Daily Cup Check: Previewing Group C
OTF contributor Sam Fels is going group by group with his beer goggles to set you up for this summer of footy fun and love…
On to Group C, which unlike the first two is actually somewhat open. Maybe.
Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece
See, if you’re a gambling man like me, this would have been an excellent dark horse to take to make some real noise. But then Falcao’s knee went poof, and now they just look a very good side who probably have their limit — the quarterfinals.
The overriding factor is they’re coached by Jose Pekerman, who still hasn’t totally cleaned his pants since he completely shit himself in the quarters in 2006 in Germany. You’ll recall an absurdly loaded Argentina led Germany late, before Pekerman removed every attacking player he had, inviting Germany to throw everything forward without any consequence. They equalized, Argentina spit it on penalties, and Gabriel Heinze kicked everyone in sight which was kind of his thing. So no matter how well Colombia is playing, I fully expect Pekerman to fuck it up.
This team is still pretty loaded, and unlike some of their South American counterparts they can actually defend when they have to. Falcao is a loss, but they have replacements. It won’t help when their manager spontaneously combusts in the quarters again, but they’ll still make some noise. With a healthy Falcao though, they could have been deafening.
This has to be the time, right? In the previous two World Cups, Cote D’Ivoire has been drawn into the group of death, and went out valiantly. But this time there’s an opening, right? They only have perhaps the best midfielder in the world. They also play Cheick Tiote behind Yaya Toure, which has to be the most frightening combination in the history of the sport.
Are they going to let opponents go into the center of midfield armed with bats? Because they should. Yeah, Drogba is old but you have to think he can conjure up one or two more games of the old battering ram, especially against Japan, who have no one to deal with him. And if he can’t, Wilfried Bony can. But then again, if they have to play Kolo Toure, all bets are off. Believe me, I know.
Seems they’re the neutral choice. They do play an attractive style. Last World Cup I completely dismissed them as shit, only to watch them dance out of the group. I won’t make the same mistake this time, but they’re in deep here.
Both Ivory Coast and Colombia can basically bully them, and I don’t know if they have enough pace to play their game around and through them. We know Greece will simply try and plug up the gaps, which will make it hard for Japan to break them down. The humidity won’t bother them much, but then again it won’t for any of their group opponents.
Easy on the eye, they’ll throw a scare into everyone, but I doubt they’re getting out ahead of the first two mentioned.
You know the drill here. They’re going to try and bore everyone to death. You’ll be amazed that Georgio Samaras is still employed as a footballer. They’ll pick off a goal or two on set pieces. They’ll probably get out of the group even though you’re rooting for every other team to do so ahead of them. It will be annoying. They’ll get trounced by a better team in the round of 16. And you’ll wonder why we even bothered.
Need more World Cup and USMNT chatter? Follow @OTFSoccer