Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WORLD CUP ......... FIRST THOUGHTS ........

This is going to be a world championship unlike any other we have seen before, with teams switching venues, some on a match by match basis and playing in very different conditions, this is information we can really make use of.

I will start with some basic info and then discuss how this is likely to benefit or put at a disadvantage, individual teams.

All teams have to annouce their 23 man squadS on June 1st , although injured players can be replaced up to 24 hours before that team's opening match.

The Venues :

Durban .... sea level, although much of the metro area is hilly, with some parts as high as 850m, but for our purposes... sea level.

Cape Town .... sea level, but it can get very windy and wet here, remember this is South Africa's winter.

Port Elizabeth ..... sea level.

Nelspruit ..... altitude 700m

Pretoria ...... altitude 1350m

Bloemfontein ..... altitude 1395m

Polokwane ..... altitude 1300m but proably the "short straw", venue is isolated on the Mozambique border, with coldest seasonal tempuratures, tiny size wise with a population of just 140,000 and facilities to match, some countries are set to play both here and Cape Town, which is some 18 hours by road (they will fly of course) away.

Rustenburg ...... altitude 1500m.

Johannesburg ...... 1750m +

Lets put these altitudes in context, highest capital city in europe is Madrid at 646m, five of these are double that, with parts of Joburg three times higher. It will be an advantage for any teams that have played at altitude coming down to sea level and tough for those moving up, to acclimatize in the few days available between games.

I will of course be looking further into the games, but have to point out one or two things for you to keep an eye on.

Firstly teams that played in the Confederations Cup last year, will have got invaluable experience of the conditions, with all those matches played at high altitude venues. Brazil and the ultra fit USA side flourished in the conditions, Spain less so, although they were coming off almost 18 months with little break, however, I do have my doubts about their ability to handle the conditions (certainly in relation to their very short odds) and see a potential banana skin in their second game, when after starting at sea level, they face underdogs Honduras in Joburg. Their opponents will also be making the move up, but at least from Nelspruit and will be more used to playing at altitude. I would not be rushing to take the talented european champions at the circa 1.16 currently offered for that game !

Germany start with two matches at sea level and will be ultra keen to get maximum points from those starts, before finishing in Joburg against a talented Ghana side, who will have two games at altitude under their belt, we all know how well prepared the Germans are and they will to looking to have progression assured ahead of this tough looking encounter.

Argentina will already have a match at Joburg under their belts before they face South Korea on the 17th, Seoul is at sea level and SK open in Port Elizabeth, so this will be really tough for the Koreans.

Brazil already have a couple of games at Joburg in the bag from last year and after opening with another two, will be full of running moving down to sea level for their final group game to meet Portugal.

1400-2200 m is the optimal height for high altitude training, too much above that and your desire to work is diminished. Therefore, this is an absolutely perfect start for Brazil IMO.

Finally for now, France have it very tough in their second game, when, after opening in Cape Town at sea level, they make the ultra long journey to Polokwane, which is like another world, there they will meet Mexico, who will not only be stepping down from JoBurg, but most of the squad will have grown up at altitude with Guadalajara at 1600m and Mexico City 2200m. The 3-1 about the Mexicans in places looks very tempting at this early stage .

This is a World Cup where wind, rain and thin air will all play a big part and I suggest you do plenty of homework before parting with your hard earned cash

Good Luck............ this was written 21/5 btw


doelyn said...

Nice preview to kick start 2010 world cup... Thanks...

doelyn said...

Nice preview to kick start 2010 World Cup... Two thumbs up advice... Thanks...