International Friendlies Summary: K-P

6th June 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

 

Korea DPR

Pre-World Friendly Form: D

Greece 2-2 North Korea
Nigeria – North Korea

North Korea are the rank outsiders for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and are ranked 105 in the world according to the FIFA Rankings meaning they arrive in South Africa as the lowest ranked team. So, it won’t have been music to the ears of the North Koreans desperate to see some knock-out football when they were drawn in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast. However, if there gutsy display against Greece in their first warm up game was anything to go by, Korea DPR may just be more than a handful than many anticipate. Despite trailing early on, Korea DPR took the lead through two fabulous goals from a player the natives refer to as ‘The People’s Rooney’ in Jong Tae-Se. We were fortunate enough to watch this game and can honestly say North Korea were outstanding, with Jong Tae-Se in particular very impressive for the Koreans. Tae-Se was a constant threat to the Greece defenders, with his adventurous and fearless forward runs confusing an experienced Greek defence, while it finishing was sublime. That was a big result for North Korea and one which, had you watched or seen glimpses of, may change your opinion of Korea DPR from a football perspective.

 

Korea Republic

Pre-World Friendly Form:  LLWW

Korea Republic 2-0 Ecuador
Japan 0-2 Korea Republic
Korea Republic 0-1 Belarus
Spain 1-0 South Korea

The South Koreans haven’t faired too bad in their pre-World Cup friendlies, with their only jilt coming against Belarus. That defeat to Belarus did come as a shock although Belarus aren’t the worst European nation around and did earn a draw against Honduras a few days before. Before that though, Korea, who made the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup on home soil, etched two impressive victories over a dangerous Ecuador from South America and Asian rivals Japan, in Japan as well, beating the ‘Samurai Blue’ 2-0. Out of all the Asian contingents, South Korea are shaping up as one of the likelier nations to make the knock-out stage.

South Korea were expected to be put through their paces against the competition favourites Spain in Austria, but instead it was the Koreans making all the headlines but holding their own against the European champions. For over 80 minutes South Korea held their own against the Spanish and remained on terms, even creating a few openings themselves, decent ones at that which perhaps should have found the back of net. However, a sublime curling effort from Seville winger Jese Navas ensured South Korea’s industrious efforts were in vein, at least from a scoreline point of view, although their display on the whole was very pleasing and certainly provided coach Jung-Moo with some positive aspects to build upon ahead of their clash with Greece on June 12th.

 

Mexico

Pre-World Friendly Form: WWLLWW

Mexico 1-0 Senegal
Mexico 1-0 Angola
Mexico 1-0 Chile
England 3-1 Mexico
Holland 2-1 Mexico
Mexico 5-1 Gambia
Mexico 2-1 Italy

What with so many friendlies under their belts, Mexico will surely have the edge over all of their Group A opponents in South Africa in regards to overall fitness and match sharpness. Coach Javier Aguirre must of felt his players weren’t sharp enough as some returned from their European domestic seasons, and he may have been right. Despite winning three on the spin at one stage, beating Senegal, Angola and Chile all by a 1-0 scoreline in succession, Mexico came unstuck against the type of nations they will have to beat if they want to end their spooky voodoo of exiting the last four World Cup’s at the last-sixteen stage.

Against England, Mexico shown glimpse of genuine quality, with their crisp passing, slick interchanging and the pace at which they break promising. They weren’t the most organied of defences though, as was the same against Holland where they conceded two sloppy first half goals before Javier Hernandez, one of their promising youngsters for the future, scored in the second period to ensure Mexico got on the score sheet for the fifth game in a row. Mexico later made it six games in a row without failing to score when smashing Gambia 5-1, Javier Hernandez grabbing two in the rout.

On the whole pleasing, but there remains areas of the pitch, desfence in particular, where Aguirre needs to tweak before Mexico can really begin hyping up their chances of progressing from Group A. They do have goals in them and they will be one of the more entertaining teams to watch in South Africa.

Mexico’s seventh and final warm up game was against the reigning world champions Italy. If ever a coach wanted to test the mental capacity of his team as well as their potential to perform against the big teams then it was against the 2006 World Cup winners. Even so, we doubt even Javier Aguirre had envisaged a victory over the Italians, with Mexico finishing their preparations in some style with a 2-1 win over Italy. Goals from Carlos Vela and Alberto Medina were enough to see El Tri run out winners in a surprisingly high-tempered game, with no less than four Mexico players receiving a caution.

