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World Cup Preview: Group B

The World Cup begins in exactly three days, and we are officially excited. Starting Friday, there's nonstop historic action, all day: From 7:30 a.m. on, you have every excuse to pretty much take the whole summer off. We continue our World Cup coverage today with our preview of Group B. (See our Group C, Group D, Group E, Group F, Group G, and Group H previews.) So, here's all you need to know about Group B, which features Argentina, Greece, Nigeria, and South Korea.

GROUP B

FIFA Rankings
No. 7: Argentina
No. 13: Greece
No. 21: Nigeria
No. 47: South Korea

Best World Cup Finish
Argentina: Winners (1978, 1986)
Greece: 0–0–3 (1994, only appearance)
Nigeria: Second round (1994, 1998)
South Korea: Fourth place (2002)

Best Player
Argentina: Lionel Messi, striker.
Greece: Georgios Karagounis, midfielder.
Nigeria: John Obi Mikel, midfielder.
South Korea: Ji-Sung Park, midfielder.

Coach (and Sideline Garb)
Argentina: Diego Maradona. Hoo boy. As always, Maradona is the story wherever he goes, and his recent suspension (for telling the press to "suck it and keep on sucking it") and questionable roster decisions (mocked far more in Europe than they were in Argentina) have made certain his players fade into the background. No matter what happens with this team, all anyone will remember is Maradona. (Homeless chic.)
Greece: Otto Rehhagel. The Greek coach since 2001, he's credited with the shocking 2004 Euro Cup victory. This is his first-ever World Cup. (Athletic gear.)
Nigeria: Lars Lagerback. The coach of Sweden throughout the entire last decade, he resigned after failing to qualify the Swedes for this year's World Cup. He then took over Nigeria, just three months ago. (Athletic gear.)
South Korea: Huh Jung-Moo. A former star player in South Korea, his goal in 1986 qualified the country for the first of its now six-consecutive World Cup appearances. (Tie, no suit.)

Broadcaster-Worthy Anecdote
Argentina: Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona Maradona.
Greece: The team plays slow, defensive, and ugly — and, somewhat amazingly, is only in its second-ever World Cup. This might be the best team they've ever had, though. They're still pretty boring.
Nigeria: The coaching turmoil — firing tempestuous Shaibu Amodu, sort of Nigeria's Billy Martin, and replacing him with the Swede — has everyone curious about what's going to happen with Africa's most populous, soccer-mad nation.
South Korea: The Taeguk Warriors have a reputation for playing well in Asia, but poorly everywhere else. This is yet another opportunity to prove otherwise.

Schedule
June 12, 7:30 a.m.: Argentina vs. Nigeria
June 12, 10 a.m.: Greece vs. South Korea
June 17, 7:30 a.m.: Greece vs. Nigeria
June 17, 10 a.m.: Argentina vs. South Korea
June 22, 2:30 p.m.: Nigeria vs. South Korea
June 22, 2:30 p.m.: Argentina vs. Greece

Prediction
1. Argentina
2. Nigeria
3. South Korea
4. Greece

Previously:

World Cup Preview: Group C
World Cup Preview: Group D
World Cup Preview: Group E
World Cup Preview: Group F
World Cup Preview: Group G
World Cup Preview: Group H

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Photo: Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images; Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images; Mike Hewitt/Getty Images; Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images