GERMANY (FIFA RANKING: 6)
I love Germany:
And I very much hope to go back there one day:
Which is why I was a bit disappointed when we drew them. I would have preferred an Italy for some revenge, or Uruguay, this time for a stoush actually in the World Cup! But there you go, we have Germany. In qualifying, the Germans didn't lose a game and conceded just 5 goals. But it's not all good for the Krauts; goalkeeper Nauer late last year was only battling for the 3rd-choice keeper spot, captain Ballack has been ruled out and there are form queries over striker pairing Klose and Gomez. Their strength here is the defensive unit of Lahm, Mertesacker, Friedrich Boateng and Badstuber. In the midfield Schweinsteiger and Trochowski are key players, but it's the youngster Ozil who's tipped to become the next superstar for the Germans. Up front there's Klose and Podolski who were both fantastic in Germany '06, Gomez, and waiting in the wings, Cacau and Kiessling (second top goalscorer in the Bundesliga last season). So it's going to be tough for the Socceroos, but not impossible...
SERBIA (FIFA RANKING: 16)
Watching highlights of the Serbs in qualifying had me a bit worried, but New Zealand showed that perhaps we'll have the defensive game plan to frustrate them also. And even without a star striker, we have a lot more going forward than the Kiwis. Followers of the EPL will be very familiar with the defensive capabilities of Vidic and Ivanovic, so it's going to be tough to break them down. In the midfield they have new Liverpool signing Jovanovic and the veteran Stankovic, giving support to Sonofabic and Fuckoffyabic. Up forward they have a monster in the 2.02m Zigic:
But if you can lose to the Sheep-Shaggers then you're easy meat for the Socceroos! Yes I'm drunk and full of bravado posting this, but I don't care, Go the Socceroos!!!
GHANA (FIFA RANKING: 32)
Ghana have also lost their captain, and for the Black Stars, this is a big deal. When Chelsea lost Essien mid-season, they looked lost. He's that good. And Ghana will miss him no end. If they really click, they have the potential to beat us by a couple of goals, but they don't click all that often. I think we can frustrate the hell out of Ghana and finish with a comfortable victory. All along I've thought that this is the game to target the maximum 3 points. Even without Essien, their strengths lie in the midfield with the likes of Appiah, Muntari and Asamoah. Gyan up front is dangerous and needs to be contained, but you know what, the drunker I get here, the more Ghana gets the wooden spoon in this group! Go the Socceroos!!!!!!
AUSTRALIA (FIFA RANKING: 20)
I have never wavered in my belief that we can get a result out of our first match with Germany. A lot of Australian football fans still have an inferiority complex towards their own team, but the fact is, we are world class. Sure a genuine striker would be nice, a bit more depth would be nice too, but if we get it right, we are capable of great things:
It's the perfect time for us to play the Germans, that is, in a situation where they are not facing elimination with a loss. We are certainly capable of beating Serbia and Ghana. The form of Cahill and Kewell will ultimately depend on how far we go, but I'll predict that we progress. Like Germany '06:
Good times people. Go the Socceroos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Prediction: Australia to absolutely smash this group (I've had a couple) and progress with Germany!
|Match||Date||Venue||Team 1||Team 2||Kick-off (AEST)|
|21||18 June||Nelson Mandela Bay||Germany||Serbia||21:30|