Reaction to the World Cup Draw

Monday, 7 December 2009 ·

Is it fair to say that this was expected? All of the top seeds have a reasonably easy ride out of the group stage with no really interesting ties to be played in the group stage apart from Group G where Brazil will face Portugal and the Ivory coast. The only cause for concern may be Group A where the hosts, South Africa, will play Mexico, France and Uruguay. Controversially (maybe) earning their place in South Africa, through the play-offs against the Republic of Ireland, the French are undoubtedly still a force to be reckoned with and
have players who have graced this stage before and will see this as maybe a final chance to end their illustrious careers on a high. For South Africa, the advantage of being may be enough to spur the players to a greater level of performance but with a group containing Mexico and France, qualification for the next phase may just be beyond them.
England can be satisfied with their group. Barring a slightly stricky tie with the United States the other two games against Algeria and Slovenia shouldn't pose too many problems, especially with Fabio Capello at the helm for his first World Cup. There should not be too much pressure on the players with Spain and Brazil being the two teams expected to contest the final, maybe we might see a more confident England team, providing the first eleven can stay clear of injuries for the rest of the season. The only negative about England is their strength in depth: if the first eleven are not producing enough quality is there anyone on the bench capable enough to come on and really change the game?
Brazil will be expected to progress from Group G, the only really tricky group for any of the top seeds, but the ties against Portugal and the Ivory Coast may just determine how strong this current Brazil squad is.
For Spain in Group H, the age old question of whether they will wilt come the knockout phase will hang over their heads, but this current squad has proven that they can produce the goods on the big stage after winning Euro 2008. After surprisingly being beaten by the United States 2-0 in the Confederations Cup, Spain, under the new reign of Vicente Del Bosque will have something to prove in this World Cup. Having recently regained the mantle of the world's number one team, they will be out to prove that the rank of number one is indeed worthy.
My prediction is for a Spain-Brazil final with Spain as winners.

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