Review of "World Cup 2010"
I came on ciao to write and be published. It seems most wrote for money after-all. Well there is no money in writing and a vocation
England were the only home nation to represent Britain in the last two World Cups, 1978 and Scotland the last time that happened. Wales, N.Ireland and Scotland have less and less chance of ever qualifying again as fewer and fewer of their lads play in the top leagues, England heading the same way if they don't act fast to reduce the number of foreign players (and managers who prefer those players) in the premiership. I'm not taking about dumping the Torres's and Drogba's but the lesser foreign names that are equal to our English lads and so denying domestic first team starts in the premiership. This is not the only reason Scotland wont qualify for the next ten World Cups but it's the biggest, a cheap Ghanaian wingback now preferred over a brave young Scottish defender in the SPL. This has to stop in all British leagues. 17 English guys play in European leagues yet 200 of their guys play here.Now that the tournaments nearly over and the biggest players in the world, according to that Nike advert, are out by the Quarter-Finals, that lavish commercial disappearing rather quick from the worlds screens after Ronaldo sulked and spat his way off the field after his dreadful World Cup, here are my players of the tournament, many competing for the prestigious 'Golden Ball' award for the player of the World Cup. There's no substitute for talent but there's also no substitute for hype and so the Nike advert players don't feature much. The England players certainly don't.
Of the eight so-called super stars pictured with each group on my wall chart all but three are left, the curse continuing there, and only two of them still performing in the World Cup. To celebrate the fact that Messi is clearly not as good as Maradona and Argentina are out, I'm listing my World Cup dream team that have managed to live up to the hype and will be on the wall chart next World Cup because of their performances here. I'm happy to say there will be no Ronaldo or Kaka in this list as it's not a poser's eleven.-GKP-
Richard Kingson (Ghana)How can you not love Kingson, a raw but agile keeper that was prepared to save the ball with just about any part of his body if it helped his national team progress. His enthusiasm was amazing and he pulled off some great saves, he the main reason they made the quarter-finals. They wee great to watch and Kingson expressed that rawness and passion (and naivety) African football is famous for.
Alongside Juan, the Brazilian captain has been immense in the team over the last two years, a centre-back pairing that looked almost impenetrable, until North Korea cut them wide open to score a lovely goal and the first hint it would not be Brazil's year. He will head a fridge and hoof it with the best of them when needed and always up for the corners. But his real strength is the ability to come out with the ball and get an attack going, something England can only dream about. He is almost the perfect centre back.-CB-
Ramos (Spain)The complete centre-back for me and why Spain are almost impregnable. He is there at the heart of the defence but quickly powering down the middle to lift any pressure on his goal when required. Even with hair in his eyes he is able to head anything away at any angle. Spain's fullbacks are their weakness yet Ramos and Puyol are out wide clearing up their mess with apparent ease. And in that Spain ethos of pass...pass...pass...these boys can pass...pass...pass...!
Podolski (40 goals in 78 matches) and Klose (52 goals in 100 games) had scored just seven goals between them in the Bundaslega but once they pull on the national shirt they are a team and have scored seven between them in just five World Cup games in South Africa. Lahm is in my team as the captain more than the defender and his ability, along with Joachim Louw, their exciting coach, to lead and inspire is the name of the game in international football. John Terry is in that class but he was a naughty boy and now the England team's legs are jelly, but Germany just seems to rise above in-house squabbles and get results. They haven't finished below England since 1966 and failed to make the semi's just three times since 1966. They took that Wembley defeat to never forget where as we sat back on our laurels and loured the 66 team. Lahm may not be a great defender but that leadership gene is embedded in his make up.
Brazil can defend as well as attack and this fellow does both, bombing up and down the right side of the park like a greyhound chasing a stick for his master. He covers some serious yards and whips in crosses and passes as well as he clears up his business at the back with elegant ease for a defender. I didn't see him put a foot wrong until Holland dumped them out and sure to be back in 2014 for his home World Cup.-MF-
Andres Iniesta (Spain)For a tiny winger this guy spends a lot of time in font of the 18-yard-box, weaving intricate patters with Xavi and Villa that would even bamboozle Dan Brown. He is an amazing player to watch as his control is so good that he expects anyone he passes it to at pace to have the same control, which Puyol and Capdevilla don't quite have. He has a clever shot on him that bends both ways and can also bomb the wings and work the angles on the edge of the box. Marking him must be a nightmare. Top player.
Schwienstieger (Germany)That engrained German psyche of arrogance meets confidence is what Schwienstieger is all about. He has been immense this tournament and driven by that total belief that Germany are kings of the world in football and beyond he has been that Keiser. Bastion has completely bossed the midfield and pinged passes in from all angles for Klose to hit his record 14th World Cup goal and earned three assist for young Muller, Klose now just one behind the great Gerd Muller. It's the fact a very ordinary striker like Klose can get 14 goals that mean this guy is so good. His forging jinking runs and the ability to set that fast German counter-attack pace that has most surprised football pundits is paying off big time and alongside Podolski they are insatiable in devastating teams not set up to hold that pace and width. Bastian Schwienstieger is my player of the tournament, the 'Golden Ball' winner.
