Of Messi And Ronaldo: Analysing Groups F And G Of FIFA World Cup 2014

Posted on June 11, 2014 in Sports

By Aritra Mukherjee:

This is a continuation of my analysis of the 8 groups in FIFA world cup 2014. Find Group A here, B and C here, D and E here.

Fifa2014

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.

Argentina

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 the 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.

  • Star player to watch out for:
  1. Messi: He is simply one of the greatest players. The 4 time Ballon D’or winner would certainly want this piece of gold to be added to the several he already has. He is very quick and with his pace and footwork, he can take defenders apart; so hope to see a goal scoring galore from him.
  • Team Rating: 4 stars (1/2 stars less for excluding a fit Tevez! However, Angel Di Maria looks very strong this time alongside Zabaleta and their forwards are enviable to say the least.)
  • Expected Position: Top of the table, possible semi-finalists.

Nigeria

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.

  • Team Rating: 3 stars
  • Expected Position: 3rd or 4th in the group.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

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.

  • Star player to watch out for:
  1. Begovic: I know Dzeko is part of this squad too but Begovic’s role would be crucial since the back doesn’t look as good as the front. His form for Stoke has earned him bids from Madrid and Manchester United.
  • Team Rating: 3 stars
  • Expected Position: 3rd or 4th in the group (considering it’s their first appearance).

Iran

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.

  • Team Rating: 3 stars
  • Expected Position: 2nd in the group.

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.

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 to break the jinx.

  • Star player to watch out for:
  1. Lahm: He is a gem for Bayern Munich and his country alike. His skill as a captain will be tested and whether he will be able to guide Germany to their 4th win will be answered. He has to manage huge stars and some of the greatest players in the world and his probing runs would be important in providing support to the attack when needed.
  • Team Ratings: 4 ½ stars (great list of players waiting to win a trophy and watch out for Klose for this 16th goal and more)
  • Expected Position: 1st in the group and possible semi-finalists, at least.

Portugal

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.

  • Star player to watch out for:
  1. Ronaldo: Portugal is Ronaldo and I think he is much more similar to Maradona in terms of temperament and having to play the ‘one man army’ role. If Portuguese players are a little more kind to him, then they will give him the ball more and hopefully defend less.
  • Team Rating: 4 stars
  • Position: 2nd in the group and quarter-finals, at least.

Ghana

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 team looks quite strong to beat the best.

  • Star player to watch out for:
  1. Kevin-Prince Boateng: It was a tough choice between him and Gyan and he won. He is vastly skilled and can take defence apart alone; he has a bagful of tricks and is one of the hardest hitters. He ought to come good against a weak Portuguese and US defence
  • Team Rating: 3 ½ stars
  • Position: 3rd or 2nd in the group.

USA
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.

  • Team Rating: 3 ½ stars
  • Position: 3rd or 4th (Hoping to be proven wrong).

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