World Cup 2010 Preview: Groups E and F

Leslie CarlsonContributor IJune 8, 2010

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 05:  A young fan of Italy shows his scarf during the international friendly match between Switzerland and Italy at Stade de Geneve ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa on June 5, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images)
Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

These groups may not be as easy to select when making a fantasy World Cup bracket.


Group E

Other than the Netherlands winning this group, there is next to no certainty about its outcome. The other three teams all have the opportunity and talent to grab the No. 2 slot.

Cameroon is not a nation that should be overlooked. Eto’o is going to be an asset to this team along with all of the other players from clubs all over Europe. Their midfield is strong with Arsenal’s Alexandre Song and Lyon’s Jean Il Makoun.

Achille Emana also has six goals in 31 appearances. Their defense is all right so they could pick up at least one shutout.

Denmark has players from a lot of the big name clubs, but their depth may become an issue. They will need to be injury-free and the young players will have to step up, namely Nicklas Bendtner.

They will have a hard time keeping goals from landing in the net, but could give Cameroon and run for their money when it comes to position No. 2.

Japan is the underdog in this group, but they open the tournament against Cameroon and have won five out of their last six games against African nations. There won’t be many stand out players and that may be Japan’s problem.

The Netherlands, being ranked fourth in the world, are favorites not only to win Group E, but to advance as far as the finals. They will score easily in the first round. Their midfield is stacked with Robben, who may be the best player in the world right now, and Sneijder. Their defense and goalkeeping could account for at least one first round clean sheet.


Group F

The number one slot here is not as set in stone as one might think, even though the Italians are the defending champions. Fantasy brackets should consider Paraguay here, as well.

Italy will be looking for its fifth World Cup title. Their backline is one of the strongest and it wouldn’t be a surprise is they made it through the first round clean.

Gianluigi Buffon hasn’t lost much stamina or talent since 2006 when he took home the top goalkeeper award at the World Cup for allowing only two goals the whole tournament. Their midfield won’t score goals, but their strikers will.

Paraguay has a strong defense, but also a tenacious offense which will help them take the second spot. Look for Santa Cruz and da Silva to make an impact on both lines.

World rankings don’t always have meaning behind them during the World Cup , but New Zealand’s ranking of 78 is actually conducive to their amount of talent. There aren’t many standouts and their qualifying region was Oceania, which is very weak.

It will be Slovakia’s first time to the World Cup as an independent nation. They definitely have the chance to knock off Paraguay for the second spot in Group F.

Martin Skrtel will head up their defense and could possibly score some goals as well. Stanislav Sestak led the team with six goals in qualifying.