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Entries in Jake Yadrich (6)


World Cup Preview: Group H Final Matches

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Plenty At Stake On
Final Day Of Pool Play

One Great Season

Much like most of the groups in World Cup play thus far, the decision on which two teams will advance from Group H will be determined on the final day of pool play. 

In a group where Spain seemed a lock to advance, they now need a win over an impressive Chile squad to move on, and the Swiss team continues to show that the game doesn't have to be beautiful in order to succeed.

The overpowering storyline for this group is obviously Spain. The sexy pick to win the tournament, La Furia Roja now have to take down group leader Chile with a win to guarantee at least a second-place finish. The only problem is that Chile has been pretty damn impressive in their two victories so far. 

And even though Chile needs only a draw to advance, you can bet they won't drop back since the Swiss are expected to defeat the only team in the group without a point, Honduras. Not to mention, none of the three teams eligible to advance want to play Brazil, so you better finish first.

Both Spain and Chile have showcased what most soccer fans -- even soccer haters -- want to see: A relentless push forward, pinpoint passing and peppering opposing goalkeepers with shot after shot. This game has the potential to be the most exciting match of the opening round. In fact, to anyone who's been pondering giving soccer a shot, this is the game I've been pimping.

Aside from upsetting Spain, the Swiss haven't exactly been providing jaw-dropping moments. And despite losing to Chile, 1-0, the Swiss have maintained their identity as a defensive-minded squad and have executed the game plan to near perfection.

Rather than go over all the scenarios and tiebreakers, it's pretty safe to assume the following for each team:

+ Chile -- A win is not imperative, but it helps Chile avoid a potential meeting with Brazil in the next round.

+ Spain -- A win is necessary, but a tie is acceptable as long they score a shit-ton of goals.

+ Switzerland -- A win is necessary, but a tie is acceptable as long they score a shit-ton of goals.

+ Honduras -- Playing for pride.


When it comes to predicting what will actually go down in these games, I'm sticking with my original predictions when OGS World Cup coverage began. I have Spain defeating Chile 2-1, and Switzerland grinding out a 1-0 victory over Honduras. Spain, Chile, and Switzerland each finish with six points, but Spain and Chile advance on goal-differential and goals-scored tiebreakers.

Click here for Jake's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


Five World Cup Matches You Can't Miss This Week

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Desperate Football On Tap
In Final Games Of Group Play

One Great Season

Tuesday brings the first day of the final round of matches in World Cup pool play in South Africa.

The first round saw some teams, even traditional powers, sitting back and playing conservatively.

The second round required some of those teams to step things up after less-than-positive results in those opening-round matches.

And now that we're on to the desperation round, it's OK to expect more excitement from many of the games over the next few days. A few of the One Great Season World Cup writers reveal below which must-see matches you won't want to miss:

+ Mike Mudd
USA v. Algeria, Wednesday (10 a.m. ET, ESPN)
Group C has been sort of a mess. The U.S. has played great in stretches, and, frankly, like crap in others. This is a must-win game for the Americans and it's going to be interesting to see if they can buckle down and play their best when a spot in the knockout round is on the line in a do-or-die game.

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+ Steve Susi
England v. Slovenia, Wednesday (10 a.m. ET, ESPN2)
How will the Three Lions respond to this must-win situation (or at least must-draw and pray for help) after a week of discord, calls for Fabio Capello's head, Capello's calling out of John Terry for press-conference comments, Jamie Gallagher's absence due to two yellows and the tabloid mania that's drowned us all these past few days?

+ Jake Yadrich
Germany v. Ghana, Wednesday (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
After Germany blasted Australia 4-0 in their opening match, people were talking Cup favorite. But then a 1-0 loss to Serbia left the Germans likely needing a victory over group leader Ghana to advance to the knockout stage. The German attack will be without prolific goal scorer Miroslav Klose, and Ghana captain John Mensah and fellow central defender Issac Vorsah may both be available for the match (neither played the last game due to injuries). I imagine Serbia will take out Australia, leaving the Germans with no option but to win this game. It has added importance, not only because a world soccer power may be booted, but it could also determine who the Americans would play in the knockout round should they advance.

