South Africa is the host of the 2010 World Cup and this will be an exciting year for the teams as well as South Africa. The cities involved in the World Cup in /world-cup-2010/cities-stadiums/polokwane/”>Polokwane, /world-cup-2010/cities-stadiums/nelspruit/”>Nelspruit, /world-cup-2010/cities-stadiums/johannesburg/”>Johannesburg, /world-cup-2010/cities-stadiums/durban/”>Durban, /world-cup-2010/cities-stadiums/cape-town/”>Cape Town.
Each city is more than prepared for the thousands of spectators that will embark upon South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Visitors can expect newly constructed stadiums, upgraded stadiums, tight security in place, and the welcoming of the residents that wish to make all visitors stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
The two teams who start as favorites around the world are Brazil and Spain. Of course, in England favorites are of course England themselves. I do not think you would find that anywhere else in the world though!
Spain looks to be the most favored side and if their key players can stay clear of injury, they will definitely take some beating. The old adage that Spain never produces their best in the big tournaments was finally put to bed when they won Euro 2008 in great style.
There is not a better strike-force in world football than David Villa and Fernando Torres. There are few midfields that include better players than Iniesta, Xavi, and Fabregas. There are not many better defenders than Puyol, and I struggle to name a more accomplished keeper than Casillas. All in all, the side ranked number one in the world are worthy favorites.
Brazil does not resemble many Brazilian sides of the past and although they have some brilliant individual flair from the likes of Kaka, their success under Dunga has been built far more around organization and good defending than one would normally expect from them. He was a fine defensive midfielder. Not in the typical Brazilian mold, he has fashioned a team in his likeness. Ranked at two in the world they have a great chance to make it six wins.
The other teams that believe they have a chance include Holland, Italy, Portugal, Germany, France, and Argentina.
Holland is ranked at number three in the world. They won all of their qualifiers and conceded only two goals. There has never been any doubt about the ability of the Dutch team; it is their temperament and unity that cause the problems. If they can keep it together, they have a chance. The likes of Arjen Robben will be looking to shine.
Italy is ranked at number four in the world. This team has been around awhile and probably does not possess as much flair as it needs. Having said that, are you brave enough to bet against the Italians?
Portugal is ranked at number five in the world. This team struggled to qualify, but with the talent at their disposal, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, they should definitely not be written off.
Germany is ranked at number six in the world. They have appeared in more world cup semi-finals than any other country. Only Brazil and Italy have won it more often than Germany. One thing we have all learned is that however well or badly the Germans are playing, they are always ready for the big tournaments.
France is ranked at number seven in the world. They struggled to qualify through the play-offs, when Thierry Henry defeated the plucky Irish. Despite that, a team with their talent must have a chance.
Argentina is ranked at number eight in the world. Sit back and enjoy the ride! With Diego Maradona in charge, this should be interesting. They look to be weaker than usual, but anything could happen.
England is ranked at number nine in the world. The English expect after one win to win repeatedly. This time it’s no different.
The outside bets
The outside bets generally would seem to be the African representatives from the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and Ghana. It is difficult to see any of the European, North American, South American, or Asian teams having a real chance outside of the obvious few which are Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, France, possibly England, and maybe a couple of others.
The Ivory Coast has Didier Drogba and on his day, there is nobody better. Any defense in the world could find him to be absolutely unplayable. The problem for them will be trying to qualify out of their group. Portugal and Brazil will fancy qualifying out of ‘the group of death’. The Ivory Coast is ranked sixteenth in the world and is probably Africa’s best chance. Despite being drawn in the group of death, they may have what it takes to go all the way.
Ghana is a big, strong, fast, and dynamic team who might just cause a bit of a shock. There are not many teams at the competition who wouldn’t want Chelsea’s Michael Essien in their midfield. Ranked thirty-seventh in the world they are certainly a very outside bet. They could do with a better keeper, a goal-scorer, and better discipline. Having said all that, they are not a bad side.
Cameroon has the great Sami Eto’o and they are my tip to do well. They are ranked eleventh in the world. They only just qualified, but they are a realistic outside bet to reach the latter stages of the tournament.
Players to watch
The great players will all have their chance to shine on the biggest stage of all. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will continue their battle to be regarded as the best while the likes of Kaka, Xavi, and Iniesta will stake their claim to be regarded at the same level as those two.
Some players have a little to prove such as Franck Ribery and Wayne Rooney to show if they can really be talked about at the exalted heights of being the world’s best. In order to do just that they need to produce at the biggest tournament.
Andrea Pirlo is still a fine player and his form will be a crucial factor in Italy’s progress. If Serbia is to do well then Inter’s Dejan Stankovic will need to have a great tournament.
When it comes to the African teams, you can be sure that if the Ivory Coast does well then Didier Drogba will be one of the stars of the show. If Cameroon lives up to my outside bet then Samuel Eto’o will need to be firing on all cylinders. For Ghana to overcome the odds, they will need Michael Essien to prove that he is up there with the best in the world.
As for goalkeepers, Iker Casillas is likely to star although I do not expect him to have much to do!
We cannot wait, can you?