Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Sat 10 June 2006

Your Guide to... Group B and Group C (Part I)

Today's games feature all four teams in Group B and two from Group C, so here's what to expect from them...

Group A

England
With their first-choice XI on the field, England have strength in depth in all areasTerry and Ferdinand make an experienced central defensive partnershipGerrard and Lampard are star players in midfield, although there's some doubt about how to play both in the same team to maximum effectGerrard's likely to be tired having played 60+ matches this season, but others will have benefited from early exits from European competition and other recent rest periodsIn attack, Owen and Crouch have started to click, although fans won't be fully confident until a recovering Rooney returnsParaguay
Their defence and goalkeeper lack some height, and this could be exploited by the other teams in the groupParaguay now boast a blend of veterans who have played in many recent major competitions along with a few new rising stars
Paraguay are a resilient team who can't be written off until the final whistleThey are a threat from set-pieces, with striker Santa Cruz of Bayern Munich being their most dangerous star playerSweden
As ever, their defence is the strongest part of the team, although they've struggled to find consistency with their choice of back fourSweden are excellent at suffocating an opposing team's attack, conceding only 11 goals in their last 36 qualifying gamesIn attack, they boast Ibrahimovic of Juventus and an ageing Henrik Larsson, fed by the wing play of Freddie LjungbergTrinidad & Tobago
The Caribbean islanders tend to suffer from bouts of poor concentration, slowness in transforming defence into attack and losing their shape under pressureTrinidad's few well-known players are of a generally high standard, e.g. Dwight Yorke and Coventry's Stern JohnA number of players have been tried out on the left wing, although Dundee United's Colin Samuel may play as a natural left-footerMany of T&T's players can be found playing their club football in Scotland, Wales and the lower leagues of England, including Jason Scotland of St. Johnstone, strangely...Group B

Argentina
Suffered a first round exit in 2002, so the expectations are lower this time around, but that could work in their favour as the pressure will be off...Argentina have suffered from a number of injuries to well-known players including Ayala, Heinze, Aimar and the returning star striker Lionel MessiArgentina have reverted to their old style of play where the ball is allowed to run more and possession is the key to building attacksKeeper Abbondanzieri is good at facing penalties and setting up counter-attacks but can lack confidence at set-piecesTheir defence isn't much more inspiring, largely due to the number of injuries they've had to deal with of lateLook out for their two star players - midfield engine Riquelme and the aforementioned Messi of Barcelona.Ivory Coast
They find themselves in the 'Group of Death' which isn't a good start for an African nation making it's debut at the World Cup...Ivory Coast will be heavily relying on the attacking skills of Chelsea's Didier Drogba around whom the team is basedElsewhere, they can boast Arsenal's Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue in defence and a midfield made up of several players from France and HollandCoach Henri Michel hasn't yet cracked a way to make his side play sparkling football, so in the meantime they've resorted to lumping the ball directly to the forwards as quickly as they canThough the Ivory Coast's defensive record is good, their goalkeeper Jean-Jacques Tizie often has his nervous moments.Part II of Group B, along with a look at Group C, comes tomorrow...

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