Previewing the World Cup Pots – Pot 2

With the draw just three short days away, we will continue looking at who our possible opponents will be. Today, pot 2, which includes the five African teams, the two unseeded South American teams, and one European team (more on that later). Included is a brief rundown of all eight teams, the last time South Korea played them, that result, and the ranking (amongst all 32 teams) given to that nation by the three writers here at the Tavern (higher number means worse team).

Pot 2 – CAF, unseeded CONMEBOL, one UEFA team

Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador, ?

Korea can face any team from Pot 2. The UEFA team will be randomly drawn (as opposed to the lowest ranked team) prior to the main draw. Also, the seeded South American teams will be put in a special ‘Pot X’ to be drawn against the Pot 2 UEFA team. After this is done the other South American teams will return to Pot 1 to be drawn normally.

Ghana is a team that scares me a bit. African teams have long been seen as physical and athletic teams, but Ghana, over the past several years, have added a decent level of technique to their game, making them very difficult opponents. US fans have been aware of Ghana’s increasing abilities, having been eliminated by them in the past two World Cups. Ghana was dreadfully unlucky not to make the semifinals in South Africa, losing on penalties in that infamous match thanks to Luis Suarez’s handball incident. Ghana boasts an impressive amount of attacking and midfield talent, but are a little thinner at the back. Not likely to push for a group win, but would be tough to face for the second spot.

Last Meeting: International Friendly (2011)
Result: South Korea 2 Ghana 1
Writer Ranking: Jae (15) Jinseok (22) Roy (16)

Nigeria is another slightly scary prospect. The ‘Super Eagles’ are probably one of Africa’s better known sides due to solid showings at USA ’94 and France ’98. More recent World Cup showings have been a bit more disappointing. Nigeria’s current crop doesn’t feature too many names, but there are some good players like Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel and Liverpool’s Victor Moses.

Last Meeting: International Friendly (2010)
Result: South Korea 2 Nigeria 1
Writer Ranking: Jae (23) Jinseok (20) Roy (20)

The Ivory Coast, lately seen as Africa’s best team largely due to some of the names on the team sheet. Namely Didier Drogba and the Toure brothers. They’re still there, but have considerably more mileage in their legs. And a look at ‘The Elephants’ last call ups suggests that they will still be relying on that generation to get them results in Brazil. Drogba can still be a handful for defenders, and Yaya Toure is an absolute beast for Man City, but there isn’t too much around them.

Last Meeting: None
Result: N/A
Writer Ranking: Jae (25) Jinseok (23) Roy (21)

Cameroon is another team that is fairly well known, but probably not as good as some people remember. A bit too reliant one would think on an aging Samuel Eto’o to really make a run at this World Cup. But who knows? Perhaps now back under the teachings of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Eto’o will spark back into life. Probably not, but one never knows. Cameroon has a couple other solid players, Stephane Mbia (Sevilla) is an occasionally good midfielder, as are Jean Makoun and Alex Song. Park Joo-Ho’s Mainz teammate, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting would seem to have some promise for the future.

Last Meeting: None
Result: N/A
Writer Ranking: Jae (27) Jinseok (31) Roy (26)

Algeria barely made the tournament, eeking out Burkina Faso in the playoffs 3-3 on away goals (2-1). Honestly, I know little about Algeria and only recognize a couple players in their squad. They wouldn’t seem to have much of a shot.

Last Meeting: None
Result: N/A
Writer Ranking: Jae (32) Jinseok (32) Roy (32)

Chile is a fun team, and one that has improved greatly over the last few years. Chile was a bit of the world’s darling team at South Africa due to the attacking, expansive football they played under Marcelo Bielsa. They have continued to play that way even though Bielsa has left, and now Chile boosts some high quality players to boot. and are certainly capable of putting a scare into even the top teams. Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez is having a good season, and Juventus’ Arturo Vidal has emerged as one of the best central midfielders in the world. Depending on which UEFA team comes into this group, Chile may be the one to avoid the most.

Last Meeting: International Friendly (2008)
Result: South Korea 0 Chile 1
Writer Ranking: Jae (10) Jinseok (13) Roy (8)

Ecuador won’t jump out at anyone. The only player of mention is really Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia. Most of the rest ply their trade in the domestic league. The country was rocked when star forward Christian Benitez died suddenly after making his debut in the Qatari league with El Jaish due to cardiac arrest. But the team kept going and managed to auto qualify (Benitez died in the summer). Playing in South America will help them (I think), but they will be reliant more on keeping the score down and some luck.

Last Meeting: International Friendly (2010)
Result: South Korea 2 Ecuador 0
Writer Ranking: Jae (20) Jinseok (27) Roy (25)

Tomorrow, part 3, and we will look at pot 3 (which is Korea’s pot). Can’t meet them in the group stage, but possibly later should Korea advance.

About Jae Chee 339 Articles
A football fan who got bit by the writing bug.

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