By Aritra Mukherjee:
Group F: Crackers
This group has the teams which are known to surprise and perform beyond expectations. Argentina won 2 world cups and went on to reach the final the very next year and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Yes, that’s a tough name) does have players to surprise a few.
The land of left-footed geniuses; Argentina is known for producing some of the best players the world has ever seen and this time also, one of the best players is playing for this team. As theÂ two time winners (both times because of Maradona), the team would want to do better than their recent past suggests, and they certainly don’t look like a bad outfit. Plus, record books suggest that Argentina fares well in their home continent.
The Eagles need to pull their socks up if they want to stand a chance in this group. Though it looks easy on paper, but results would be hard to get as this team jumps off the bus too often. Nigeria has players like Moses and Mikel who are good, but not great players.
When they say ‘Size doesn’t matter’, they are right. This small country can pack a punch and has a good squad. The fans can expect some entertainment from this team. With Begovic and Dzeko they have two quality players to boast about.
Iran is one of the strongest teams in Asia. However, they have never passed the group stages. This time, their opponents (other than Argentina) aren’t so strong and this may be their chance to finally make it past the group stages. Team work would be crucial for their success.
Group G: Attacking Fury
Group F is half as exciting as this group and honestly, when two heavy-weights clash, it is one to talk about and remember for ages. The clash between Germany and Portugal is going to be mouth-watering and most of us ought to have a sleepless night (also considering the time zone). Ghana and Portugal are one man teams and Germany boasts of stars who know to work well together, USA would have loved to be in Group F but they may prove a point to the world by beating either Portugal or Germany.
Won three times as West Germany, however they suffer a similar fate as South Africa suffers in cricket. They have the strongest squad (according to me) and their bench strength can alone make up for 2 World Cup-contending international teams. The team is rich with stars such as Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Lahm and the list goes on. Probably, after 2002 this is their time to enter the finals and win the cup toÂ break the jinx.
Ronaldo!!! In simple terms, Portugal is as good as Ronaldo and currently Ronaldo is phenomenal. He has a good squad to play with the likes of Carvalho, Coentrao and Nani. Portugual had a dismal outing last time but 2006 was kind when England lost to them on the penalties.
When Germany faced off Ghana last time around, it was a battle between the Boateng brothers and it was a treat to watch. This time, hopefully Kevin Prince Boateng would get the better of Germany and reserve the bragging rights. Ghana was denied the semi-final spot when Luis Suarez turned into a goal-keeper and this time the teamÂ looks quite strong to beat the best.
The team is usually quite united when it comes to playing soccer and they are currently ranked 13th which may surprise a few. They have only reached till round 16 and I think they would have hoped for an easier opponent than the three mentioned above. With Dempsey, Altidore and Bradsley in good form, US may actually surprise us if they pass this group and enter the knockout phase.