World Cup: SBI's Group B Preview

World Cup: SBI's Group B Preview

International Soccer

World Cup: SBI's Group B Preview

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Javier Mascherano 1 (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Despite its struggles in qualifying, Argentina enters Group B as the favorite, with a plethora of attacking options, including Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain and FIFA Player of the Year Lionel Messi. If any team is going to outdo Argentina in the group, however, it will likely be Nigeria.

Nigeria has one of the more talented African sides at the World Cup, while also having somewhat of a home-field advantage. The Nigerians also enter the tournament with experienced Swedish head coach Lars Lagerback, who helped Sweden to a surprising 1-1 draw that knocked Argentina out of group play in 2002.

Greece isn't the most aesthetically pleasing team to watch, but its hard-nosed defensive style has been able to produce results. Just look at Euro 2004.

South Korea also lacks the individual star power that Argentina and Nigeria possess, but it does boast its share of attacking flair with Bolton Wanderers' Lee Chung-Yong and Park Ji-Sung of Manchester United.

Here is SBI's take on Group B:

WORLD CUP GROUP B

Top Players to Watch

Lionel Messi, Argentina

Javier Mascherano, Argentina

Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Greece

Obafemi Martins, Nigeria

Danny Shittu, Nigeria

Park Ji-Sung, South Korea

Young Players to Watch

Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina

Angel Di Maria, Argentina

Sotiris Ninis, Greece

Victor Obinna, Nigeria

Lee Chung-Yong, South Korea

SBI's Predicted Order of Finish

1. Argentina

2. Nigeria

3. South Korea 

4. Greece

Argentina should win the group with all its quality options in attack, although Nigeria might be able to stun Diego Maradona's troubled side and finish first. South Korea and Greece won't be easy opponents, but they are both destined for early exits.

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How do you see Group B panning out? Share your thoughts below.

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