World Cup 2010: Group C
There's no denying that the draw for the 2010 World Cup was favourable for England who are favourites in the betting odds to win Group C in South Africa.
Following the draw for the World Cup groups one national newspaper lead with the headline England Algeria Slovenia Yanks, clearly forwarding their view that Group C was there for the taking. In all honesty Fabio Capello's men should cruise through to the knockout stages but any other result could see this Group renamed C for Catastrophe.
|Appearances (Last)||12 (2006)
||2 (1986)||1 (2002)
|Best result||Winner (66)
|-v- England||-||P9 W2 D0||P0 W0 D0||P1 W0 D0|
|-v- USA||P9 W7 D0||-||P0 W0 D0||P0 W0 D0|
|-v- Algeria||P0 W0 D0||P0 W0 D0||-||P0 W0 D0|
|-v- Slovenia||P1 W1 D0||P0 W0 D0||P0 W0 D0||-|
|Star man||Wayne Rooney
|View all William Hill's World Cup 2010 betting odds BET NOW|
|To win Group A
||3/10 (1.30)||9/2 (5.50)||16/1 (17.00)||10/1 (11.00)|
|To lift the cup
Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H
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Dream group or potential nightmare?
Favourites to top Group C are England at 3/10. The Three Lions are hoping that their 13th appearance at the World Cup finals will prove a lucky omen and that they can finally repeat the heroics of 1966 and add that elusive second World Cup trophy.
The so called "golden" generation of English football has flattered to deceive at both the 2006 and 2002 World Cups exiting acrimoniously at the quarter final stage. This could be the last chance to shine for the likes of Lampard ,Gerrard, Carragher and Terry however and they will hope to progress further this time under the stewardship of head coach Fabio Capello. The Italian has instilled a new belief in the England camp, one of the main reasons why, despite being ranked at 8th in the FIFA world standings, they are joint third favourites at 13/2 to be champions in Johannesburg come the World Cup Final July 11th.
Fabio Capello's rejuvenated England cruised through qualifying winning nine games, their only defeat being against Ukraine after qualification had already been secured. Very impressively, England scored 34 goals in the 10 qualifying matches with Wayne Rooney notching 9 of them.
England's final squad of 23 was announced this week and the major shock was the omission of Theo Walcott, a player Capello had always rated. In his place Joe Cole, Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright Phillips were chosen to fill the wide positions. The injury to captain Rio Ferdinand has rocked the squad with Tottenham's Michael Dawson called up as an emergency replacement
There is still debate on who will start the tournament in between the sticks with James, Green and Hart all putting on impressive performances for England and their clubs in the last month.
England's star man is undoubtedly the prodigious Wayne Rooney. The devastating striker has been in irresistible form for his club Manchester United this season, taking the plaudits with 26 goals in the league alone. His record for England is nothing short of sensational, 25 goals in 60 games means an average of a goal every 2.4 games. He will be looking to add to this in South Africa and is priced at 10/1 in the tournament top goalscorer betting.
Stars and Stripes surely won't settle for Group C second spot
Team USA will be the greatest threat to England in the group with FIFA ranking them only 6 places behind their English counterparts at 14th in the world ranking, and William Hill making them 9/2 to top the group.
Bob Bradley will be leading the American’s into their ninth World Cup, a good record for a nation where soccer still lags behind when it comes to national sports. The USA have Premier League experience in abundance with the likes of Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Jonathan Spector and Jozy Altidore gracing English stadium’s every weekend. But don’t expect any favours for Anglo-American relations. These players are aiming for a reoccurrence of the USA’S famous victory against the mighty English (Stanley Matthews et al) at the 1950 World Cup in Belo Horizante, Brazil.
The USA ultimately qualified in comfort for the finals following a somewhat stuttering start. Thirteen wins, two draws and three defeats meant the team topped the the CONCACAF final phase, partly due to the six goals of leading goalscorer Jozy Altidore. During the qualification process, the Stars and Stripes also took part in the 2009 Confederations Cup where, due to courage, skill and a lot of team spirit they managed to make the final. En route they ended the 35 match unbeaten run of Spain who they defeated 2-0 in the semi-finals.
