Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My favorites for the World Cup final in 2006

This years World Cup sees a lull in some traditional powers.

France is ‘rebuilding’, Germany just doesn’t seem able, Italy’s mired in tactics of the past, and Argentina is still unadjusted to life after Diego.

I sense the biggest opening in 30 years for an ‘emerging’ team to swoop the cup; the reason is a combination of the old power’s lull, fatigue and a clear closing of the footballing gap. I’ll address a few unheralded teams which might have a chance below. But lets begin with my favorites:

The list must again start with Brazil. With Kaka and Adriano, next to Ronaldinho, this is as formidable a Brazil up front as ever. The team is strong in midfield attack and quite capable of pulling back goals if the defense turns rickety.

You can start your giggles now, but I’m convinced Spain has the goods this time around. While failing miserably on many occasions, this team with Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia, Barelona’s Xavi, also has an excellent defense, width and pace.

England is a mature team, with a world class player in every slot now. The coach has flexibility and the team has not won anything in a while, Liverpool’s success may spark the national side into some more belief.

A half a pace back I must place Portugal and The Netherlands. Portugal has a recent run of success both at club and international level which includes a European Cup final. Coach Luis Scolari is proving a coach which has instilled a focus which the team has lacked in the past. Marco Van Basten is proving a very capable coach, very willing to give players a chance, and getting results at the same time. Its possible we are seeing the start of a new era in quality Dutch football.

A few teams that have the outside chance I mentioned above are South Korea, who with the right coach can do wonders because their team will run their opponents legs off.

I feel Uruguay also have a very good team and could prove a surprise.

Denmark, with the sublime Thomas Gravesen is so well coached and talented that they have a shot.

Lastly, I sense that Cameroon or the Chez Republic could reach the final; I don’t think either can win it this time around, but Cameroon remains my future choice for Africa’s first World Cup winner.


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Anonymous j-boy said...

Can't believe you left out Czech Republic especially after the brilliant run they had in Euro 2004....But a good list though

6/09/2005 2:19 PM  
Anonymous joey said...

i cant believe you mentioned holland aka "the netherlands". they are struggling in qualifying and the only true star on there team is Van Nessleroy (sp?). i think argentina has a a very good shot as well. also England is strong all over the field. look for them to advance far into the Cup and maybe even win it.Go USA!

6/09/2005 4:54 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

Hey Joey,

I dont rate V Nistelrooy highly because of his injury rate.

The Dutch team's superstar is Arjen Robben. In fact, he is one of my top 3 players in the world.

I also disagree about the qualifying struggles, they won 4-0 just the other day... with a team full of new players.

I'm convinced Marco van Basten is just a brilliant person in general and he's making the most intuitive decisions as a coach, trying new player after new player with equal success. Recall this was a player which had a career tragically cut short, and was a legend at AC Milan. The Dutch team is certainly on the rise.

I thought about the American team, which has some quality, fitness, and is well rested. They will likely advance into the knockout, but this years global crop in general is much better.

Argentina has alot of talent and skill, what they lack is stability.

6/09/2005 6:17 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

j-boy, if you read at the bottom of my article, it mentions the Chez Rep in the final... that was BECAUSE of their Euro run...

Finish my artiches ;-)

6/09/2005 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Evan said...

I've been telling everyone since last summer that Argentina is the team. Yes, they lost the Copa America. But the young players got a lot of experience then.

Last night's thrashing of Brazil should show that they can do it in terms of class--I think it's a matter of getting their heads together when it comes to the World Cup, which always seems to be their problem.

Still, they're my choice for favorites.

And the Holland game yesterday should show that the Dutch are also going to be a force, maybe not next year, but in 2008 and 2010. Kuyt, Van Persie and Robben are frightening together. They had two outrageous goals right at the end--yeah, Finland had given up, but they're only going to get better. They need to start producing some young defenders, and not all young attackers.

6/09/2005 6:59 PM  
Anonymous j-boy said...

Sorry football commentator I totally missed that.

Joey: Don't know what WC qualifers you're watching but the Dutch have been clutch and topping their group. They have quality strikers to cover for Ruud when he's injured. As for the US team, I don't see them going far. Granted the have quality players but you can't excel in top flight football when the only decent team you play is Mexico... Trinidad, Guatamala or Panama don't cut it. What's that you say, we made it to the quarter finals last time. Trust me it's not every time you are gifted a free pass by another team (S. Korea) during the grp stage then play a team (Mexico) you practically own in the 1st round.


6/10/2005 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Romford Pele said...

so thats narrowed it down to about 10 countries who can win it? about a third of the finalists ! not hedging your bets are you ? While you dismiss Argentina, Germany and Italy for no real reason. Uruguay would be a surprise alright since they probably wont qualify, Ditto Cameroon. Do you seriously rate Denmark ? Did you see them in Euro 2004? Oh dear.

Being played in Europe, history shows it will probably be one of the top five European teams that wins it or the two top South American teams.

6/12/2005 2:10 AM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...


I do rate Uraguy highly, and recall that Brazil had a nasty time getting to the 2002 finals and won it handily. The group standing has a five point gap from Equador in 3rd spot to Uraguy in 7th. Not even the last placed team is mathematically out of the running. Its a very competitive S America.

Denmark, yes, and I also saw so many powers crash out of the World Cup in 2002, so any team can have a bad tournament. They are locked in a tough qualifying group and if I use your argument that Europe will likely win in Europe, well, DK is next door to Germany.

Cameroon lie 2nd in their group and are doing fine.

6/12/2005 5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FC - you obviously have not seen the latest position in Denmark's qulaifying group. Their only chance is through the Play-Offs. Why haven't you mentioned Ukraine? Top of the toughest group, six clean sheets in a row, and lead by the world's best striker in Shevchenko. If they can get a lot more confidence in their own abilities, then they will be a tough nut to crack and could well be the surprise team of the tournament - another Greece. Their game is based on not losing, rather than winning. I saw them win 2-0 recently against Kazakhstan and they did enough without being blindingly brilliant. But Denmark are quite frankly pants, if you look closely at their form of the last year.

7/17/2005 12:43 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

I dont rate Ukraine. They are having a good run, undeniable, but World Cup final? Too soon.

Denmark have a really good team despite their form. They may flop, but more often than not, they show up and always make the knock out stages in the finals which is half the journey.

7/19/2005 7:10 PM  

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