He may have been one of the greatest and most controversial figures ever to grace the game, but Argentina coach Diego Maradona was banned from Friday's ceremony as punishment for a torrent of abuse he unleashed at journalists after his team qualified. Still, he will have had much to smile about. Argentina possesses sublimely talented players, such as Lionel Messi, who this week won the Ballon d'Or the award given to the year's best player by a record tally. But the mercurial Maradona, who constantly changes his squad, could yet prove to be the team's undoing. It looked shaky in qualifying matches, which included a 6-1 shellacking by Bolivia, despite having no obvious peer competitors in the group. South Korea was a semifinalist in 2002 with Manchester United's Park Ji-sung steering the side and will fancy its chances, while Euro 2004 champ Greece will be a dangerous floater. Nigeria's national team setup has been a shambles for years, and the inspiration of the African setting may not be enough to raise its game.
Predicted Finishing Order
1. Argentina 2. South Korea 3. Nigeria 4. Greece
Next Group C