World Cup 2010: Group A Analysis - South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay & France

South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France...
The World Cup 2010 draw has concluded, with all eight groups having been decided.

Here we see Group A:

South Africa

Group Strength

A tricky section, no doubt, and one which will have the hosts crying into their vuvuzelas. By no means a dream draw for Bafana Bafana with some prized talent set to line up against them at every turn. France, facing South Africa as they did in 1998 and Uruguay as they did in 2002, could have done a lot worse though and with some menacing firepower will be expecting to reel off some hefty tallies, should they function as a unit. Mexico could only trail USA in the CONCACAF hexagon but boast pedigree at this level. El Tri have moved on from their last five consecutive World Cup group stages. The Uruguayan side showed a dramatic fluctuation in form throughout the South American qualifiers but on their day, possess a starting XI to rival some of the very best.

Group Favourites

After edging their way to the finals by the skin of their... hands, Raymond Domenech's side had the temerity to complain about being handed a non-seed berth. How reticent might Les Bleus be now that they've avoided some of the major guns. Alongside this opposition, the French will justifiably been seen as top dogs in the section but will have to shake off their underperforming status to record the maximum points haul. Anything less than a win against Uruguay could have French nerves jangling ahead of the Mexico clash.

Battle for Second

Wide open. A host nation effectively play with a 12th man and the Mexicans will be faced with some hefty vuvuzelaing on matchday one in Soccer City. Should three points go the way of Bafana Bafana then they remain in with a modicum of a shout ahead of the Uruguayan showdown on matchday two. That said, Mexico, more often than not, find a way out of their pool and will be aiming as much for the top spot as for the runners-up berth. Oscar Tabarez's Uruguay were the last team to qualify but in Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan and the precocious Nicolas Lodeiro, la Celeste have the weaponry to score in abundance. Mexico versus Uruguay on June 22 has the potential to be explosive. El Tri coach, Javier Aguirre, will be hoping his former Atletico Madrid charge, Forlan, has one of his Manchester United performances.

The Outsiders

I'll whisper it for fear of 1,000 parties being cancelled, but South Africa are likely to finish up with the wooden spoon. Joel Santana failed to turn his eye-pleasing unit into a scoring unit during the past year and has been jettisoned in favour of his predecessor, Carlos Alberto Parreira. Scoring remains the one true problem for Bafana Bafana; the likes of McCarthy, Erasmus and Parker are not garnering enough game time at club level to be considered golden-boot winners in waiting. To go through, goals will be needed and that is one key element lacking in the hosts.

The Long Road Forward

Should Argentina finish top of Group B then the runners-up of this section would meet Maradona's rag-tag bunch in the round of 16. Uruguay would no doubt relish vengeance after being downed in Montevideo with an automatic berth up for grabs. France may go on to meet Nigeria, who defeated Les Bleus in a friendly last summer. Nonetheless, Group B looks like a potential Group of Death, with any one of the Super Eagles South Korea and Greece potentially making the second stage, and Argentina are by no means a shoo-in, given the tactical ineptitude of el Diego.

What The Numbers Say
Powered by Castrol Predictior - crunching the numbers to find the strength of each team and the path they take to the final

Team Qualify for Second Round Qualify for Quarter Final Qualify For Semi Final Qualify for Final Win
Uruguay 61.5% 32.9% 16.2% 6.5% 2.7%
France 59.0% 31.2% 15.3% 6.4% 2.6%
Mexico 49.5% 23.6% 10.2% 3.7% 1.3%
South Africa 30.0% 11.4% 4.0% 1.2% 0.3%

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