. We also ask that you Like us on Facebook, Follow on Twitter and Subscribe on Reddit.
All stats and information courtesy of fifa.com