South Americans Rampant In Pool Play

by Dave Redden

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Round One of pool play is in the books along with the opening game of Round Two and one statistic that is standing out for me is the success rate of the South American teams.

In Group A Uruguay now look a lock to advance after a 0-0 draw with France and a comfortable 3-0 win over hosts South Africa thanks mainly to two goals by Diego Forlan. They should get a result against Mexico too which would see them through to the Round of 16.

Elsewhere, fellow South Americans Brazil may may have struggled against unknowns North Korea but the result was the expected victory to set them on their way. Highly fancied Argentina, led by national hero and cheat, Diego Maradona, also opened with a 1-0 victory albeit a less convincing one as they defeated Nigeria to open their tournament. Paraguay battled to a 1-1 draw with Italy in their Group F opener which will help their cause and Chile looked good as they knocked off a weak Honduras team by 1-0 to start their campaign.

After six days of play no South American team has yet met defeat. The European stakes are somewhat different though.

France struggled to a 0-0 draw to open against Uruguay while Greece failed to get off the bus against South Korea, going down 2-0 in Group B. Everyone knows England’s exploits as they could only draw against USA. Slovenia did gain a 1-0 victory over Algeria while Serbia went down 1-0 to a Ghana penalty.

Netherlands defeated fellow Europeans, Denmark 2-0 to open Group E while Italy struggled against Paraguay 1-1. Portugal could only muster a goalless draw against Ivory Coast while Switzerland stunned Spain 1-0 in another all-European game.

The host continent of Africa seems to be struggling on their own soil. South Africa’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Uruguay coupled with their opening day draw with Mexico all but knocks them out of the tournament making them the first ever host country not to make it out of pool play. Nigeria lost to Argentina, Algeria lost to Slovenia, Cameroon went down 1-0 to Japan while Ivory Coast earned their draw with Portugal and Ghana have claimed the continent’s only win to date.

Brazil to win it all? Or have the South Americans peaked too early? One thing is for sure …. South Africa didn’t!

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