“Of all the groups in all the World (Cup), you had to walk into this one?”
…is a sentence that none of the teams in Group C will be saying to one another. I see no footballing or historical rivalries in this group and quite frankly it disappoints me.
Four countries from four completely different parts of the world who have never even had the decency to fight a war with one another. Considering Japan are part of this group, that’s pretty piss-weak.
To top that off, none of these teams has ever met before in a World Cup, so to say this is a beige group in terms of rivalry is putting it lightly. But rivalries have to start somewhere, and perhaps it will be Brazil 2014 that finally ignites a long overdue nuclear arms race between Greece and Colombia.
1st – Cote d’Ivoire (FIFA Ranking: 23. Net Worth: $207,628,902)
A bit of a smoky, given that most are picking Colombia to come out on top; however, I have doubts about their ageing defence.
I think the long loping strides of Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure may prove too much for the other teams in this group. Sure, those blokes are no spring chickens themselves, but as any Australian football fan will tell you, it’s better to have a Cahill up the front than a Neill at the back.
There’s a lot to be said about having a wily old fella up front. He doesn’t need to do too much, but a couple of smart touches can be enough to turn the game. Whereas aging defenders can easily be given the run around by a quick young pup, who hadn’t even undergone the process of spermatogenesis when they were first lacing up their boots to step out onto the international arena.
Overall, however, I mainly think Les Elephants will win this group because they’re due and, as most punters will tell you, there is a lot to be said for that line of thought.
2nd – Colombia (FIFA Ranking: 8. Net Worth: $311,013,926)
Ah Colombia. “The Cartel”. Buoyed by what is effectively home ground advantage, but hampered by loss of their star player, Radamel Falcao, it will be interesting to see if they can live up to expectations.
We all remember what happened to Adres Escobar. This is a team that will be driven by fear more than anything else. Genuine shit-your-pants we-might-be-shot-if-we-lose fear, and that can do funny things to people.
I remember a time when I got so drunk and high I genuinely feared for my life. I can assure you, as I thought desperately of all the people I’d never see again and the all-you-can-eat Sizzler buffets I was going to miss out on, I was in no good position to put in a solid performance on the football pitch. Think about it.
3rd – Japan (FIFA Ranking: 46. Net Worth: $167,655,654)
The country that invented ninjas has always been, in my mind, a perennial underachiever when it comes to football.
Perhaps it is because they have so many ninjas that their national squad suffers? Like the NRL and AFL are a constant drain on our Rugby Union and Test Cricket teams? I don’t know.
I do know that I love watching Japan play anything, because they always do it so well, yet never seem to win much. Everything about the nation is so graceful, yet completely mad, and I just think that’s wonderful. It would not surprise me if they snuck into the Round of 16, and I kind of hope they do, but then they may have to live with the death of eleven Colombians on their conscience and I couldn’t see them going much further.
But surely the lunatics won’t kill them all? So who knows? If they pass the group stage, they may just win it.
4th – Greece (FIFA Ranking: 12. Net Worth: $120,767,391)
Now, I have several big questions about Greece. How the fuck are they ranked 12th in the world? And who the hell is footing the bill for this little junket to South America? Surely not the tax-payers? Do they even pay tax in Greece? You would think the country would have bigger fish to fry than sending a bunch of blokes to South America to retrieve a bit of gold.
Or are things just that desperate? The World Cup trophy has to be worth a bit on the black market. I doubt if you melted it down it would be worth that much, but surely some mad Russian billionaire would be willing to wipe Greece’s entire debt just to put the Copo do Mundo on his mantle piece he had specifically carved from the bones of dead sex-slaves.
Why don’t they just sell the team, I wonder? Australia could buy it! Don’t tell me the FFA don’t have a lazy $120 million lying around to buy a team. It seems a small price to pay for the 12th ranked side in the world. We paid more than $45 million for a failed bid at the 2022 World Cup (so effectively nothing), surely we can buy the Greek National team?
Anyway, I am tipping Greece to do poorly because I have a feeling they may seek refuge in Brazil and ‘disappear’ like those guys from Sierra Leone during the Sydney Olympics.*
By Alasdair McClintock
* Did they ever find them?