+ Mike Dick
Italy v. Slovakia, Thursday (10 a.m. ET, ESPN)
The Italians have looked completely devoid of creativity, lack a consistent goal scorer and have been shaky at the back at times. Can Lippi make enough tweaks to get the three points they so desperately need? Or are the defending champs catching an early flight home?

+ Mike Marshall
Chile v. Spain, Friday (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Spain will be looking to top the group, not only for obvious reasons like national pride, but avoiding a knockout-round game against likely Group G winner Brazil. Following a much-improved second match against Honduras on Monday, Spain will move forward often, and shoot the nets off of the Chilean goal.


Group H Preview: Spain vs. Honduras

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Spaniards Should Rebound
From First-Round Loss

One Great Season

One of the tournament favorites and one of its biggest underdogs meet in a matchup of winless teams Monday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Honduras' first World Cup match in nearly 30 years ended with a 1-0 loss to Chile, and everyone in the entire universe knows what happened in Spain's first match. Although neither team has gotten on the board, this match has the potential to shake up the entire tournament. A Spain win immediately puts them back on track toward advancing, while a Honduras win could go down as one of the biggest shockers in tournament history.

Why Spain will win:

Although questions regarding Spain's ability to play as a team have arisen, there is no doubting the individual talent that fills the roster. Against Honduras' suspect back line, Spain should dominate the possession battle. I expect Fernando Torres to start up top with David Villa, and the dangerous duo will get multiple opportunities with players like Xavi and Andres Iniesta pushing the ball forward. Honduras struggled on the right side against Chile, and Spain will exploit that weakness and push forward in the attack.


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Why Honduras will win:

Honduras will take the same approach as Switzerland against Spain. Los Catrachos will stay compact in the back and absorb the Spanish attack with hopes of not letting one through. Honduras will look for the right time for a counter-attack, and Wilson Palacios and Ramon Nunez can provide possession long enough for a threat to develop. David Suazo may be set to return after injury, and he and fellow striker Carlos Pavon will look for that golden opportunity to convert, much like Switzerland did.

Player to watch:

Possession is key to Spain's success, and midfielder Xavi sets the standard of the possession game for La Furia Roja. Xavi provides the basis for the Spanish attack with his passing and ability to maneuver around defenders and distribute accordingly. Spain played with panic against Switzerland, but look for Xavi to restore the sense of calm to the Spanish side as they try to rebound. Xavi may not be the prolific goalscorer who grabs headlines, but he is nonetheless the driving force of the Spanish attack.


All skeptics will be looking at Spain when they take the field, and they will respond with a resounding statement in this match. Honduras had trouble with a talented Chilean attack last week, and Spain's world-class attack will be even more dangerous. Spain's passing game will wear down the Hondurans, and eventually lead to opportunities much like the game against Switzerland. However, this time Spain will cash in. The talent disparity in this game is too much to overcome, and Spain re-enters the discussion as favorites after a dominating win. Spain 3, Honduras 0

Click here for Jake's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


World Cup 2010: Group H Match Previews

One Great Season

Honduras vs Chile -- 7:30 AM ET

Honduras slid into the World Cup thanks to American Jonathan Bornstein's final-day-of-qualifying goal versus Costa Rica, and Chile avoided being booted from the Cup after a domestic-league relegation lawsuit led to FIFA's involvement. So it's pretty safe to say that both teams are glad to be in South Africa, no matter how they got there.

Why Honduras will win:

Los Catrachos probably know that no one expects them to do any damage in South Africa, and in sports, a team with nothing to lose often proves to be dangerous. Uber-talented midfielder Wilson Palacios launches the Honduran attack, veteran striker Carlos Pavon doesn't age, and David Suazo has proven dangerous at all levels. If goal-scoring opportunities are available, you can bet one of these three will deliver.

