SE: World Cup Preview: Group A and B
In 2006 France flew past other teams on their way to finishing second behind Italy in the World Cup. They still have star Thierry Henry playing what may well be his final World Cup and two underrated midfielders in Franck Ribery and Yoann Gourcuff. They will advance unless Uruguay or Mexico stops them. Mexico is a young team that will prove themsleves with a June 17th game against France. Javier Hernandez(14) is the key to Mexico's success. The 22 year old just signed with Manchester United after a strong stint with Guadalajara. He has some help in 21 year old Carlos Vela. Uruguay has a rich history of winning World Cup after World Cup but this season they need 31 year old Diego Forlan to play like he did when he won Europe's '08-'09 Golden Boot. Coach Oscar Tabarez has some other options in guys like target man Sebastian Abreu. Group A is just a little too powerful for Uruguay to advance. South Africa is right at home but that doesn't mean they have a chance in the group. They have some playmakers including Steven Pienaar. Manager Carlos Alberto Parreira has his hands full hoping they will not become the first host nation not to get to the second round. Advancing: France, Mexico
Lionel Messi(9) is just one the stars playing on this year's Argentina team. The reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, Messi will get some help from Carlos Tevez and Diego Milito. Argentina is pretty much a lock for the second round.
Africa at least has one team that has a legit chance of going on in Nigeria. John Obi Mikel, a defensive midfielder at Chelsea needs to become a playmaker to get some goals for Nigeria. Nigeria doesn't need to much scoring because they have Vincent Enyeama in goal. Europe hopes to add another team to the second round equation in Greece. But, Otto Rehhagel needs some players to become a second round team. Don't expect a performance close to Rehhagel leading the Greeks to the European Championship in 2004. 2002 host SouthKorea hopes that they can recreate that 2002 in which they upsetted Spain and Italy along the way to the World Cup semis. For that to happen they need untested Lee Chung-Yong and Park Chu-Young to rise to the occasion. Advancing: Argentina, Nigeria.