2010 World Cup Draw and Commentary
by Trevor Whenham - 12/4/2009
The field is set for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and now we finally know who everyone is going to be playing. This is where things really start to get interesting. Here's a first look at the good and bad of the 2010 World Cup draw:
France - They certainly don't deserve a break, but they got one anyway. They were placed in Group A along with the host South Africans, Mexico, and Uruguay. That's a group that France can get out of - even if they play as poorly as they did in qualifying. Their 16/1 futures price looks better now than it did yesterday.
U.S. - The Americans got a solid break as well. It initially didn't look good for them as they drew into a group with England, the third choice in the tournament at 7/1 before the draw. Luckily, things got much better from there. Algeria and Slovenia fill out Group C, and the Americans should be able to handle those two. The second round isn't bad, either - Group D includes a weakened Germany team, Australia, Serbia and Ghana. I still don't think that the American future price of 40/1 is at all attractive, but it's definitely more so than it was before.
Argentina - Talk about a gift. They drew into Group B with Nigeria, Greece, and South Korea. Argentina, led by legendary former player Diego Maradona, has been a popular upstart choice to win it all, and this draw is only going to accelerate that. They weer at 9/1 before the draw, and I now expect that to fall.
Group of Death - There is always a Group of Death, and this time the closest thing we have is Group G. It features three legitimate contenders - co-favorites Brazil, Portugal, and Ivory Coast - Africa's top squad. All three of those teams looked like second round teams before the draw, but there will only be two. The fourth team in the group is North Korea, a squad that we predictably don't know too much about, but which we have to expect will have a short tournament.
Spain - The co-favorites are looked at by many, including me, as the best team in the field. This draw only improves that opinion in my eyes. Switzerland, Honduras, and Chile aren't terrible teams by any means, but none of them are on the same level as Spain - not even close. Spain likely doesn't need to be at their very best early in the tournament to still make it into the later rounds.
Italy - The defending champs were at 14/1 before the draw and have an uphill battle to take the title again, but the draw could have been worse for them. They are in Group F facing Paraguay, New Zealand, and Slovakia. Italy should be solidly favored to win that Group and move on. That means they would face the second place team n Group E in the second round. Holland is very likely to win that group, leaving Japan, Denmark, and Cameroon to fight for the second spot. All three would be in very tough against Italy.
Interesting potential matchups - Holland and Brazil could meet in the quarterfinals. I'd pay to see that. That could be only the second best quarterfinal, though - Italy and Spain are on a path to collide in that round as well.
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