The Cup Running Over

June 16, 2010 5:25 PM

Thursday Preview: Argentina-South Korea, Nigeria-Greece, and France-Mexico

The second set of games continue with Group A and Group B joining the fray, for better or worse, in what has been so far the worst World Cup of all-time.


Both these teams won their first games but the comparison is likely to end there. Argentina is on cruise control in an easy group, figuring out how to loose Lionel Messi so he can finally get some goals for the national team and letting coach-superstar Diego Maradona insult his way through South Africa. (Yesterday it was UEFA head Michel Plantini and Pele.) The truth is that it looks like Argentina won't be seriously tested until the knockout rounds, even with veteran Juan Sebastian Veron now missing due to injury. For its part, South Korea works hard; has superstar and national hero Park Ji-Sung and may actually get of this group. But at altitude, the Argentines should win.


We had New Zealand or North Korea ticketed as the worst team in South Africa but so far, Greece has the crown. In its last game, it continued its streak of never having won a World Cup game (0-4); never having scored in one, and conceding in the first ten minutes of three of the four. That's formidably terrible. Nigeria isn't great either, especially without injured midfielder John Obi Mikel, but it's better than that. In a World Cup full of bad games, this has the potential to be one of the worst.

Greece-v-Ukraine-World-Cup-2010-Qualifier.jpgThis is obviously a picture that was not taken at the World Cup since Greece has never had anything to celebrate there.


Both teams should show some urgency, given that Uruguay seems likely to claim one of the two tickets out of the group, but urgency and France don't belong in the same sentence. This is a team that never concedes more than a goal but seldom scores more than one either, if that. Meanwhile, the rap on the Mexicans has always been that they spend so much time admiring each other's handiwork that they forget to score -- a problem with a team that is weak up front anyway. Another low-scoring, midfield struggle -- for teams and fans alike.

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