2010 World Cup Preview: Real Spectacle To Start as England and Argentina Play

Jamrock Rover@@JamrockRoverSenior Analyst IJune 12, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14:  Nicklas Bendtner of Arsenal is challenged by Ledley King of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on April 14, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The World Cup kicked off yesterday at last and on the first day we got to see quite a few Arsenal players in action. Vela started for Mexico and despite having a goal disallowed, he didn't really do very much at all in their come-from-behind 1-1 draw with hosts South Africa. He was substituted after 69 minutes when Blanco came on for him.

I heard a pundit on the radio last night say that Blanco looked like Quentin Tarantino in "From Dusk Til Dawn" after he had changed into a vampire, and it was a very good comparison.

In the evening game, three Arsenal players started for France in a 0-0 draw with Uruguay as Sagna, Gallas, and Diaby were all chosen, but Clichy will do well to play with Evra ahead of him for the left back slot.

Domenech showed his expertise as a manager by leaving out the player who probably could have made a difference for France as Malouda was only used as a late sub. It wasn't a great game, but it leaves the group very evenly balanced after the first round of games.

For me, no team stands out in this group and any team that can win a game will probably go through.

Today, we start off with South Korea against Greece in group B at 12:30 pm Irish time and that is followed by Argentina against Nigeria at 3 pm.

I don't know how the first game will go but I think if Argentina are as good as some people think they will need to show it against Nigeria. A win for them in that game would almost ensure qualification from the group and take some pressure off the players and their "laid back" manager.

The big game of the day in my opinion, though, is England against the USA and it kicks off at 7:30 pm Irish time.

It's an awkward time for me tonight as I have to go to a pub a few miles away for a big night that includes a draw for €60,000 worth of prizes that I have a €100 ticket in. My father-in-law is on the club committee so I have no choice but I think I will try to drive there at half time and collect the car tomorrow. I can't see past an England victory tonight but I shouldn't write off the Americans.

The Arsenal news is thin on the ground as you would expect with the World Cup underway, but Phil Jagielka's name is linked with us yet again.

He's a player who could possibly do very well at Arsenal, and from what I saw when he was an emergency goalkeeper against us or Sheffield United a few years ago, he's probably a better keeper than Almunia. I can't see Everton wanting to sell him, though, and not without their say, so there will be no deal.

The boss spoke about always wanting to win silverware and not working to finish second or third, and I'm sure he does, but he also has to know that we need to strengthen certain areas of the team or all of his work with the players will be in vain. As I've said before, we cannot win the league with Almunia in goal or with Silvestre as a backup to our centre backs.

Before I go, congratulations to Bradley08 , who got both of his predictions right in the first two games of the World Cup and heads my predictor league. There are still 62 games left, though, and I won't be writing myself off just yet.

In the fantasy World Cup game I would imagine that not too many teams have actually had players playing yet and teams will only start to pick up points today with Argentina and England playing. That's the lot just in time for today's games to start.

Here's a look at how Bendtner's season went for Arsenal.


See you tomorrow.