Why Chile will win:

Whenever your coach is nicknamed "El Loco," you know you've got a shot, but awesome nicknames aside, Chile is a talented squad. La Roja constantly send players forward, and the combination of Humberto Suazo and Mark Gonzalez can frustrate any defense in the world. The attack-heavy mindset produced 32 goals in qualifying, so it goes without saying that they can find the back of the net.

Player to Watch:

Chile may be the favorite to come away with three points, but Honduras' Palacios may prove to be the pivotal man of the match. Tottenham Hotspur's player of the year will be asked to make great contributions on both offense and defense, and with Chile's attacking style, a Honduran counter-attack led by Palacios could lead to rare scoring opportunities. Much like the 2006 World Cup did for Cristiano Ronaldo, the 2010 World Cup may put Palacios on a lot of teams' radars.


Honduras will be playing in their first World Cup match since 1982, and I think that will be the highlight for Los Catrachos. Honduras' weakness lies in its back four, and Chile's talent on the attacking side should get plenty of chances. La Roja's constant pressure will keep the ball in the Honduran half limiting the chances of a counterattack, and the youth of Chile will prove too much for the older Honduran squad. Chile 2, Honduras 0

Spain vs Switzerland -- 10:00 AM ET

Switzerland exited the 2006 World Cup as the only team not to have conceded a goal, but I don't see that lasting 30 minutes in their 2010 opener. The Swiss will bring one of the youngest sideas to South Africa, but the team will be forced to grow up quickly against the Spanish squad. As far as Spain goes, they are indeed the most talented team in the field, but can they finally deliver on the biggest stage?

Why Spain will win:

Iniesta, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, and Silva ... do I really need to say more? A midfield with that much talent provides the ultimate in maintaining possession, not to mention all four have the scoring capabilities of other countries' top strikers. When you add a scoring tandem like David Villa and Fernando Torres, there are no questions as to whether Spain will score. The question becomes how often. Oh, I forgot, goalkeeper Iker Casillas is absolutely ridiculous as well.

Why the Swiss will win:

Coaching may not have the biggest influence on soccer teams, but if you're coach has taken two teams to Champions League titles, you listen. Switzerland's greatest asset may be Coach Ottmar Hitzfield. The Swiss will be organized and patient in their possession and attack, and against a dangerous Spanish side, picking the right time to advance could be the only way the Swiss pull off a victory. Alexander Frei averages more than a goal per game in 73 appearances; I think it's safe to say he has a knack for scoring.

Player to Watch:

I know it's hard to select just one player to watch considering Spain's roster, but I will be watching Torres. El Nino may be one of the best strikers in the game, but he's also coming off knee surgery in April. He made his return in a recent 6-0 whipping of Poland, but come on, it was Poland. From a defensive standpoint, keying on Torres and David Villa simultaneously must be hell, but if Torres isn't 100 percent, Switzerland's defensive strategy becomes a little easier.


I don't even know why you would bother reading this portion, but in case you are: Yes, I am going with Spain. Although the Spaniards are nursing some bumps and bruises, making quick work of Switzerland will allow Vicente del Bosque to remove starters and give them some extra rest. Look for Spain to come out the gates firing on all cylinders and put Switzerland away early. Spain 4 - Switzerland 0

Click here for Jake's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


World Cup Preview: Group H

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Chile Poised To Join
Spain In Knockout Round

One Great Season

Looking at the draw for Group H, one thing is pretty obvious: Spain should dominate the competition and net ridiculous amounts of goals in the process. The only question surrounding Spain is which squad will show up: the one that dominated on their road to the Euro 2008 title, or the team that fell asleep during last year's Confederations Cup and lost to the United States?

"La Furia Roja" boast arguably the most talented roster in the competition. There will be no shortage of goals with David Villa and Fernando Torres patrolling the top. An insane midfield with Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta will control possession in the middle, and a solid defense led by Carles Puyol and goalkeeper Iker Casillas should easily lead FIFA's second-ranked team to the knockout stage, and possibly, to the country's first World Cup title. The biggest key could be whether Torres and Fabregas return fully healthy from recent injuries.

