Group D – Germany, Serbia, Australia, Ghana
In what looks one of the tighter groups Germany will be a strong favourite to advance and will probably be group winners. All the other group teams are in with a chance and this is reflected in their high FIFA rankings.
Germany have a terrific record in World Cup Tournaments having won the final three times (2 as West Germany) and appearing in the final on 4 other occasions. They almost invariably reach the quarter finals and look in good form having come through a reasonably strong qualifying group without losing a game. Most of their squad are household names in Europe and they are currently amongst the favourites to win the Tournament outright. It would be one of the shocks of the tournament if they don’t qualify.
Serbia are a bit of an unknown quantity and have plenty of talent at their disposal including real quality in defense with Branislav Ivanović & Nemanja Vidić. They will be hard to score against (they only conceded 8 goals in qualifying) and could easily sneak a victory, which with two draws would probably be enough to qualify. They won a tough qualifying group and could easily become the surprise team of the tournament. The only question mark against them is their lack of experience at this level as they have only reached the finals once before as Serbia and Montenegro. They are ranked 16 in the World by FIFA and could make it to the second round where England could be waiting.
Australia were carefully seeded in the Asian Football Confederation groups, almost guaranteeing their qualification making it quite difficult to get a true assessment of their potential. They have some quality players though and cannot be written off, even in such exalted company. Surprisingly ranked 20 by FIFA they will be no pushovers however they have the misfortune of opening their account against Germany which could leave them playing catch up with either Ghana or Serbia. I would be surprised if they manage to reach the second stages.
Ghana are one of the strongest of the African Nations, and are probably the most likely to qualify. They played well in the recent African Cup of Nations and in Essien have one of the worlds top midfielders. However there are question marks over his fitness and he could miss the finals which will be a major blow. Ghana without Essien in what is a mini three team group of death may just lack the quality to get past Serbia. Much as it would be nice to see them in the second stages
So who will qualify? Well it will be a major surprise if Germany don’t make it and they will probably win the group. After that literally any of the other three could finish second and it is hard to decide between the three of them. Overall if Ghana as expected don’t have Essien then I think Serbia will just sneak the second place, however if he is fully fit then I will be backing Ghana.
Final predicted finishing positions:
2 Serbia *
* Assuming Essien is not fit to play for Ghana.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Chelsea’s Essien Set to Miss Rest Of Season (nytimes.com)