World Cup Provisional Squads Announced- South Africa 2010

Well a few surprises were in store yesterday when national team managers named their World Cup Squads for the tournament that begins in a month in South Africa.  Lets quickly go through some of the “bigger” nations.  Those who are thought to compete for the title, and US.


The 30 called up, to be narrowed down to 23 by next month are:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolves)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham)

Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Monchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Jose Torres (Pachuca)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla), Eddie Johnson (Aris Thessaloniki).

No Charlie Davies of course, as he is not yet fit after the horrific accident in October that almost cost him his life.  The 3 called up keepers will definitely go.  That is where the US strength is.  And those 3 are not far apart in terms of talent, but Tim Howard of Everton and an ex Manchester United player, will start if healthy.  Defence is a bit of a worry.  Leftback is weak no matter who plays.  Right back is no prize either.  Spector, another United reject, can be very good on his day, but those do not happen often enough.  The centre of the defence is a worry as well.  Bocanegra was always a solid player, but his regular partner Oneywu just came of a long term injury and has hardly played at all this season for Milan.

What will coach Bradley do in the middle of the pitch is another question.  US will most likely play 4-5-1.  But will the three midfielders be defensive or attacking?  Michael Bradley is the one most likely to start, and not because of nepotism, he truly earned his place.  His partners are a bit of a question mark.  Will Edu play alongside with him?  Or will it be Holden?  Perhaps all three?  What is likely to happen is Beasly playing out wide.  However I would rather the US play someone like Torres to support the attack.  Not likely though.  Landon Donovan will also start, in support of the lone striker, likely to be Jozy Altidore.  The other supporting attacker will be Clint Dempsey who did very well this season at Fulham.  The player I would like to see left out are Ching, who I do not know why he was called up.  Gomez should be given a shot, as should Buddle who has been on fire for the Galaxy.  Either way, the US will have a tough task getting out of the group.  Anything beyond 3 and out should be considered a success.


England’s 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup finals:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham).

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa).

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Scott Parker (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City).

Forwards: Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

So, Fabio named his players.  The 30 will also narrowed down to 23.  Everything was going right for England last fall.  They qualified in style, they were scoring for fun, their midfield was working, their defence solid.  Then everything started going pear shaped.  Beckham got injured and will miss the World Cup.  Now he might not have been a starter but his presence alone would have been good for the team.  Then Mr Chelsea himself turned out to be a complete and utter prat and lost his Captaincy.  There was even talk of Terry being banned from the team altogether.  Wayne Bridge announced he would not play for England is Terry was on the team.  Then injuries hit, Glenn  Johnson, Ashley Cole, Ferdinand, Rooney, Barry now, Lennon, and others.  Now there are question marks.  But lets get to the call ups:

Interesting.  Jamie Carragher convinced to come out of international retirement.  King of Totenham called up.  The man has two very bad knees, he hardly trains, is injury prone, but is still on of England’s top defenders.  With Rio Ferdinand’s injury worries, the England defence could get thin and fast.  Not sure who Fabio will start in goal, the very experienced James or the very good Hart.  I would play Hart, he lacks the experience but he has been brilliant all season.  On defence, if everyone is healthy there will be no shocks.  Johnson at RB, Rio Ferdinand the Captain and Terry in the middle, and Ashley Cole at LB

The midfield is a bit weird.  Capello likes to play both Gerrard and Lampard together, but if he is to play 2 up front then Gerrard might be on the bench, or out of position on the left.  Personally I would bench Gerrad, as he was shocking this season for Liverpool.  I would play Barry or Parker with Lampard and have Milner on the left.  And I would play the novice Johnson on the right ahead of Aaron Lennon.  I think Johnson brings more to the game, he is more creative, can defend, unlike Lennon, and is just a better player.  But he might not even go as his call up was not certain.  The shock is the call up of Shaun Wright Phillips who lost his place at City to Johnson.  How he is called up and Ashley Young not is beyond me, I guess Fabio does not like Young.  Carrick is also a bit of a surprise, he has played enough games for England and they are not too rich in the central defensive department, but Carrick has been very poor all season.  So not sure he should play or even go.

Up front we have another dilemma.  Defoe has been scoring a lot of goals this season, not many lately, but he is not the player who will start with Rooney.  Rooney’s injuries are a worry, but he starts if he can stand.  His partner is a question mark.  Fabio, for some strange reason really likes Heskey.  And it sort of works, but Heskey is not the player many would pick.  Darren Bent deserves a chance at least in the friendlies to show what he can do.  Crouch is destined to be on the bench I think.  Its likely that Fabio will take 4 strikers so the likely odd one out is either Heskey or Bent.

England are going to South Africa to win it all.  Anything less than a semi-final will be considered a failure.  A medal will be a good campaign for them, the gold and being crowned Champions of the World will be the promised land.

Update:  News Just came out that John Terry got injured in training and may miss the WC, depending on scan results, a foot injury is reported.


Brazil squad: Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Doni (AS Roma), Gomes (Tottenham Hotspur)

Defenders: Maicon (Inter Milan), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Michel Bastos (Olympique Lyon), Gilberto (Cruzeiro), Lucio (Inter Milan), Juan (AS Roma), Luisao (Benfica), Thiago Silva (AC Milan)

Midfielders: Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos), Felipe Melo (Fiorentina), Ramires (Benfica), Elano (Galatasaray), Kaka (Real Madrid), Julio Baptista (Roma), Kleberson (Flamengo), Josue (VfL Wolfsburg).

Forwards: Robinho (Santos), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Nilmar (Villarreal), Grafite (VfL Wolfsburg).

Dunga, the former Captain of the World Cup 1994 winning side is doing things differently, he named only 23 players with 7 stand bys to be added.  Hmm.  No two time World Player of the Year Ronaldinho, no Ronaldo.  Dunga is banking on his kind of players.  Hell the former WC winner and United reject Kleberson got a call up.  Its a gutsy move not to call up Ronaldinho, Dunga will of course be criticized for it by everyone in Brazil, but its his job on the line, so its best to do it your way.  Cesar will likely start in goal, he is one of he best keepers in the world, a usual weakness of Brazil is now their strength.  Left back on the other hand is not so great.  No more of Cafu and Carlos on the flanks.  Now they have Maicon and Alves, except that they both play the same position.  But Maicon is much better than the overrated Alves, he is as good (better IMO) an attacker, but he can actually defend unlike his Barcelona counterpart.  Lucio is a shoe in for the middle, with Juan likely to be his partner.

In the middle is where we might see something different.  Melo has been rather disappointing for Juventus.  But Diego who did not get a call up was much better.  However he plays a role similar to Kaka so he wasn’t going to play anyway.  But its likely Melo and Gilberto Silva will start in the middle, With Kaka, Robinho and Elano supporting Fabiano?

Perhaps.  Its Dunga’s job on the line.  He is going to South Africa to win the World Cup.  But in Brazil just winning is not enough, it must be won Brazilian style.  However this team does not play like the 1982 Brazil.  Its closer to the 94 side.  In 94 they won but did not play Joga Bonito.  In 82 they did, but did not win.  Dunga wants to win.  He will do it his way, and will be criticised for it whatever the outcome.

My next instalment will have Germany, France and Argentina as well as Spain.


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