Today the World Cup sets before us a tasty platter, including a little game between the U.S. and England.
South Korea vs. Greece (Group B)
Set the alarm early for this 5:30 a.m. kickoff and grab that wake-up cup of coffee. This is a good start to the day. Why? Because this is the least anticipated game of the day. It only gets better from here.
Neither team is expected to go far but both have a chance to get out of the group. That goes more toward three of the teams in the group being close in talent level, while Argentina is head and shoulders above the rest.
The Greeks will focus on slowing South Korean midfielder Ji-sung Park, which means the Koreans have to adapt. Their speed should be enough to put pressure on the Grecian defense.
Meanwhile, the Greek offense will have a sizable height advantage over the South Korean backline.
Argentina vs. Nigeria (Group B)
After morning coffee with the South Koreans and Greeks, we move on to breakfast. Nothing too heavy to spoil lunch, but maybe a couple of bagels to chew on while watching a couple good storylines develop.
All of Africa is hoping one of its teams can make a deep run. The Nigerians are one of those teams with real expectations of reaching the knockout stages. Unfortunately the Super Eagles will be without John Mikel Obi, their most important player. The Nigerian dream might turn into an early nightmare if Argentina’s talent plays to its potential.
Which brings us to another great storyline: Diego Maradona coaching Argentina, one of the top three teams in the world talent-wise. Everyone wants to know if Maradona can get Lionel Messi playing for his country at the same level Messi performs for Barcelona. But it’s not only Messi that will be under the microscope. Will the rest of the team perform the way they are capable of, or will Maradona somehow hold this team up?
By the time those questions are answered, we’ll be on to the main course.
England vs. United States (Group C)
What’s to say that hasn’t already been said? It’s possibly the most hyped game in U.S. soccer history. It could end up being the most watched game in U.S. history. A lunch of grilled hot dogs and hamburgers (as American as you can get) should be served up for the 12:30 p.m. start.
What does the U.S. need to do to win? Score early and play solid defense or play solid defense and steal a goal late. Pack nine men in the box and pray for a tie. Any way you slice it, the Americans can’t hope to exchange scoring chances with the Brits. England will dominate possession, and the U.S. knows that.
The Americans, namely Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey have to take advantage any time they carry the ball up the wings. And if they can get the ball in the box, Jozy Altidore and whomever coach Bob Bradley teams with Altidore have to capitalize.
Defensively, if Oguchi Onyewu isn’t healthy the U.S. is in trouble. Nevermind the fact that captain Carlos Bocanegra is way too slow to be playing at left back, which will be a horrid matchup against England’s speedy winger Aaron Lennon. If Onyewu can’t battle Peter Crouch in the air or Wayne Rooney on the ground, the Three Lions will have a field day in the offensive third.
And that could leave us the viewers with an upset stomach.
- Scott Kaniewski