World Cup: South Africa Preview
South Africa is the host nation of the 2010 World Cup, but making out of their group will not be easy even though the whole nation will be behind them.
South Africa is in Group Stage A along with France, Mexico, and Uruguay.
Bovada has South Africa at +12500 odds to win the World Cup and at +650 to win Group Stage A.
South Africa qualified automatically for the World Cup since they are the host. 2010 will be the very first World Cup that is being held on African soil.
The host nation did not get lucky to get drawn into a weak group, as they will face 2006 finalist France and Mexico and Uruguay, who are both ranked in the top 20 in FIFA world rankings.
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South Africa has begun to play solid soccer in the past 20 years or so, as their domestic league has improved and they have several players that are playing in the top leagues around the world. South Africa has played in the World Cup twice (1998, 2002) and both times they failed to make it out of their group.
The strengths of the South African squad is their skilled and quick players, especially on defense, and their goalie play. South Africa also has many players that can move the ball with long runs, as passing is not their strength. Even though they have several offensive players on big international clubs South Africa’s glaring weakness is offense. They have not scored in their last two matches and their whole offense has struggled for almost a year since last June’s Confederations Cup.
To jump-start the offense South Africa will need good play from Benni McCarthy of Blackburn and Bernard Parker of FC Twente. McCarthy is a veteran and is the all time leader in goals scored for South Africa (31). Parker is a great finisher and will have to finish when he has the chance. MF Steven Pienaar of Everton will have to set up the strikers with his passing and his experience in playing in the English Premier League will be big for the host nation.
Head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has a tall task of trying to get the host team out of the group and that will be far from easy, as they will be underdogs in every group match. Every match is important for them, but winning against France is unlikely so their matches against Mexico and Uruguay are the ones they need to win to make it out of the group.
South Africa is a major long shot to win the World Cup and a long shot just to make it out of the group. However, they have a big home field advantage and they have world-class players that have big match experience.
South Africa World Cup Schedule
6/11/2010 South Africa vs. Mexico
6/16/2010 South Africa vs. Uruguay
6/22/2010 France vs. South Africa