Group A: Viva la … and ole

Group A

South Africa

Mexico

Uruguay

France

The best part about the French squad just might be its past (remember Zidane?) or in the names, whichever you like best. Come on, does it really get any better when you hear them say Tierry Henry or Franck Ribery or even the coach Raymond Domenech with a pronounced French accent?

But there no doubt is talent aplenty. Remember there were more French players in the quarterfinals of the Champions League than any other nationality.

Alas, the French gained acceptance to the tournament by virtue of a rather obvious handball by Henry vs. Ireland. After the game, some 300,000 Irish fans joined a Facebook page demanding a replay and one group even wanted to chop off Henry’s hand with a guillotine.

Settle down, guys, it’s only a game…

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Mexico is actually in its fifth straight World Cup. The last four have been pretty consistent: they advanced to the second round and then went home. Might just happen that way again.

But first they have to get past host South Africa on Friday. Something has to give there. No host nation has ever failed to get beyond the group stage, so either it’s gonna happen this time or Mexico’s goin’ home early.

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And let’s not forget Team No. 4 in this group – Uruguay. It’s been, oh, 6 decades since it happened, but in 1950 this squad won the Cup by beating Brazil. And the guy who scored the winner in that game, Alcides Ghiggia, is still alive.

They aren’t in a Group of Death so don’t be surprised if they surprise and Mr. Ghiggia basks in the glory that is Uruguay.

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Predict: France wins; Mexico advances…