Finally, after four years of anticipation and waiting, the World Cup is upon us again so here’s the big games to stay tuned for this week.
The World Cup hosts kick-off the tournament against Mexico in Johannesburg with local expectations high. A bright start for the hosts would give them the foundations for progression beyond the group stage. No host nation has ever failed to progress beyond the group stage at a World Cup too.
Mexico, who were knocked out in the Round of 16 in Germany four years ago, will be hoping to get their 2010 campaign off to a bright start, following on from their impressive friendly win over Italy last week. In-form Javier Hernandez could play a major role.
Fabio Capello’s highly fancied England begin their 2010 World Cup campaign against arguably the second strongest side in Group C, the United States. This game should dictate where this group heads.
Wayne Rooney is fresh and firing for the English, but his temper may be tested by the US. Edson Buddle grabbed a double for the Americans in their win last weekend over Australia.
Both nations have their injury worries ahead of this crucial Group G match. Brazil are the hot favourites to top this group, arguably the World Cup’s toughest, while Korea DPR are expected to struggle, so this encounter takes on added importance early on.
Ivory Coast frontman Didier Drogba could make a remarkable return after fracturing his arm, while the Portuguese have lost Nani to injury.
World Cup favourites and 2008 European champions Spain begin their bid to be crowned world champions on Wednesday against the Swiss. Spain’s form in warm-up matches has been sharp, finished off with an emphatic 6-0 triumph over Poland earlier this week.
Andres Iniesta has an injury worry for the Spanish, but with Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas back to fitness, they’ve got a wealth of quality.
Group D is another of 2010’s difficult groups, with Germany and Serbia lining up alongside Ghana and Australia. Three of these four nations made the Round of 16 last time out, while Serbia (the one who missed out) look much more improved than in 2006.
Serbia’s pre-World Cup form won’t have encouraged many of their fans, but with Nemanja Vidic begging for patience there’s always hope. Germany are always strong in tournaments and may be eyeing off a victory here to secure top spot in this group and a smooth passage into the semis.