 

Netherlands

Pre-World Friendly Form:

Netherlands 2-1 Mexico
Netherlands 4-1 Ghana
Netherlands 6-1 Hungary

The Dutch have looked mightily impressive so far, despatching of Mexico and Ghana with a touch of class and comfort. Against the Mexicans, Holland stormed into a 2-0 lead and appeared to have the game wrapped up before half-time, with perhaps a big scoreline on the cards. They stepped off the gas in the second half though and had to settle for a less emphatic 2-1 win. Ghana though, well, Holland let rip against ‘The Black Stars’ of Africa, as the Dutch displayed their fabulous team-work, cohesion and all-round technical ability to blow Ghana away.

Holland have attracted plenty of support in the outright market and their recent display would indicate that punters are jumping on a team with the potential to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup and one bang in form, on top of their game.

Bert Van Marwijk’s men were in six-y mood in their final game before the finals, smashing Hungary 6-1 as Holland recorded their third win on the trot and ensured they went into South Africa on a winning run. Despite conceding early on, Holland remained composed and goals from Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Elia, Van Bommel and a brace from Arjen Robben, who who subsequently left the pitch in discomfort, was more than enough to see Holland register yet another impressive win. The Dutch are quickly shaping up as a serious player in South Africa with these dominant displays.

 

New Zealand

Pre-World Friendly Form: LWL

Australia 2-1 New Zealand
Serbia 0-1 New Zealand
Slovenia 3-1 New Zealand
New Zealand – Chile

Just one win over Serbia is all New Zealand have to show for themselves after three internationals. The Kiwi’s started pretty well actually, unfortunately losing 2-1 to neighbours Australia after conceding in the 94th minute. Their second game seen them produce on of the shock results of this warm up period, beating a potential dark horse in Serbia 1-0 via a scruffy Smeltz goal. New Zealand weren’t to make it back-to-back wins however when falling to a 3-1 defeat against Slovenia. Ricki Herbert’s players were completely outclassed if truth be told, with only a Rory Fallon strike avoiding a whitewash.

 

Nigeria

Pre-World Friendly Form: DD

Nigeria 0-0 Saudi Arabia
Nigeria 1-1 Colombia
Nigeria V North Korea

The African ‘Super Eagles’ didn’t make the most convincing of starts in their bid to get in tip-top shape ahead of a testing World Cup campaign South Africa, where they’ll face Argentina, South Korea and Greece in Group B. It began with stalemate after drawing 0-0 with Saudi Arabia in a game Nigeria failed to produce anything concrete in front of goal. Their second also ended in a share of the spoils, as Nigeria played out a 1-1 draw with non-qualifiers Colombia. Lars Lagerback’s men did at least get on the score sheet through Lukman Haruna. Nigeria will pit their wits against one of the rank outsiders, North Korea, before switching their attention towards the finals and qualifying from a competitive Group B.

 

Paraguay

Pre-World Friendly Form: WDL

Republic of Ireland 2-1 Paraguay
Paraguay 2-2 Cote d’Ivoire
Greece 0-2 Paraguay

It looked as though Paraguay, one of the more fancied outsiders for South Africa, were going to head into the finals without a victory to shout about. However, in the final game before the finals, Paraguay etched out an impressive and confidence producing win over 2004 European champions Greece, with goals from Lucas Barrios and Vera restoring some winning mentality following a draw with Ivory Coast and defeat to the Republic of Ireland. The defeat did come first against the Irish, and perhaps it is a testament to the coach and the players that they overcome their opening setback to later on record a draw and a win. Barrios was once again on the score sheet against Ireland, as well was he against the Ivory Coast, with the Borussia Dortmund forward scoring in every game for Paraguay thus far.

Although the 2-0 victory over the Greek’s was the most pleasing of results on paper, Paraguay’s comeback against Ivory Coast impressed us the most as it was a game Paraguay looked destined to lose at one stage. Roque Santa Cruz’s second half appearance was what spurred Paraguay on, while it was a stunning volley from Barrios which sparked the revival. Paraguay have shown some early ability to defy adversity, to put losses behind them and to recover from deficits in games. Two traits which can only benefit them in South Africa.

 

Portugal

Pre-World Friendly Form: WD

Portugal 0-0 Cape Verde
Portugal 3-1 Cameroon
Portugal – Mozambique

The Portuguese will arrive in South Africa as an outsider can you believe it, although they were justifying their outsider tag when only mustering a draw against minnows Cape Verde. It was another alarming display from Portugal, lacking any cutting edge of clinical play in front of goal. That wasn’t to be the case against Cameroon though, with Portugal finally exerting some forward supremacy with goals from Raul Meireles, two in fact from the midfielder, and Manchester United winger Nani. Ronaldo, though, failed to find the goal in both encounters and that’s a worrying sign considering the hopes of a nation rest upon his broad shoulders.

Portugal will complete their warm up campaign against Mozambique on June 7th before fully committing to the forthcoming finals, where they’ll clash with Brazil and Ivory Coast in the ‘Group of Death’ as well as North Korea in Group G.




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