Eddie Murray's Insight into the World Cup


As K’naan waxes lyrical with Waving Flag, the official song to usher us into the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa, flags of a pale white colour mournfully fly at half mast in various countries around the planet.

Ronaldinho and Adriano of Brazil, Adler, Ballack, Westermann and Roples of Germany, Ferdinand and Beckham of England, Essien of Ghana, Diarra of France, Bosingwa and Nani of Portugal, Obi Mikel of Nigeria, Cardozo of Paraguay. Possibly Drogba of the Ivory Coast, Robben of the Netherlands and Pirlo of Italy.

What a squad this collection of superstars would make if selected for the same side. Alas, they are a roll call of greats whom we may have to fore-go as we feast our eyes on a smorgasbord of footballing talent in the Greatest Show On Earth.

Tendons, bones, ligaments and joints have succumbed to the stresses and strains which so often conspire to deny us the chance to see some of the best players in the modern game- and on the biggest stage. Non selection for the first two put the emphasis on the chosen and the abilities on offer. However, The Show Must Go On!

Go on it WILL and if my predictions are correct, we will see Dunga’s Brazil drape themselves around the magnificently sculpted gold trophy on the 11th of July in Johannesburg.

The coach has amassed a squad reminiscent of the class of ’70 although not as talented – there’s a mixture of steel, discipline and samba skill. This incumbent believes in modern methodology and is tactically aware. His side know where the back of the net is and with Kaka, Elano, Robinho and Fabiano all capable of genius, they expect to bring the “Hexa” home.

Portugal and the Ivory Coast should provide stiff competition in the early stages but if Didier Drogba stays at home and with the brilliant Nani out, life will become a little easier for Brazil. North Korea will not win a match and should be discarded with ease.

Brazil SHOULD be preceded on the trophy rostrum by runners-up Spain, who have a relatively easy group to overcome. If they are to realise their ambition to emulate France and become World Champions whilst in possession of the European title, they will see off the Swiss, Honduras and Chile before making headway towards a meeting with the big boys.

Laden with such footballing treasures as Fernando Torres, David Villa, Silva, Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol, they should be too strong and inventive for most. Cesc Fabragas is in the middle of a tug-of-war between Arsenal and Barcelona for his services and is not guaranteed a starting berth in South Africa.

Diego at home

Argentina could win it. Again, armed with a plethora of diamonds in the ranks, the permutations are endless. Mascherano, Tevez, goal machine Milito and the world’s greatest entertainer, Lionel Messi. They will have to play as a team instead of individuals though! Only a fool would disregard them as genuine contenders for the crown.

They had a tough run in with the qualifiers and only just made it by the skin of their teeth. They did however, make it and are primed to put on a show and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the naked Diego Maradona run through the streets of Buenos Aires as he promised, should they hold the coveted trophy aloft on the 11th.

He may even indulge in some more “line” dancing. Lets hope it’s Brazil!!!

Argentina look likely semi-finalists where they could be playing off for third/fourth place against any one of Germany, Holland, England or Portugal.

Germany as ever will be teutonic, methodical etcetera and should provide the perennial drive and dynamism they are famous for. Schweinsteiger, Klose, Muller and Podolski are all superstars in their own right but I don’t believe the Germans will have enough in their locker to go further than the quarters. They should entertain us though as they always do. Apparently, Jurgan Klinnsmann offered the squad his home to relax in after the games but they declined as they thought it was a dive!!

So onto a gifted Dutch side. With Van Bommel, Kuyt, Sneijder, Van Persie and Huntelaar on display, they may cause a surprise and snatch a top 4 berth. They are keenly aware of their failure to vault the last hurdle in this tournament and that may serve to galvanise them into showing the world what they are capable of.

Van der Vaart is touting his way to Old Trafford and the chance to showcase his undoubted skill in front of Sir Alex may bring out the best in him. I love to see them in full flow and I’m sure the South African public will give them a warmer than usual welcome-they may even become the second home team out there with the “accent” on hospitality. The only downfall is that their strip breaks your telly.

Portugal should take second spot in their group and I expect them to be still smarting from losing the Euro final to a Greek side containing Sotirios Kyrgiakos! Joking aside, with another world class wonder in Christiano Ronaldo, team mates, Simao, Deco and Tiago should have the desire to raise their game sufficiently to forget their cumulative ages and put on a display worthy of European finalists.

They can flatter to deceive but can also set the pulses racing with their quick feet and minds. Being Portuguese, one can only hope they don’t “chicken” out. Getting out of the group stages will be treacherous but if they do, they may go on to surprise even themselves. Good to watch.

Coming soon, England, there will always be an England, part two of Eddie’s World Cup preview, after extra-time and penalties of course.

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  • Wee Minsky says:

    Zat you famous noo Waard?!

    Love you brother. Even ma da was ravin about your efforts last night nd all I could think of was the kettle incident..oh how the tide has turned.

  • Hope this young writer continues to inspire.
    Where has he been? Undoubtedly a breath of fresh air in today’s world of journalism and reporting factually.

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