Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Group H Preview

Finally we get to Group H, home of the European Champions and World Cup favourites Spain, along with Chile, Switzerland, and Montreal's favourite team, Honduras. Each team in the group has had injuries: Chile and Honduras have lost star players in Humberto Suazo & Wilson Palacios. Switzerland have had unlucky striker Frei injured again; Frei also missed Euro 2008 through injury. Spain have a number of slightly injured players: Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, and Torres.

Here is how the teams' travel, elevation and preparations look:

Spain get going in Durban at sea level, next they travel 569km north to Jo'burg and gain 1753m, and lastly they have the short 62km trip to Pretoria and drop 539m. By way of preparation, Spain played Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Poland. They played Saudi Arabia and South Korea in Austria, winning 3-2 & 1-0 respectively. They wrapped up their preparations with an easy 6-0 win over Poland in Spain.

Chile start in Nelspruit at 660m, followed by a 1410km move to Port Elizabeth and drop to sea level, and finally they head north to Pretoria and gain 1214m along the 1123km journey. Chile had five warm up matches, beating Trinidad & Tobago, Zambia, Northern Ireland, and Israel all in Chile. They also travelled up to Mexico and suffered a 1-0 loss.

Switzerland kick off at sea level in Durban, stay at sea level as they move to Port Elizabeth 950km away, and then they go 664km north to Bloemfontein and gain 1400m. The Swiss played two matches both at home, losing to Costa Rica 1-0 and drawing with Italy 1-1.

Honduras start at 660m in Nelspruit, travel to Jo'burg 345km away and 1093m higher, and wrap up in Bloemfontein 353m lower and 397km east. Honduras have had a disastrous build up, drawing Belarus and Azerbaijan, plus losing to Romania 3-0.

Here is how I think the matches will go:

Honduras - Chile
Chile are too strong for Honduras and get off to a good start with all 3 points.

Spain - Switzerland
Spain don't have many problems breaking down the Swiss and win comfortably.

Chile - Switzerland
Draw. Both teams are going to fight hard but they will split the spoils in this one.

Spain - Honduras
Spain enjoy another easy win and eliminate the Hondurans.

Chile - Spain
Chile reap the rewards of Spain giving their A team a rest and manage a draw against the European Champions.

Switzerland - Honduras
The Swiss complete the sweep of the Hondurans with a 1-0 victory.

Here is how the table will look:

Spain 7 points
Chile 5 points
Switzerland 4 points
Honduras 0 points

23 comments:

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