Monday, 19 October 2009

WC2010: Who's going? (part one)

OK as you may or may not have noticed, I haven't posted much here at all recently. My job isn't really leaving me enough time to write, but after a half-day today due to a server shutdown, I'm here with a new post about the World Cup finals in 2010.

Basically what I want to do over the next wee while, is discuss the teams that have made it so far, pass on a bit of my own knowledge (players to look out for etc.) and basically get some response with people's ideas on who's going to do well, who's going to struggle and all that jazz.

It might take me a while to get through them all, but just bear with me as I'll try to post some other stuff in between. So without further ado, in alphabetical order, let's get on with the show.


The Argies have been all over the news recently after just scraping through the qualifying stages, so I won't go in to why that is or anything as you all probably know. Despite the problems though, Argentina still have the quality in their squad that could essentially go all the way. Even though I don't think they will, with the best player in the world (Leo Messi in case you didnt know) and players like Tevez, Aguero and Mascherano in their squad, they can rival any team they come up against in the World Cup.

If Maradona can fashion a proper team out of the talent he has, with a good spine and a team ethic, then yes he could take them to the quarters or semis. Worst case scenario? They draw a tough group and fall at the first hurdle.

Star Man: Lionel Messi

Needs no introduction, been misfiring a little for his country, but the Barcelona forward is still the best player in the world. Expect a decent tournament, but in a team that are underachieving, he will surely be overshadowed by other players in more successful teams.

Player to watch: Nicolas Otamendi

In a nation where every young player is heralded as "the new Maradona", 21-year old centre half Nicolas Otamendi has been tipped to be the long-awaited natural heir to Roberto Ayala. Argentina's main problems are in defence, and with the unexperienced Otamendi being thrown in at the deep end and expected to perform, he has actually coped very well. He has all the qualities of a classic centre-half, and by the time South Africa comes around, I'm tipping him to be one of the best centre halfs in the tournament.

Prediction: Got the team to make the final, but will have to settle for a Quarter Final exit (maybe semis if they get a good draw).


They gave a very good account of themselves at the finals in Germany in 2006. The Socceroos are a nation who have really increased their worldwide standing in the past few years. Australia were always disadvantaged by losing players that qualified to play for Australia through European roots (most notably Christian Vieri, Sasa Ilic etc.) but thanks to their improved reputation, the Socceroos have managed to keep a lot of their home grown talent. Topping their group in the qualifying stage, manager Pim Verbeek has said they are targeting the Quarter Final stage come 2010.

Star Man: Tim Cahill

Again, really doesn't need much introduction. Cahill is a world-class player in a half-decent team, and I can really see him shining in South Africa. With him bossing the midfield, and pitching in with a few goals, he will be a massive player for the Socceroos.

Player to watch: Harry Kewell

Maybe a surprise choice, but I'm guessing the last time you saw Harry Kewell was when he was a fading light coming off the bench once in a blue moon for Liverpool. But now he is playing for Galatasaray in Turkey and he honestly looks like his old self, the fans love him and he is playing some truly great stuff.

He still has a decent kick of pace, a wicked cross, and is a goal threat anywhere around the area. Get ready for a surprise.

Prediction: Their goal is Quarter Finals, in all honesty that's more of a dream than a realistic goal. Group stage exit or scrape through to the Second Round.


The most successful nation ever to enter the World Cup are at it again. I'm saying it right now that I think Brazil will win this tournament. Dunga has done a great job with the team, but with the abundance of talent they have, they couldn't really go far wrong. Demolishing Argentina earlier in the qualifying, Brazil sealed their ticket to South Africa early on. I don't really know what else I can say about them, they'll win.

Star Man: Luis Fabiano

One of the top goalscorers in the world right now. I was never that much of a fan of him in the past, his attitude was pathetic but he's sorted himself out and is playing some unbeleivable football. Stick your house on Fabiano taking the Golden Shoe.

Player to watch: Nilmar

As if having Luis Fabiano leading the line wasn't enough, Brazil also have the young Nilmar who I expect will get some playing time. A classic striker, he's got a few years before he will be top drawer, but after making his move from the Brazilian league to Villarreal, hes on his way. Oh yeah and he scores goals like this:

Predictions: WINNERS.


Maybe a surprise package for South Africa. Finishing second in the South American qualifying, and with wins over Argentina and Paraguay, they do give the impression of a pretty serious team. Haven't really impressed anyone since 1998, no longer having players of the quality of Salas and Zamorano. But now, with some skilful players like Suazo, Fernandez and Valdivia they look like they might be able to turn a few heads.

Star Man: Humberto Suazo

10 goals in the qualifying says it all. He's a proper goalscorer, and with service from the midfield, he should score a few in South Africa. One of those players that confuses me so much. He has scored 140 goals at club level in the last 4 seasons, he's 28, and he's never seeked a move away from South America.

Player to watch: Matias Fernandez

Mati has always been a player with a lot of potential. He gained several supporters in his time at Colo Colo and had a good start to his European football career at Villarreal. However in the seasons following he found some trouble getting a regular starting place and moved to Sporting Lisbon.

He's always looked good for the national team and if he can have a good season Mati could have a decent part to play in the finals.

Prediction: Second Round exit. Although I wouldn't be surprised if they left at the Group stage, or even progressed further with a nice draw.

More later on.


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