The Welsh Gull

Torquay United, the Football League and other stuff

2010 World Cup Squads Overview – Part 1

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So now that all the squads have been declared, the rejected players notified and the squad numbers decided on, here is an overview of each side’s selection:

South Africa

Trump Card: Steven Pienaar – the Everton midfielder is by far and away the Bafana Bafana’s most gifted player, and they will be looking to him for inspiration

Wild Card: Bernard Parker – the former Red Star Belgrade striker didn’t play much of a part in FC Twente’s Eredivisie-winning season but has 9 goals in 29 international appearances, including 2 in the Confederations Cup

Notable Absentee: Benni McCarthy – the veteran striker has been left out by Carlos Alberto Parreira due to a lack of fitness

Mexico

Trump Card: Rafael Marquez – the Barcelona man will lead his country for a third World Cup in a row, either from centre-back or in front of the defence

Wild Card: Cuauhtemoc Blanco – at the age of 37, the inventor of the bunny hop returns, but does he have it in him to help Mexico to the latter stages?

Notable Absentee: Jonathan dos Santos – the young Barcelona midfielder’s exclusion could yet have a greater impact as brother Giovani has now threatened to walk out

Uruguay

Trump Card: Diego Forlan – one of the best strikers playing in Europe today, he led Atletico Madrid to Europa League glory this year

Wild Card: Nicolas Lodeiro – the highly-rated Ajax midfielder is cited by many pundits as a potential star of the tournament

Notable Absentee: Cristian Rodriguez – the Porto winger missed out despite having 36 caps to his name

France

Trump Card: Franck Ribery – the man who emerged to help turn around France’s fortunes last time is back for more in South Africa

Wild Card: Yoann Gourcuff – another highly-rated playmaker to watch out for, said by some to be the heir to Zidane

Notable Absentee: Patrick Viera – no recall and no 4th World Cup for the veteran, who played an important role in Germany

Argentina

Trump Card: Lionel Messi – some say he killed a leopard with his bare feet, and that he once played a ball so accurate that it broke the space-time continuum

Wild Card: Diego Milito – despite all those goals for Inter this year, he’s never quite cut it at international level…so far

Notable Absentee: Esteban Cambiasso – the balding holding midfielder who finished off one of the greatest World Cup goals ever last time out was a surprise omission…but actually is anything really a surprise with Maradona at the helm?

Nigeria

Trump Card: Mikel John Obi – nobody knows in what order to put his name but they all know he’s a very good player

Wild Card: Obafemi Martins – the leader of a star-studded Nigerian attack, but will he and his colleagues find the net against some tough Group B defences

Notable Absentee: Ikechukwu Uche – brother Kalu is in, but the Zaragoza striker is out having only recently recovered from a serious knee injury that kept him out for most of the season

South Korea

Trump Card: Park Ji-Sung – the Manchester United midfielder, a goalscorer in 2006, is now at his peak at 29

Wild Card: Lee Chung-Yong – the talented Bolton winger is one of the next generation of South Korean players

Notable Absentee: Seol Ki-Hyeon – one of the heroes of 2002 is out through injury

Greece

Trump Card: Theofanis Gekas – the top scorer in UEFA qualifiers and an interesting addition to a team still based around a core of Euro 2004 winners

Wild Card: Georgios Samaras – the Celtic striker has been somewhat of an enigma at international level thus far, with just 5 goals in over 30 appearances

Notable Absentee: Ioannis Amanatidis – Otto Rehhagel has decided he does not need the experience of the Eintracht Frankfurt striker

England

Trump Card: Wayne Rooney – for England to go as far as they hope, they need their biggest star to be fit and on top form

Wild Card: Peter Crouch – Rooney’s likely strike partner has a formidable international goalscoring record, but most of his goals have come against minnows; will his awkward presence really threaten the best defenders in the world?

Notable Absentee: David Beckham – ignore the omissions this week, the real big name not to be going…is actually going after all as one of the coaching staff, but you get the picture

USA

Trump Card: Landon Donovan – made an impact in 2002, in the Confederations Cup last year, and on his arrival in the Premiership this year

Wild Card: Jozy Altidore – another Haitian-born striker who, like Joe Gaetjens all those years ago, will be looking to lead to disbelieving journalists to misprint scorelines again

Notable Absentee: Charlie Davies – the Sochaux striker has not yet recovered sufficiently from his car crash injuries to earn a recall

Algeria

Trump Card: Madjid Bougherra – the former Charlton centre-back has been a key stabilising force in the Rangers defence in recent years

Wild Card: Karim Ziani – one of the few flair players in the Algerian side, the French-born winger had a poor season for Wolfsburg this year

Notable Absentee: Hameur Bouazza – a key figure in Blackpool’s promotion season but surprisingly left out of the final Algerian squad

Slovenia

Trump Card: Milivoje Novakovic – the Cologne striker was key to Slovenia’s surprise qualification with 5 goals

Wild Card: The whole team – to be honest, I don’t know enough about these guys to single anyone out, but beating Russia in the play-offs surely marks them all out as a potential dark horse for the group

Notable Absentee: None

Germany

Trump Card: Bastian Schweinsteiger – with Ballack out, the sizeable weight of German expectation has been thrust onto the shoulders of Bayern’s blonde attacker

Wild Card: The German strikeforce as a whole – most of the strikers selected have either been out of form or out of favour at their clubs, including the great goalpoacher Miroslav Klose

Notable Absentee: Michael Ballack – the Chelsea midfielder and German captain heads a long injury list

Australia

Trump Card: Tim Cahill – the Everton star and scorer of Australia’s first 2 World Cup goals is at the heart of the midfield for club and country

Wild Card: Joshua Kennedy – one of those awkward strikers in the Crouch mould who could be hit or miss on the biggest stage

Notable Absentee: Archie Thompson – a severe knee injury ended the Melbourne Victory striker’s chances of selection

Serbia

Trump Card: Dejan Stankovic – a Serie A star, first with Lazio and now with Inter, will lead his country from the midfield

Wild Card: Vladimir Stojkovic – panned in the Premiership, the Wigan ‘keeper and national number 1 could prove to be hero or villain

Notable Absentee: Ivica Dragutinovic – the experienced Sevilla defender misses out due to injury

Ghana

Trump Card: Sulley Muntari – a Champions League winner this year with Inter, the former Portsmouth midfielder inherits the mantle of Ghana’s World Cup star man

Wild Card: Dominic Adiyiah – the highly rated AC Milan striker was the star of Ghana’s U-20 World Cup triumph last year

Notable Absentee: Michael Essien – they didn’t miss him at the ACoN but they may miss him with the step-up in quality in South Africa

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Written by James Bennett

June 3, 2010 at 12:48

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