Monday, May 17, 2010

Surprise Selections (and other news) from Group C, the Most Overrated Group in South Africa -- England, USA, Slovenia, and Algeria

The hype surrounding this group could move mountains. That's because it contains the Cup's two most overrated teams, at least by their fans - England and the USA. But interestingly, Group C also has two of South Africa's more underrated squads - Algeria and particularly Slovenia. Upsets are definitely possible in a group without a truly dominant squad.

So, it's on to recent developments with the teams, in an order of finish on which we wouldn't bet the farm:


Every four years, the English are convinced that "football is coming home." But the reporters who cover the team - who usually join in the mass delusion - have begun to notice that the good ship England is taking on water. Note the recent headlines: "England Remain A World Cup Longshot," (from When Saturday Comes) and "Rest of the World Will Not Fear England Squad," says Oliver Kay" (from the UK Times). After a season in the always tough and physical Premier League, England's players are tired and hurting, and the team never had a keeper, or a decent second striker, or enough defenders to be a top-flight contender anyway. That's why manager Fabio Capello tried to get both the aged Paul Scholes (Man U) to return (he failed, fortunately) and defender Jamie Carragher of Liverpool (he succeeded, unfortunately), who had already lost a step several years ago. This is the same Jamie Carragher who wrote in his autobiography after he retired from international duty two years ago, "I was never in love with playing for England in the first place." Not a good sign.

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