In the next week there will be tragedy and ecstasy for some of the top footballing nations. Some big nations are are likely to miss out.The likes of France, Portugal and Argentina are walking the tightrope of not appearing at next years World Cup.
In European qualification usually the bigger teams qualify for the major tournaments but there always seems to one big a nation that misses out on the big showpieces. The most recent example of that being England missing Euro 2008 of course.
This time around the two best players in the world are on the verge of missing on. Two of the stars of La Liga are in very real danger of not taking part in the greatest show on earth as its been described.
Portugal England tormentors
As an England fan I would shed no tears if Portugal failed to qualify for South Africa 2010. Manchester United star Wayne Rooney put it best by saying: “It would be nice to see Portugal not there because they have knocked us out of the last two tournaments.” Wayne explained exactly why I don’t want to see them at next years World Cup.
Love him or hate hes quality
However their star player and current World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo would be a miss if the Iberians fail to qualify. How can a major tournament not miss the World Player of the Year. I don’t have a great liking for Ronaldo as a person but as a footballer his talent is indisputable. For the last three or four years he has been consistently brilliant.
Ronaldo has had a blistering start to his career at Real Madrid and people have even said that Madrid are too over-reliant on the former Manchester United star. Unfortunately for the winker his teammates are not of the same quality and have struggled in group One.
The Scandinavians of Sweden and Denmark have overshadowed Ronaldo’s side and his side now need to win their last two games to have any chance of making the World Cup. Its unlikely that they will make the automatic berth as they are currently five points behind group leaders Denmark. However they do have the advantage of the two Scandinavians facing each other later on today in Copenhagen.
Maradona struggles as Argentina boss
I have mixed feeling about whether I want Argentina to qualify. On one hand their manager Diego Maradona may be a legend in his homeland, not to mention Scotland for his hand of God goal in 1986 but in England memories are long and unforgiving. As I was only three at the time and don’t remember that incident but for some reason I still dislike Maradona. I think its the fact that he thinks just because he was a great footballer he can just wander into the one of the hardest jobs in world football.
I would miss messi
One the other hand I really want to see Barcelona’s Leo Messi on the world stage. As a self-confessed fan of Barcelona I have enjoyed watching the little magician produce virtuoso performances but for his country I feel he tries to do everything himself. He simply has to win this years World Player of the Year. He finished a close second to Ronaldo in last years awards and this should be his year.
Will they qualify?
Although they look like they are currently struggling to qualify I believe both of the nations will be at next years World Cup. If Sweden get beaten by group leaders Denmark then Portugal will jump up to second place in Group One with a win against Hungary at home.
Denmark look likely to qualify as group winners and Portugal will be hoping to seal a play-off place ahead of the Swedish. Portugal’s last game is at home against group whipping boys Malta. While Sweden play Albania at home. Portugal’s fate is not in their own hands at the moment much depends on the Denmark vs Sweden clash today.
Argentina are currently fifth in the South American qualification. The top four qualify automatically and fifth place goes into the play-offs. The group is very tight with Argentina a point behind fourth place Ecuador but just two points ahead of Colombia who are third from bottom.
Maradona’s side face bottom of the group Peru later on today knowing they have to win. Their last game however is against bitter rivals Uruguay in Montevideo which could prove a fatal obstacle. When the two come face to face they could be fighting out for the fourth or even fifth place in the group. It won’t be easy but I think Argentina will scrape through.