World Cup Round Table
SBS are providing extensive coverage of the FIFA World Cup, here the SBS Team mull over each grouping.
The passion for football runs deep in the studios of SBS in Sydney. While the team spend countless hours on-camera discussing the merits and tactics of football teams around the world and tackle the greatest issues facing the game, it's a pastime that continues when the cameras switch off.
Here, the SBS team reporting from South Africa, Craig Foster, Mariana Rudan, Les Murray and David Basheer, discuss the upcoming action.
So guys, who would you like to see in the final?
Spain versus England. They've been in such sensational form and are two world-class sides. I'd like to see Australia in the final obviously but that might be hoping for too much... I agree, I'd like to see Australia in the final against Spain.
That'd be fantastic. But I'm not expecting it. My dream final would be Brazil against Spain. The world's greatest-ever World Cup nation against the finest football playing nation right now. I'm with Craig, Australia in the final. It'll happen one day, maybe in my lifetime. But a Brazil versus Spain final is destined to be the showpiece.
They're the two best footballing countries in the world today. But if I had another choice I'd love to see an African nation in the final. I'd like to see a Spain versus Argentina final only because of the unpredictability that's gone on with Diego Maradona.
Over the qualifiers they've used over 100 players. I'd love to see an African nation do well. You mention Argentina, what's your view of Maradona as an international coach? He's not a coach in the true sense of the word; he's a manager of Argentina - and a chaotic one. All he really does is select the players and formation.
[Carlos] Bilardo was supposed to do the tactical side but Maradona has not been able to relinquish the main role. So in a tactical sense they're a complete opposite to a European team which is usually highly-organised.
But the personnel are still exceptional. So if you have the right mix of players playing collectively, all you need to do is manage the group.
Anything can happen but it's likely their disorganisation is going to cost them - particularly in the latter stages of the tournament.
Wouldn't you say one of the disadvantages of Maradona is that the players are so in awe of him that when he makes decisions, players tend to go with what he says? And that can work to their detriment? But he's got to harness it properly.
If Argentina happens to do well it'll be in spite of Diego Maradona. He's a God. So it's a whole different dynamic. I agree it could be an issue. I mean, it's pretty difficult to criticise or speak up to a guy who's a God. [Juan Roman] Riquelme did and that's cost him his international career.
Winning a World Cup takes talent and supreme organisation and limited weaknesses.
For Argentina, the weaknesses which can be exposed are the tactical ones where he's not solving the problems.
But the thing with Argentina is if they start to play well and they get on a bit of a roll, then all of sudden Argentina will believe in this cult of Maradona. He rides on emotion, he uses it. As a player he was extremely smart at dominating tournaments and manipulating them.
Even in 1990 he was a spent force but was the most dominating persona of that World Cup tournament.
Remember how most of the south barracked for Argentina rather than Italy? And he will make those ploys in this World Cup. But he seriously needs an assistant who knows a little bit about tactics.
And to allow that person to have an influence. But he's also a God in Africa so he'll be playing to the Africans to get them onside in the way no other coach can.
Can the Socceroos repeat their feats of 2006 and emerge from group D?
My heart says Australia goes through but my head says it'll be a toss of the coin. I think Germany will top the group, but just. Then it's a roll of the dice.
I think Serbia has had the best form of any other teams in that group and in Radomir Antic, they have a fantastic coach. Serbia could top the group... People talk about our first game but we've got a pretty bad draw as it's the first and last - against Germany and Serbia - that are going to be the hardest.
So can Australia get through?
It's possible. In second... I have every confidence that Australia can lift their game at the World Cup, in what is a difficult group. Serbia in the last game is going to be so difficult, though. I think we could sneak it but it'd be a toss of the coin.
It depends on the first match against Germany. If we can get something out of that it would set us up for Ghana and from there, let's just see how it pans out.
Let's have a quick look at some other groups. Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay and France?
France has an ideal group. I think they'll go through but it will be interesting for the second place.
I don't think South Africa is a chance to go through despite being hosts. Javier Aguirre has done pretty well with Mexico since taking over and Uruguay is hot and cold. So it'll be between those two for the second spot.
I predict South Africa will go through and they'll be buoyed by the home support. I'd love to see that. Carlos Alberto Parreira's back, he's much better than that [Joel] Santana guy they had. The French will get lucky.
I've got them tracked to the semi-finals. But without Zidane and with this coach, they're just not the same team. You need strong personalities to deal with that expectation, and I'm not sure South Africa has that.
But I do believe the African teams in general will over-achieve. It's extraordinary what home support will do.
Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea and Greece.
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