AFTERMATH OF THE WORLD CUP DRAW: WHERE DO THE GOONERS STAND

The FIFA World Cup draw was made this evening with some intriguing groups and some less competitive groups. Like almost every club in Europe, their players would be making the long trip to Brazil, the gooners would not be left out, Gooner of Steel looks at the prospects of the gooners and where the draw leaves them and their national teams

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THE FRENCH MUSKETEERS

After the exciting play-off victory over Ukraine in November, France would be confident of their chances in Brazil; and they have every reason of being confident after getting a fortunate alongside Honduras, Ecuador and Switzerland. The French should be able to navigate through this group and would have just South America giants, Ecuador to trouble them. Switzerland must not be forgotten too, they have a very good young squad and did very well in the qualification. Wish Sagna, Giroud, Koscienly and maybe flamini and Diaby success. Emiliano Viviano might not make the Italian squad esoecially with his lack of game time and with Buffon, Sirigu and Marchetti all playing regular for their clubs

BIG QUESTION: in their past tournaments, they have always had in-house fighting that has thrown them out of those tourneys; can they avoid the egos in the squad?

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THE GERMAN MACHINES

I consider this group as the toughest. With Ronaldo led Portugal, African power house Ghana and CONCACAF giants USA, it won’t be easy. Germany faced USA in a friendly in June and were dealt with, so they won’t be taking them with kid gloves. Ronaldo can destroy any team in the world but apart from the Madrid Forward, Portugal cannot confidently call another star. It would be another show down between the Boateng brothers, Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

BIG QUESTION: can Germany navigate through this group with their young and exciting players and win the World Cup for the first time since 1990?

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THE BELGIAN RENAISSANCE

Thomas Vermaelen would square up against Korea team mate, Ju-Young-Park. Other members of the group would be Algeria and Russia. Belgium should be able to qualify is their form in the qualifying is anything to go by. Former gooner, Arshavin and his Russia team mates would surely give Belgium a fight especially with an experienced coach in Capello.

BIG QUESTION:  can Belgium re-enact the much promise they showed during qualifying and become the dark horses in Brazil?

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THE SPANISH DELIGHT

The stand out game of the group stage is surely the replay of the 2010 final between Spain and Holland. A lot has happened to both team since that night in the soccer city stadium three years ago, but the main players are still around, expect a spectacle. They would also have Chile and Australia to contend with. Chile should not be looked at as a small team in this group; in the last few months, they have beaten England in Wembly and Spain needed a last minute goal to salvage a draw, Carozla and Monreal and friends should be careful of this group.

BIG QUESTION: can Spain continue to dominate and win the World Cup?

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THE ENGLISH LIONS

England are in another Group of Death alongside group G. Italy, Costa Rica and Uruguay would be hard for England. Ballotelli and Pirlo (Italy), Suarez and Cavani (Uruguay) could be tough for the Three Lions. Gibbs, Wilshere, Chamberlain and Walcott and friends would be at their best to qualify. They must be fully focused. If they can qualify from this group, then I would take them seriously. Yet to be baptized gooner, Joel Campbell and his Costa Rica friends would also want to spoil the English party.

BIG QUESTION: simply put, can England qualify from this group?

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THE SAMURAI WARRIORS

Even though Ryo Miyaichi might be a bit-part player for the Japanese, he would still make the 23 man team (if not injured). The Japanese are in a group where anyone could qualify. Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia are teams on the same level, even though Greece seems to be bottom of the food chain, they would still ruffle feathers. Japan would draw confidence from their spirited draw with Holland last month.

BIG QUESTION: Japan reached the quarter final in 2002, can they repeat the same heroics in Brazil?

 

MY DEAR SUPER EAGLES

As an avid follower of my dear Super Eagles of Nigeria, I pray they qualify. May Nigerians are celebrating a group of Argentina, Bosnia and Iran, we must be very careful. Argentina and Nigeria must be tired of facing each other in the World Cup group stage as they met in the 1994, 2002 and 2010 World Cup. Bosnia are living the dream and would be very confident, Dzeko and co would be hard. Outsiders, Iran are seen as the whipping boys already but we must not forget that they were one of the early qualifiers for Brazil.

 I wish all gooners going to Brazil for the mundial. I hope a gooner wins the World Cup and imitate Fabregas, Viera, Petit , Giberto Silva and co. #COYG

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