The one to watch for the USA is the man who has been the focal point of US football for almost a decade, Landon Donovan. David Beckham’s LA Galaxy team mate has amassed 122 caps for his country and scored 42 goals, a terrific 1 in 3 ratio. His pace and creative attacking have kept him at the top of his game and will go into the World Cup after 3 months alongside his compatriot Tim Howard at Everton on loan, where Fabio Capello was able to keep a close eye on the man from California. He has odds of 125/1 to be the tournaments leading goalscorer but is more likely to be the creator of goals for his teammates Altidore and Dempsey.
Can the Desert Foxes sneak into second place?
The group outsiders at 16/1 are the African representatives, Algeria. Ranked 30th in the world Les Fennecs, the Desert Foxes, are making their first appearance at a World Cup since 1986 and will be hoping to progress past the group stage for the first time in what will be their third finals campaign.
The coach from 1986 Rabah Saadane returned to the international scene in 2007 to take up the post once again following the national team’s failure to qualify for the 2006 and 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. His return has sparked somewhat of a transformation and the Desert Foxes qualified for the finals in dramatic circumstances. Algeria will start the World Cup at odds of 500/1 to go all the way and lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
After coming through the first round of qualifying as group winners, Algeria finished the second round tied for first place with their fiercest rivals Egypt. The play-off match was played in neutral Khartoum. A thunderous volley from Antar Yahia was enough to see Algeria progress at the expense of their North African adversaries, sparking wild celebrations across the capital city of Algiers. The goal that clinched the place in South Africa saw Yahia finish as joint top goal scorer on three goals, along with Karim Matmar and Rafik Seifi.
Algeria’s success in qualification was largely down to their great team spirit and collective efforts. One man that will be a great miss to Algeria will be Mourad Meghni who was dubbed ‘Le Petit Zidane’ after helping France to the 2001 U17 World Cup before opting for Algeria. He's been sidelined by a knee injury and will miss the entire tournament. Some of the Algerian squad will be very familiar to Premier League followers, with Yebda and Belhadj plying their trade with Portsmouth while Madjid Bougherra has Champions League experience as well as a successful spell with Sheffield Wednesday.
Can the dark ponies of Group C surprise again?
The smallest of the 32 nations competing in South Africa will be Slovenia. They are ranked 25th in the world by FIFA and the bookies have them at 10/1 to win the group ahead of 30th ranked Algeria.
Matjaz Kek will lead his charges into South Africa after taking charge of the national team in 2006. Despite earning only one cap for his country as a player, Kek has gone on to prove himself as a manager both domestically and internationally. He has exceeded all expectations by leading his unfancied team back on to the game’s greatest stage. As Kek himself said after seeing off the Russians: “Slovenia has realised a dream.”
Slovenia will be attending their second World Cup finals and will be determined to advance further than the group stage, where their 2002 campaign was cut short. Odds on this tiny country winning the entire tournament are currently 400/1.
Their qualification for the 2010 World Cup is all the more astonishing given the tough group they were drawn in. Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic were expected to battle it out for the top two spots but the plucky Slovenian’s came through, only narrowly missing out on top spot due to Slovakia’s 1-0 win in Poland in their last game. The team’s success being based on their mean defence which was second only to the Netherlands in qualifying. A playoff against Guus Hiddink’s Russia ensued and after a 1-1 draw in Moscow, a decisive strike from Zlatko Dedic sent Slovenia through. The aggregate score of 2-1 was a huge shock to World football and means no one will dare to underestimate Matjaz Kek’s men.
Slovenia’s leading goalscorer in qualifying was Milivoje Novakovic. The striker, who earns his crust at German side FC Koln, scored 5 times in Group 3 to boost his side’s chances of progression. A modest strike rate of 14 goals in 37 appearances does not do justice to the player who has a record of a goal every other game for his club side. He is priced at 150/1 to head the goalscoring charts come July.
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