Monday, June 2, 2014

World Cup Preview: Group H Predictions

And we've arrived. Barely a week before the tournament, this is the final group preview in the World Cup. If I get enough time, I may do a knockout preview, but we shall see. Read everything you need to know about every World Cup group here.

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic

Blue Steel.
This is the group the USA could have had. Weep for the poor Americans. Weep, I say.

Prediction: Belgium win group, Korea Republic second.


This picture is too good to use just once.
Belgium are kind of an under the radar superteam. Along with Eden Zoolander Hazard up there, Belgium has EPL studs such as Romelu Luk(kakukuku)kaku from Everton, Vincent Kompany from Manchester City, and the oft-maligned but undeniably talented Marouane Fellaini from Manchester United. They're just really stacked overall and they should have no problem rampaging through this group. There really are two types of groups at this World Cup - the deathy ones and the non-deathy ones. This is as far from death as you can get.

Korea Republic.


Not sure when these guys started going by "Korea Republic" instead of the ever-popular and much more easily understood "South Korea", but regardless. I think they'll get themselves out of this group. Mainly because their manager has selected a group of players that make their living in the more competitive European leagues, such as Arsenal's Park Chu-young, Bolton's Lee Chung-yong, and Bayer Leverkusen star Song Heung-min (that guy up there). 

The Koreans are a young team, with no player in their 30s. Youth usually equals fresh legs and strong lungs, two attributes that will be needed in abundance against the high-scoring Belgians and the pacey Algerians in muggy Brazil. That was a lot of adjectives. Regardless, look for Korea to sit back and play their possession game against Belgium, and perhaps press Algeria into a few mistakes at the back. The decisive game in this group will be Russia vs Korea on June 17.


Hey there.
Wait a minute. This isn't terribly model-esque. I think Eden can do better. Eden?

You got it, dude.
Thanks Eden.

Russia's problem in my eyes is that they just didn't take the right players. I don't care how out of form and favor some players are, the Russians are simply a worse team without Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Roman Pavlyuchenko. They play against better competition than the squad that manager Fabio Capello has selected, which contains only players in Russia's domestic league. The camaraderie might be invaluable, but I'm not sure how far it will get the Russians. Plus, Russia = cold and Brazil = hot, and their three send-off games are against the weak nations of Slovakia (a 1-0 win), Norway (a 1-1 draw) and Morocco (playing on June 6). 


Algeria has one of the coolest nicknames in the tournament: the "Desert Foxes". Unfortunately, they basically suck. They're sort of like Iran in that they're the best team from a terrible region. They barely snuck in after beating a country called Burkina Faso. They'll be lucky to draw a game.

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