Ah, the Argies - the traditional footballing rivals to the English, Maradona, hand of God etc etc. They didn't really help their cause by invading the Falklands. The war in the Falklands figures largely in the military reputation of the Argentinians - although they did get involved in the bust up between the Brazilians and Uruguay during the War of the Triple Alliance. Their invasion started well, but eventually British superiority shone through and they were expelled. Expect much the same in this outing, great against the minnows, but struggle in the face of stiffer resistance. More recently the Argentinians helped out during the Gulf War, and have provided peace keeping troops to places like Haiti. On a purely personal note, their side includes a Magpie, nicknamed The Greyhound, who keeps a Spiderman mask in his underwear. Honestly!
ESS 15 The Falklands War
MAA 133, 134, 135 The Falklands War Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Another nation whose past military prowess vastly outweighs it's current abilities. Greece were the surprise victors in a recent European championship, but their glory days are past them. It has been a mighty fall from the heroism of the Spartans and the blossoming empire of Alexander the Great. A Greek unit did join UN forces in Korea, and served with some distinction, Individual Greeks received 6 U.S. Distinguished Service Crosses, 32 Silver Stars, 110 Bronze Stars. 19 members of 13th Flight received the U.S. Air Force Air Medal for the Hagaru-ri evacuation operation in December 1950 (thanks wikipedia!)
CAM 222 Salamis
ELI 7 The Ancient Greeks
ELI 66 The Spartan Army
Since their squad beat Italy in the World Cup they hosted, the South Korean team seems to have been on a slightly downward arc. Although their squad list would win most games of scrabble hands down, they remain underdogs. Although I do hope that they progress, only because it could mean them facing their northern neighbours North Korea. Technically I believe that North and South Korea are the only teams who are actually at war with each other at the moment. Which is quite a feat - meaning that South Korea has been at war for 60 odd years, surely that must make it a giant in my military World Cup. Except for the fact that the Americans have a large number of troops based in Korea, the UN had to bail them out during the initial years of the war, and the fact that they lost the latest battle with the North (or at least the North managed to sink one of their ships). Korea has a much longer military history than just the Korean War, but most of it seems to have involved being conquered by various groups of foreigners - ouch! But since South Korea was only technically formed in 1949 we won't hold that against them.
ESS 8 The Korean War
CAM 198 The Samurai invasion of Korea
MAA 174 The Korean War
There hasn't been much cause for the Nigerians to go to war with other countries since its independence, so it has made up for this by going to war with itself on a semi-regular basis. Racked by military coups, civil war and of course the Biafra incident, the Nigerian military achievements have not been that overwhelming, and with the onset of true democracy even the military coups seem to have dried up. Nigerian troops did actually play a part with the British during the First World War, fighting the Germans in East Africa. Four single-battalion 'regiments' were raised from hte West African Force's Nigeria Regiment. Today Nigerian forces quite often provide the bulk of peackeeping forces - particularly in Africa.
MAA 379 Armies in East Africa 1914-18
Group Winners - South Korea. Despite her past military failings the fact that the Koreas are still at war and could actually meet each other in the World Cup (like the Georgians bumping into the Russians during the Olympics) means that they automatically qualify for the next round of the tournament.
Runners up - Greece sneaks in at the very last moment to take second place in the group, pipping the Argentinians to the post (although the recent threats to reignite the Falklands conflict nearly got them through). As sad as I am to see Jonas heading back to Argentina, they just couldn't compete with the historical weight behind Greece. Alexander wasn't called great for nothing you know...
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