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2010 World Cup Underway; Watching Blaise

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Hey all,

Well, I hope you've all been madly following the first round drama (or non-drama), as the 2010 South Africa World Cup is revving up and charging along. Can you believe it? Tomorrow, one-third of the group stage games will be done and in the books. But so far, more than a few of the groups are still looking undecided and up for grabs.

In case you didn't already know, I've joined the USA World Cup Team Blog for the remainder of this month (and hopefully longer, fingers crossed). I have been focusing my commitment over there since I am desperately rooting for the Nats this time. I really think we could get a result with this team. But, yes, I realize though most of you are also likely supporting Team USA, international football is like politics at the family Christmas dinner table. It's bound to cause rifts and debate, so I'll leave it out. But, I'll sneak in that now I'm a little more OK with it if you are rooting for England.

Despite whatever international allegiances you may hold dear, one point of interest is that the final group will be playing their opening matches tomorrow: that of Spain, Switzerland, Chile, and Honduras of Group H. And as we all know, a certain Sounder-to-be (Sounder-elect? What do you call a future team player?) will likely be starting for his country of Switzerland.

Like I was saying above, a lot of the groups have not been opening play in the way people had hoped for scoring-wise. Even Brazil were held to two goals by a defensive North Korea. So it's not surprising to hear fans and supporters of La Furia Roja forecasting an offensive demolition against Switzerland to open up in style. Spain is easily the most star-studded team in the entire tournament, with the likes of Fernando Torres, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, and freshly-OK'd Andres Iniesta.

Yet, the ones Seattle Sounders fans will be watching is the lone man starting opposite the tournament favorites, Blaise Nkufo. Unlike the favorites, the Swiss are not at full capacity. And with Spain looking to show the world how to open a World Cup in style, the Swiss will also likely field a defensive team, leaving Blaise as the lone offensive weapon. As such, it will definitely be interesting to watch him operate up top to see if he can try and create some attacking opportunities. This preview from Soccernet also highlights him as a potential threat for the Spanish backline to deal with. In the preview, they've included a neat EA FIFA 10 simulation, which shows Blaise getting some close chances and hitting the post. Let's hope he does better tomorrow.

The game will be at 7AM PST on ESPN for those of you at home, but if you're looking for a place to view the game, don't forget to check out my Guide for Viewing the World Cup in Seattle, with plenty of places open bright and early for the match.

In the meantime and after the game, I'll be writing here and there, but mostly over at the USA blog. Stop by if you're supporting your Yanks. We've still got a whole lot of cup left to watch. Enjoy it!