BIO: Meet Jake Yadrich

Chile, Honduras, and Switzerland round out the group, and although Spain is expected to cruise through the opening stage, the remaining three teams could make Group H one of the more dramatic groups of the first round. Chile and Switzerland are ranked 18th and 24th, respectively, and Honduras is sporting arguably their best squad ever. It may not be the Group of Death, but it's still up in the air which team will join Spain in the knockout round, and that should provide some tense and dramatic moments along the way.

Chile may be coming in with the most momentum, finishing only one point behind Brazil during CONMEBOL qualifying. Coach Marcelo Bielsa's squad may have surprised some, finishing ahead of perennial power Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, but "La Roja" field a talented, young squad that have the ability to turn some heads should they advance. Get to know Matias Fernandez and Mark Gonzalez, as South America's most-improved team could provide some flash, and a few surprises in South Africa.

MORE: Meet The 2010 OGS World Cup Writers

Although Switzerland lost to Luxembourg during qualifying, the side still finished in the top spot after rattling off six wins in their final eight qualifying matches. During that stretch, the Swiss collected home and away victories against fellow World Cup participant Greece. In the 2006 World Cup, the Swiss were the only team that didn't allow a goal, but it may be hard to replicate the feat given their first match in South Africa will be against Spain. Forwards Blaise N'Kufo and Alexander Frei will get plenty of scoring opportunities, but one can't help but wonder if a less-than-challenging qualification group may have fully prepared the Swiss to compete against the world's best.

Honudras may have squeaked into the World Cup after the United States drew with Costa Rica on the last day of qualifying, but this team is far different than the country's only other World Cup squad that competed in 1982. "Los Catrachos" are ranked 38th in the world, but they may have an outside shot to advance considering the group they're in.  Although a last-day victory and a Costa Rica/USA tie ensured their spot in South Africa, the team still managed five victories in CONCACAF and finished third behind the USA and Mexico.


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G

Personally, I am hoping that Honduras can surprise the field and move on. If you've read my bio, you know I work for the Kansas City Wizards of the MLS, and Wizards defender Roger Espinoza will be playing for the Honduran squad in South Africa. Seeing as I know the guy, I will be pulling for "Los Catrachos," but the truth of the matter is, they may not have the experience to advance.

Spain almost assuredly will advance past the group stage, so the June 21 match between Switzerland and Chile could very well determine which country will also advance. The speed and athleticism of the Chilean side should prove too much for the Swiss, and "La Roja" will continue to the group stage. No matter which two teams advance from Group H, things will only get more difficult in the knockout stage. The two teams from H will play the top two qualifiers from Group G, which consists of Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast, and North Korea.


Meet The 2010 OGS World Cup Writers

One Great Season is proud to announce it will be covering World Cup 2010 from start to finish. Group previews begin Thursday and once the games begin, we plan to update at least twice daily with match coverage, analysis and other news and notes. Please take a moment to get to know the nine contributors who will make One Great Season the only online destination you'll need for outstanding World Cup coverage.

Jeremy Brown

Jeremy Brown is a New York-based freelance writer. He's worked as a staff writer covering English and international football at UK and has contributed to several publications over the years, including the New York Post, Scientific American, Seed, Entertainment Weekly, Draft and Star. On Sundays he can be found groggily galumphing around not-always-trash-strewn pitches in the city's Cosmopolitan league, thankful that he never tried to go pro because man that looks like a lot of running. Jeremy will be covering Group B.

Mike Dick

Mike Dick got turned on to soccer by Pele's arrival in the NASL. Living in a virtual soccer vaccuum in Terre Haute, Ind., Mike's love of the game grew via broadcasts of Soccer Made in Germany and the odd NASL match, BBC World Service football coverage on shortwave radio and traveling to see live matches on occasion. He got to see Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Best and others in person in the NASL days, and as a semi-regular at matches of the Indianapolis Daredevils of the Amercan Soccer League, had the privilege to see an aged Eusebio as he pulled a Willie Mays at the end of his career. A former college goalkeeper, Mike enjoyed the 2006 World Cup in Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt. He supports Nottingham Forest and considers himself to be "the special one" when it comes to prowess on the barstool. Mike, a television producer in Louisville, Ky., will cover Group E.

