With the World Cup just around the corner, we’ll be taking some time every Friday to investigate the best ball-kickers (it’s a technical term, don’t worry about it) of each World Cup group. Today, the inequality is strong with Group H.
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Belgium has been picked as the “dark horse” in this tournament so often, you can pretty safely say that at this point they’re essentially just in “favorite” territory. Their chances took a big blow with the loss of Christian Benteke, but their squad is immensely talented and goal-machine Romelu Lukaku may be able to pick up some of the striker slack. They should be able to breeze through this group, but 2018 might be a better shot for them to go deep in the tournament, as they are also a fairly young team.
When you have a country of 146 million people, you’re bound to field some sort of a team. Add to that one of Italy’s most successful managers, Fabio Capello, and Russia has pushed up to 18th in the world. Belgium is the only team that could give them any headaches in this group, but you have to wonder if starting out in such a soft group is going to hurt them when they fall into the group stages against some real competition. Especially with a squad comprised almost entirely of domestic players. (What did you expect? Russians love when things are super Russian.)
Neither of the bottom teams stand much of a chance, but South Korea’s might be slightly better. They are a meticulously organized, albeit young, squad. They didn’t face much of a challenge in qualifying, so taking on Russia and Belgium will be a bit of a challenge. The United States had a look at the Koreans when they beat them 2-0 in February, although it was closer than it sounds (that said, with the monster of a group the U.S. drew, they’re probably wishing they could see South Korea again).
With a team made up mostly of dual French nationals who have no hope of ever playing for their national team, the Algerians have never made it out of the group stage (American fans will remember one loss in particular). Unfortunately for them, that streak will likely continue.
More Sports on Maxim.com:
Get To Know World Cup Group A
Get To Know World Cup Group B
Get To Know World Cup Group C
Get To Know World Cup Group D
Get To Know World Cup Group E
Get To Know World Cup Group F
Get to Know World Cup Group G