World Cup 2010 explained for science fiction geeks – groups A-D

EVERY four years the footballing world goes crazy for the World Cup, where the 32 best national teams from around the globe meet on the field of battle.

This time the tournament of tournaments will be held in South Africa, the first time FIFA‘s showpiece event has been played on the continent.

While I like my sport just as much as my sci-fi, I know plenty of geeks out there who don’t, so this is for you.

I’ve broken the competing teams into their groups and then linked each team to a science fiction character or show, so you know just what they’re all about and can pick who you might support. If you want the footballing World Cup guide, you can click here for the excellent BBC Guide to the teams.

Ready? Then eat my goal!

Group A

France

The former World Champions ruled the roost a few years back, only for that generation of players to grow old. Their coach is a madman who picks teams based on star signs and and is pretty much universally despised by his people.

They will also do anything to survive, shown in the World Cup sudden death play-off game against Ireland when Thierry Henry blatently and shamelessly handballed to set up the winning goal.

France are – Gaius Baltar

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South Africa

The tournament hosts, but would have struggled to qualify in their own right as they are a second-rate team.

Little chance of matching the rugby side and winning the event, and still struggling to get out from under the weight of their country’s history and the tyrannical regime that held power for decades.

South Africa are … on Carousel in Logan’s Run

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Mexico

An entertaining  and exciting team that are very pleasant on the eye, especially when coming forward.

However, they tend to be overmatched against stronger opponents, lack composure at crucial moments and don’t travel well.

Mexico are – Princess Ardala from Buck Rogers

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Uruguay

The winners of the first two World Cups, back in the 1930s, but precious little since.

Some good players and usually interesting to watch but no chance of claiming the big prize. Their glory days are long behind them.

Uruguay are – Larry ‘Buster’ Crabbe as Flash Gordon

Group B

Argentina

One of the favourites for the tournament in most years, they are a vision in blue and white with some fantastic players.

They are also managed by a visionary leader who won’t accept he is wrong, but despite the fantastic resources at his disposal, they struggled to deliver a winning combination and have created a team that is less than the sum of its parts.

Argentina are … Avatar

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Greece

Self-confessed as the most boring team at the tournament, Greece put their faith in stern defence and … erm … that’s it.

It has paid off in the past, but they are always likely to be undone by a spark of inspiration.

Greece are … the Alliance from Firefly

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Nigeria

Once the most feared of the African nations, the Nigerians comee into the tournament as a real unknown quantity.

Their established big names are long gone, meaning it is up to young players to live up to their illustrious forebears.

Nigeria are … Star Trek TNG

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South Korea

Semi-finalists when they hosted the tournament back in 2002, the Koreans are burdened with massively unrealistic expectations this time around for progression through a difficult group and going even further.

However, their lack of firepower means they will disappoint their fans.

South Korea are … Flash Forward

Group C

Algeria

The unknown quantity of group C and one of England’s first round opponents.

Despite being considered the weak link, they are a better team than many people realise as a semi-final place in the African Cup of Nations showed.

Algeria are … Stargate Universe

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England

A good team full of big names and experience, and given immense professionalism and direction by their manager. However, they are still trying to live up to illustrious predecessors.

Also, weaknesses in key positions mean they are liable to crack when the pressure is on.

England are … the Colonial Marines in Aliens, especially Private Hudson.

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USA

Once considered a joke, the world game’s last frontier has improved massively from those days and can now beat anyone when everything works.

Challenging opponents then, but a few injuries may expose a pedestrian playing style and a lack of strength in depth

USA are … new V

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Slovenia

Despite only having a vanishingly small player base, Slovenia make the absolute most of their resources and are capable of springing a shock.

They proved that by defeating mighty Russia to reach the finals, but any points here would be a tremendous result.

Slovenia are … the Rebel Alliance

Group D

Australia

Another massively improved team, who have some genuine star names in the current generation of players.

They often struggle to deliver on their hard work however, and alot depends of their strike force avoiding injuries.

Australia are … Torchwood

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Germany

At their height Germany were an all-conquering, relentless, success machine that hoovered up trophies like it was going out of fashion.

While the current generation of players are living on former glories to some degree, they have plenty of punch and can never be ruled out.

Germany are … Star Trek

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Ghana

Ghana suffered a massive blow before the finals with an injury to their star player and midfield general Michael Essien.

However their team is packed with exciting young talent and they have stepped up and delived fearless performances, whoever they line-up against.

Ghana are … The Last Starfighter

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Serbia

My tip for World Cup 2010 dark horses as despite being among the lesser-favoured nations, they are packed with talented players.

Much will depend on whether striker Nikola Zigic can deliver the goals to take them past their rivals.

Serbia are … Galaxy Quest

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