Ben Jackey

Ben Jackey is an Emmy Award-winning former television news journalist from Louisville, Ky. He is a soccer addict who didn't pick up the game until World Cup 2002. Since then, he has travelled to watch and cover the USMNT and was producing a soccer documentary before he left the TV business this year. He is an avid supporter of Aston Villa FC of the English Premiership and may be the only person on the planet with cornhole boards adorned with the Villa crest. Up the Villa! It's important to note that Ben is a Leo, is fun at parties and is a great dancer. Ben, now a communications specialist in Louisville, will cover Group G.

Mike Marshall

Having played football continually for 28 years in some form, fashion or level in six countries — with teammates and competitors hailing from more than 50 nations — no other game could have given Mike Marshall a better perspective both on the human condition and how it might be changed for the better. With interests in history, international relations, anthropology, and design, Mike finds time for kick-ups whenever possible. Professionally he is the principal behind Marshall Arts, a graphic design and other creative works company. Mike will be covering Group F.

Mike Mudd, an assistant sports editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal, is a lifelong competitive soccer player, coach and fan whose claim to fame was making the second team Indiana all-state team in high school in Jeffersonville, Ind. Mudd covered college soccer while a student at Ball State University in the early 1990s. He also gets asked a lot about the time he scored four goals in a varsity match back in 1990. Mudd has watched every World Cup since 1986 and is more of a fan of South American soccer than European, though he has a soft spot in his heart for England. Mike will cover Group C, and can be followed on Twitter @mudd4goals.

Wade Murray

Wade Murray learned to play soccer at an early age while growing up in Iowa. He was a Division III All-American player at Luther College, then played semi-professionally in Minnesota and New York. His favorite national team is the US side, of course, but on the club level he roots for Everton. Wade is currently a digital marketing professional in New York City, and his favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo. Wade thinks Ronaldo is simply the smoothest son of a #$%^ he's ever seen, although he dives waaaay too much. Wade will be all over Group A.

Bruce Sholl

Bruce Sholl started playing pickup soccer as a kid on the dirty streets of Toledo, Ohio. He then went on to captain the Upper Arlington Golden Bears in Columbus, Ohio, and started for the men's club team of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He currently plays for The Barnstonworth Rovers third team, a New York City club group. Along with being a fan of his hometown Columbus Crew, he has traveled abroad to play and watch, most notably the Man U-Man City Derby in 2008 and Espanyol vs. Villarreal this year. His aggressive style of play has translated well to the pub when watching matches and head-butting. Bruce, a retail marketing specialist, is on the general assignment beat.

Steve Susi

Steve Susi is founder and chief creative officer of Brand Spanking New York, a NYC branding and creative consultancy. Steve has attended numerous Premiership matches over the past two decades — most of which involving his beloved yet hapless West Ham Hammers — attended the 2006 World Cup in Germany (watch the video) and is a devout Ohio State and all-teams-Cleveland fanatic. Mr. Susi will spend the second week of World Cup 2010 watching the national teams of Germany, Holland, Denmark and England at pubs located in those countries' respective capital cities, and reporting/photographing the proceedings for One Great Season. Check out for more about Steve and follow him on Twitter at @brandspankingny. He'll be covering Group D.

Jake Yadrich

Jake Yadrich has worked in the video production industry since 2004, spending mroe than five years as a videotape editor for FOX 4 News in Kansas City. While at FOX 4, he and the station's film critic earned acclaim at the 2009 and 2010 LA Press Club National Entertainment Journalism Awards for their weekly interview segments with Hollywood's biggest stars. In January 2010, Jake obtained what he considers a dream job in becoming the head of video operations for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer. Jake is an avid soccer fan, his favorite team being Barcelona, and brings an industry insider perspective to One Great Season's coverage of the 2010 World Cup. Jake will be covering Group H.