Xavi (Spain)You have to have a holding player in front of the defence and behind the midfield in international football. But Spain play two, Alonso alongside this guy, both sweeping behind their outstanding attacking midfielders. Xavi just doesn't give the ball away and can ghost through the middle of the park and be twenty yards out looking at the shot or a dink into Villa or Torres before you know it. He has been very impressive and the reasons why Barcelona have made two straight Champions League Finals. He is Spain's Zindane right now and really excels in the Spaniards 'ticky tacky' style of fast passing to man marked players, moving the ball at 100 mph in those triangles. You have to be very good to even play that style, let alone in a World Cup against such varied opposition.
Sneidjer (Holland)It's controversial but Holland seemed settled as a team because they are all one colour this year, and it's not orange. There's always been in-fighting in the national team and many say it's due to racism. This team is all white and in the final, and a home tie too for the creators of the modern metropolis South Africa is.
Holland have raced up on the fence in 2010 and done just enough to win each game, now on a 22 match unbeaten run going into their semi. They can step up the pace when needed and find the goal. But for me Sneidjer has been a revelation, a player I don't know much about. He makes the ball dance on his laces and can move the play from one side of the pitch to another in an instant. I have never really seen this level of confidence before in a Dutch player since the likes of Van Basten and Rudd Gullet. With a great shot and the ability to get right into the box with powerful runs he really looks like a player that's going to break Dutch records and could still lift the World Cup, level top scorer this tournament. England need this man in their team.
Robben (Holland)Quite simply the best winger in the world for me and Chelsea's biggest mistake to let him go. Devastating pace and footballs most accurate shot, this guy can turn a game in moments. He is an old style winger that can hug the touch lines and get it in from the by-line, the low pulled back cross always the most devastating. Yes he dives and feigns injuries but sadly that's what you have to do to make World Cup Finals in the modern game. He is still the business out wide though, also willing to come inside and get the full-backs on yellow cards and so terrorise them thereafter, forcing the opposing manger to make an early change.
Ozil (Germany)The Germans have used their Under 21 system well, rushing through guys into the national team if they have it, regardless of their league form or experience, and it works very very well. Many of this squad are the U21 team that recently beat England 4-0. We have only Hart in England's squad in South Africa. The Germans see international football as a different beast all together to what we-England-do. Ozil has come through because he is ready and England Under 21 lads just don't get that chance, let alone get to play in their first teams in the Premiership and even the championship. Managers don't like to risk young players as they are in the results business and so buy older or foreign players with that experience to get those results. Ozil is fearless as he is quick, impish and clever, and born to Turkish parents, the Germany policy of playing foreign born players catching everyone on the hop, perhaps an apology of sorts by the Germans for their troubled past. Ozil's value just went up three fold.
-FWD-David Villa (Spain)
Spain's incredible record of one defeat in 45 games going into the World Cup is partly down to this fella, the best striker I have seen in the World Cup since Van Basten. He has that Linekeresque ability to snaffle important goals in tight games and Spain's impressive and exaggerated passing style eventually leads to a chance for this guy, which he has taken pretty much every one. Maybe Germany will get the better of them with their expansive game, pace and size but if this guy gets a sniff it will be in the net tonight. Two footed strikers at international level are invaluable and if he and Fabregas go to Barcelona to join Messi and co then that team will be invincible. What a player!Messi (Argentina)
Although he didn't score in this World Cup he did look good at what he does, no better player running with the ball into dangerous areas and getting a shot off than Messi. But he doesn't like passing and so a lot of those chances go astray. No man can beat every player on the pitch unless he is Maradona, the monkey on Messi's back, that particular bearded genius on the sidelines watching on. 50 goals for Barcelona is fabulous but Rooney and Ronaldo did similar in the last year but nothing much in World Cup. You have to be a team man with passion to be a great player at the very top level. Messi seems to earn a quadrant of the pitch but rarely leaves it. He is still a fabulous player though!Manager
Joachim Louw (Germany)The 50-year-old coach is not only known for his ober touchline fashion sense but brilliant tactical coaching, and not only that but he brags about how he does it in press conferences with likeable hubris. After managing six Austrian/German league teams in 6 years (with little notable success) he made the Stuart Pearce style step up to assistant manger of Germany to Klinsman for World Cup 2006. Getting the national job for Euro 2008 he took Germany to the final and may repeat that in South Africa.
To get to the Spain semi-final he had the small task of beating Argentina and he didn't it with real nouse. He admitted he couldn't go two-on-two with Messi and Tevez so sacrificed his wide defensive guys to come in and go tight on Messi, forcing Argentina out wide and the ball away from Messi, meaning they could stretch the play if they got the ball back, which they did, scoring 4 great goals. Its one of the greatest wins ever in World Cup and Louw was the architect.
- - - Golden Boot - - -
Sniedjer (HOL) 5 goals
Higuain (ARG) 4 Goals
Klose (GER) 4 Goals
Muller (GER) 4 Goals
Vittek (SVK) 4 Goals
L/B Cole (Eng)
CB Puyol (Spain)
MF/ Podbolski (Germany)
MF/ Boateng (Ghana)
Summary: It's a Klose call but Schweinstieger gets it!
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