by Jason Green of Predictem.com
The FIFA rankings as of May 6th are Argentina 7th, Greece 12th, Nigeria 20th, and South Korea 47th.
Argentina is the major favorite to win Group B and while they are a loaded team with a ton of individual talent they do not play great team soccer and they did not look impressive in qualifying matches. Lionel Messi of Barcelona is, perhaps, the best striker in the world and the Argentina midfield is solid led by Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano. They do not have a stellar defense and that may hurt them, especially when they face Nigeria. Argentina relies of individual efforts to score and they have to play better as a team and this is even more the case if they make the playoffs where they will face elite teams.
Nigeria is all about offense, as they use an attacking style and can do so with players such as Osaze Odemwingie of Locomotiv Moscow, Obafemi Martins of Wolfsburg, and Ikechukwu Uche of Real Zaragoza. They will have a bit of a home field advantage in South Africa, but it will have to make up for a lack of a strong defense. They are much like Argentina, as they rely on their solid strikers to create goal-scoring chances and do not play a great team game.
Greece is a dark horse in this Group even though FIFA has them as the 12th ranked team in the world. They are unlike Argentina and Nigeria, as their main strength is their solid defense anchored by Liverpool’s Sotirios Kyrgiakos. They do not give up many goals, but they do not score many goals as well. The Greeks will sit back on defense and wait for the counter-attack to score. If they can play lock down defense and take advantage of their few scoring opportunities Greece has a legit chance to make it out of Group B.
South Korea is the major underdog in Group B and even though FIFA has them ranked at 47th in the world it is a long shot that they will make it out of the group. While they do not have many world-class players they are a cohesive unit that works very hard. They were the Cinderella team in the 2002 World Cup when they were the host and made it to the semis, but another run like that one is unlikely. South Korea’s offense is led by striker Park Ji-Sung of Manchester United and striker Park Chu-Young of AS Monaco, but they have a weak midfield that will have trouble getting this duo the ball. Their defense is decent, but undersized, which really hurts them on set pieces.
If Argentina beats Greece and Nigeria, which they should, the big match in the group may be between Greece and Nigeria for second place in Group B.
Here are the odds to win the Group Stage B at Sportsbook as of May 6th.
South Korea +1100
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