CM9798 World Cup Preview: Group A-D with BBC Sport’s Tom Rostance

The time is nearly upon us. On Monday May 21st the CM9798 World Cup will get underway right here on CM9798.co.uk, but first for the next two weeks I’m going to preview the 16 human controlled teams with a special guest. Here’s a reminder of who is who

Teams final

The first four groups are going under the microscope with Tom Rostance of BBC Sport. You can of course click his name to be taken to the chat me & Tom had last year about his history with the game but many of you will know Tom as a live texter over on the BBC Sport website. With that in mind, let’s head over to Group A where we find three of our competitors.

Group A

Group A Pic

It’s hard to look past the holders Brazil here, who will kick the tournament off against Denmark on May 21st. Managed by Mark Carruthers, there’s an embarassment of riches to pick from and narrowing it down to 25 was difficult enough.

brazil squad

The strengths are numerous. In Dida there’s a safe pair of hands in goal, plus two of the best full backs of my lifetime. Rivaldo, Juninho, Leonardo and Denilson are able to supply the bullets for the lethal Ronaldo and Anderson, though Elber, Edmundo and the experienced Romario are not bad options to be able to call upon from the bench. Is there a lack of pace at centre half? Will anybody be able to get the ball to exploit it?

Their opponents on the opening day really have their hands full. Here’s who Ross has picked for Denmark:

denmark squad

You will of course know Ross from the Parma save that comes to your screens every Monday. It’s not a bad squad to be honest, it’s a shame for them that they have Brazil to face but in the Laudrup brothers along with CM9798 legends Tomasson and Bisgaard there’s plenty of goals about. The defence is probably the weak area but with Schmeichel in goal, it might not matter.

This is one of two groups with three human controlled teams, which sadly means at least one of these boys won’t go through. King of the Rooks has Norway – you might know KOTR from the 20 year anniversary cup and he is bringing a blog to you later this year, but for now you know him as the Norway manager who left Tore Andre Flo and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at home.

norway squad

I’ll be honest, I had to play some of the qualifiers to make sure certain teams qualified. It’s a long story but this was well before anybody was assigned any teams and I needed the 16 teams I’d made playable all to qualify. Anyway, Norway were so much fun to manage I think I won two of the qualifiers by 6 goals or more. Again though, their fun-ness is limited as they could be lambs to the Brazilian slaughter at some point. The Scandanavian teams all have a full set of players available in the database (CM2 was released over there, same database just different playable leagues) so they are a strong unit. If they can get out of the group, nobody will want them in round 2. Oh and Saudi Arabia have no real players on the database in this save, so good luck to them.

Tom’s verdict:

Can you pick too many forwards? Not if you’re in charge of that Brazil team. My word.

Cm 97/98 legend Sonny Anderson may well get the nod alongside Ronaldo, and when you chuck in Rivaldo, Cafu. Roberto Carlos and Denilson the possibilities are endless.

The other two sides have smatterings of quality too. I recall Bisgaard being top class in this game, while Norway have plenty of PL players to throw at it – NEVLAND! Where’s Solskjaer though?

Group B

Group B Pic

You have to say this is a favourable draw for the hosts – corruption claims were less in 1998 – and 90s enthusiast @90sfootball will be confident of getting France out of the group.

France 98 squad final

A slight issue is that Vieira has picked up an injury and will miss the first two games, whilst Petit will be fine. There’s no shortage of quality in the squad though, with the veteran Papin still very capable. Will this be Zidane’s time? I’m just looking forward to seeing Bernard Diomede on the big stage. It’s also a shrewd move to get Ali Benarbia signed up before Algeria come calling.

Of the other teams in the group, USA have a full squad as I loaded them as my backup team in case one of the European teams fell by the wayside. Even if Paddy isn’t a CM9798 expert I still think he’ll get through at a canter.

USA squad

Tom’s verdict:

Florian Maurice gets the chance to have the World Cup he should have had in real life. The Champ legend is the shining light in a France squad rammed full of class. Ali Bernabia? Yes please. Tell me more about this injury to Vieira though…

Group C

Group C Pic

Holland start Group C as favourites, a strong squad with many players in their prime they went on to reach the World Cup semi finals in 1998. How will they do under the guidance of Ash Rose, host of Alive & Kicking 90s Podcast?

dutch squad final

Sadly, Frank De Boer has broken his pelvis and will miss the tournament. There’s still enough quality to see the Dutch through to the latter stages though this group won’t be a walk over. Colombia only have one real player, Faustino Asprilla no less, but that means they’ll have a lot of decent fake players. Then of course there’s the loveable underdogs, Republic of Ireland. Or Eire as they were called in 1998

Ireland squad

Roy Keane is the obvious star, but he is suspended for the opener against Colombia. That could prove costly, especially as Jim Gannon will step in. Rob Tait, of Roma save fame, is in the hot seat though and it will surely only help. He even wrote a tactics guide with the stricken Andy Townsend.

Tom’s verdict:

Was Robbie Keane not worth an outside shout for the Eire squad? I recall him cropping up in 97/98, though I could be wrong.

Hard to look past the Dutch here. Another frighteningly good attacking line up.

Group D

When you think you’ve seen it all, look what the games throws up for us…

Group D Pic

England have two rivals in one group, plus Tunisia who they played in 1998 but also will again in 2018. My my.

England squad

Under the guidance of Dan Barker, Nicky Butt’s injury on the eve of the tournament has seen Matt Le Tissier flown out to join the squad. The old left sided problem still remains but Dan seems set to set up narrow and let the likes of Shearer, Gascoigne and Scholes do the damage.

Argentina meanwhile are lead by Chris Darwen, fresh from the humiliation of a first round exit in the 20 Year Annviersary Cup despite being Real Madrid. Yes, he’s called up Maradona!

argentina squad

Without a club for the whole season, Maradona’s inclusion seems a bit of a gamble but as long as Batistuta is around there’s a chance. It’s a very strong team, particularly in the striking department, just watch out for Simeone’s antics.

As if there’s not enough going on, Australia are managed by former England gaffer Terry Venables. Whatever next?

australia squad

It’s going to be a tough group which England and Argentina should really escape from, but will it go to form?

Tom’s verdict:
Just what would have happened had Glenn Hoddle gone with Gazza and not Rob Lee? Now is maybe the time to find out. A hell of a squad – what Gareth Southgate wouldn’t give to have those sort of options now.

The Argentina side is full of quality too. Give it Batistuta.

More importantly – have Ibrahima Bakayoko’s Ivory Coast qualified?!

Well Tom you’ll have to wait until next week to find out the answer to that particular question. I’ll be back next Sunday with another special guest to take us through Groups E-H before the tournament itself starts the following day.

My sincerest thanks to Tom for taking the time out to help me with this preview, you can follow Tom on Twitter @TJRostance or of course find him on the BBC Sport website.

 

 

3 thoughts on “CM9798 World Cup Preview: Group A-D with BBC Sport’s Tom Rostance

  1. Love your comment about corruption and France’s easy World Cup draw…
    Did you know what was coming from Platini?!?!
    P.s. where is Djetou in the France squad?

  2. Pingback: CM9798 World Cup Preview: Group E-H with Quickly Kevin’s Michael Marden | CM 97/98

  3. Pingback: CM9798 World Cup – Day One: Holders Brazil get the tournament underway, Hosts France also in action | CM 97/98

Leave a Reply