We're through the first two games in each of the groups, with the final matches in each group due to happen over the next four days--meaning hurrah, no more 4:15 wake-up calls! Unfortunately, it also means we're one step closer to the end of daily football, and just a few days away from sixteen of the nations packing up and heading home. In case you're wondering where each nation stands within its group, I've got your back. And so does FIFA.com, where I got the tables.
(Key: Matches Played, Wins, Draws, Losses, Goals For, Goals Against, Points)
These two are tipped to go through to the knockout round, although if France or South Africa come up with four or five goals...yeah, I could try but really, I see the Spanish-speakers heading on. These two could play for a draw, of course, and ensure that each of them make it through. But in that case, Mexico finishes second and then must most probably face Argentina, which neither of these teams wants.
La Celeste has performed beautifully, churning out a draw against France after going down a man, and then beating South Africa 3-0. Mexico, on the other hand, has shown a few areas of weakness, particularly in defense. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Uruguay finds itself finishing first in the group. Besides, Diego Forlan won't want an Argentine to win the Golden Boot over him, so he's going to be chasing a hat-trick. And possibly removing his shirt. Yellows are reset after these matches, after all.
France v South Africa (ESPN2, 10am ET, 7am PT)
France has found itself reduced to a punchline over the past few days, with Nicholas Anelka being sent home after making the same rude comments at Raymond Domenech that the entire nation wanted to utter, and then the rest of the squad refusing to train on principle. Les Bleus made it to the final in 2006 but seem almost certain to follow Anelka home after tomorrow's match. If they pull out a win and Mexico loses, France will still have to score four goals in the match. How many want to put their hard-earned money on that?
South Africa needs even more of a miracle, as they would have to score five goals against France, and as pathetic as the French have been, Hugo Lloris is still a quality keeper. As is a requirement to mention in all pieces involving South Africa, when they are officially eliminated, they will be the first host nation to ever go out in the group stages. But their country still gave us the vuvuzela. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Find Group B after the jump.
Greece v Argentina (ESPN, 2:30pm ET, 11:30am PT)
Another group in which the nation atop the table hasn't officially made it through to the knockout round, but it seems unlikely that La Albiceleste will falter. Perhaps the heavens are smiling upon teams nicknaming themselves after the sky? If Greece scores four against Argentina, and Korea scores three against Nigeria, Maradona heads home in shame. Yeah, again, don't bet the farm on that one. Messi-ah will continue to be the greatest scorer not yet on the sheet, with 15 shots total and involvement in what seems like every play Argentina makes. Gonzalo Hinguain, in addition to having an awesome first name, has had 11 shots on goal, resulting in three goals, the most of the tournament so far.
Nigeria v South Korea (ESPN 2, 2:30pm ET, 11:30am PT)
Confession--I really don't plan to watch this one. Nigeria could pull a rabbit out of a hat with a 4-0 win, but South Korea's clinical, aggressive play suggests there's no way they're leaving this tournament without, at minimum, one more goal. Nigeria's Sani Kaita was sent off against Greece in what was probably the most deserved card amidst all the yellows and reds flying around South Africa--but the Nigerians completely floundered, losing their lead and allowing Greece the win. It is unlikely that they'll find their footing. Even a draw sees South Korea almost certainly going through, with Greece likely falling at the feet of Argentina.
1st Place: Uruguay
1st Place: Argentina
2nd Place: South Korea
*disclaimer: I am actually known to taint that which I touch and it is likely everything could go belly up based solely upon the fact that I decided to declare my preferences. Watch Forlan break his foot as well.