Friday, June 9, 2006

2006 FIFA World Cup

yeap, just 3 hours and 50 minutes away, the 18th World Cup will kick off in the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. The opening match will feature Germany and Costa Rica from Group A and 3 hours later another match featuring Poland and Ecuador from Group A will kick off in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

yes, almost everyone is excited about the world cup. after all, it's the richest and most popular sport in the world. i have to admit that brazil is the clear favourite in this year's competition, but there's just far too many brazil fans. that's why i'd rather support other teams than brazil.

there's plenty of teams that i'm supporting this time. the main one is obviously england. then there's the czech republic, portugal, holland, france, italy, spain, germany, argentina, japan and south korea(hey i'm asian, of course i'd support asian teams!). except for the last two, all of them are serious contenders to brazil for the world cup.

1st of all, england. can they repeat 1966? sure. do they have the material? sure. look at the big names in the starting eleven. robinson in goal, ferdinand and terry in the defense, ashley cole covering left back, gary neville covering the right, lampard and gerrard orchestrating the attack from midfield, joe cole providing from the left wing, beckham from the right, and of course rooney, crouch and owen spearheading the attack. if they can make things right, a semi final spot isn't that hard for them this time.

then there's the czech republic. there's rosicky, the young midfield maestro. and there's nedved, the veteran providing experience to the team. in goal, the incredibly safe handed petr cech, arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. i can see them reaching the quarters, maybe even more than that.

nowadays, portugal synonyms with the style of football from brazil. skill, pace and creativity from their football. skill and pace with the likes of cristiano ronaldo and simao, creativity with the likes of deco and figo. cristiano ronaldo has been one of the key figures of manchester united, providing superbly from the right wing. deco has been one of the key figures in barcelona's champions league success, and he's sure to shine in portugal's world cup. figo is the veteran one, providing experience and creativity to the team. definitely quarter final material. simao is one of the key figures in benfica's splendid run in the champions league, definitely one of the young stars to watch in this competition. definitely quarter final material.

holland is known as the number two team in the world cup. upon reaching two consecutive final, in 1974 and 1978, they lost to 2-1 to the then host west germany in 1974 and lost again to the then host argentina in 1978 by 3 goals to 1. the holland of today is a blend of veteran stars and rising stars. veteran stars in the likes of ruud van nistelrooy and phillip cocu along side young and rising stars such as arjen robben, van persie, van der vaart, dirk kuyt and hedwiges maduro. the blend is like deadly cocktail and proved successful in their world cup qualifying campaign.
i can see them at least reaching the quarters and more.

france, the fallen champions of 1998. after their disasterous campaign in korea and japan, they are now looking to rise again in germany. with big star names like henry, trezeguet, vieira, giuly, makelele and zidane, they are a force to be reckoned with. at least a quarter final spot if possible.

italy, a team playing italian style defensive football, is going to be a hard nut to crack with nesta, cannavaro and materazzi in defense. buffon, the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, is like a wall in goal and his performance with juventus has always been consistent, letting in very little goals. though a defensive team in nature, the attacking force of italy has always been deadly as well. with totti, del piero and gilardino, their attacking is not to be underestimated. i can see a quarter final or more with this year's italy.

next there's spain. they're one of the football giants of the world, but yet to win a world cup. maybe this year's gonna be their year? it is likely. with their attack spearheaded by raul, fernando torres, david villa, luis garcia, joaquin, xabi alonso and reyes, their chances of reaching the semis are highly likely.

germany, the hosts, automatically becomes one of the favourites. the advantage for germany is that they're playing at home, which is an enormous advantage, considering korea and japan's success in their world cup last time. of course, they're not just relying on this advantage to win the world cup. big names such as lucas podolski, miroslav klose, michael ballack, bernt schneider, bastian sweinsteiger and oliver neuville will definitely greatly boost their chances to win the world cup. expect a very good performance from germany, at least reaching the semis.

lastly there's argentina. one look at their list of players for the world cup will definitely tell you that argentina is full of star studded players. over the years, argentina has produced some of the greatest players in the history of football including maradona and mario kempes. today's argentina is no different from the past. there's big names like aimar, crespo, saviola, riquelme, tevez, sorin, ayala, heinze and the most promising young player in the world right now, lionel messi. messi is described as the next maradona from the big names of the past. he's a definite player to watch during the world cup. expect a semi final for argentina if they do well.

that's all for my preview of the world cup. now go prepare all your snacks!!! the world cup's gonna begin soon!

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