When the World Cup comes around, as a football fan, I want to see the best players on the planet on show. Coaches of national teams can pick 23 names for their respective squads, so you would think they would have enough chances to get it right.
However, glancing at the team sheets of some of the contenders, there are many stars missing and I am not happy about it. Furthermore, some omissions will be the reason why some of these teams will fail in South Africa.
Let´s start with Brazil. The five-time champions have probably the best defensive unit in their history heading into a World Cup, featuring a stellar goalkeeper in Julio Cesar and players like Maicon, Lucio and Daniel Alves. However, in attack, there is a shortage of creativity, speed and flair, and coach Dunga is to blame.
The omission of Alexandre Pato is baffling to me. Sure, the young forward was injured for a large part of the season and just now returned to full fitness. However, even with all the time he spent on the sidelines, the AC Milan standout still scored 14 goals in 30 games. If I was picking Brazil´s squad he would be one of the first names on the team sheet. He offers something no one else on the team has and, make no mistake about it, he will be missed.
Brazil´s fierce South American rivals Argentina also left behind some notable names.
It is always easy to pick on Diego Maradona, isn´t it? However, there is no question that European Champions League winners Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso should both be traveling to South Africa.
Maradona´s team has plenty of talent, but would have benefited from some extra experience and class. Zanetti and Cambiasso were ever-present for Jose Mourinho´s Internazionale this season and would have been invaluable assets at the World Cup.
Zanetti can play anywhere across defense and midfield, while Cambiasso is one of the best midfielders on the planet. Even if he would be playing second fiddle to captain Javier Mascherano, Cambiasso would still have been an important player for Los Albicelestes. Plus, there is no reason why he could not play alongside Mascherano. Especially considering Juan Sebastian Veron may be the other starting central midfielder.
Let´s dissect the picks of another controversial coach, Raymond Domenech. As if to rile the French public's dislike of him further, the coach of Les Bleus decided to leave out the nation´s most exciting forward, Karim Benzema.
Is he overweight? Yes. Did he have a great season with Real Madrid? No. However, some of the other strikers going to South Africa didn´t set the world alight either and Benzema still has the talent that can change the game at any time, even coming on as a late substitute. Domenech definitely missed a trick here and will pay the price. Up front, France will rely too much on a man who doesn´t have either the work rate nor motivation to lead the line, Thierry Henry.
Defending World Cup champions Italy also left behind a couple of potential game winners. Antonio Cassano is the obvious example of this. I understand Marcello Lippi believes the Sampdoria forward can be a disruptive influence on the team, and up until this season, I would have agreed with him. However, Cassano is a changed man. His serious relationship with an Italian swimmer has made him more content and mature and there is no doubt he would have been a key player for a side that relies too much on older legs and established names. Cassano would have been a breath of fresh air that could have inspired the Azzuri to an extended stay in South Africa. Without him, I don´t see them making it past the round of 16.
So those are my views concerning a quartet of traditional World Cup contenders, that this time around will be coming back from FIFA´s showpiece event empty-handed. For a competition like this, you have to take your best men. And in my opinion, none of these teams are doing that.
One final thought... I really hope Fabio Capello takes Joe Cole to South Africa. He is an extremely talented player and would add a dimension that England certainly don´t have – someone who can dribble and play between the lines, someone who can beat a defender one-on-one. And every team needs that.
Hi, I'm from Argentina and gotta say that here most people agree with Maradona's choices, and most other coaches would've chosen the same team
the difference is that Zanetti played for Argentina on the last four world cups and he's seen as a representative of those failures, Cambiasso is also on the dog house with most people here, especially for his badly missed penalty on the last world cup against Germany and for his lack of attitude for a central midfielder of the national team
if he had selected Cambiasso and Zanetti you would be writing about how Dimaria or Maxi Rodriguez or Jonas Gutierrez were left out, these are all world class players and there's more, here the problem is not whom to call, it's whom to left out, it's always the same
the only absence that would be on South Africa now if the coach was someone else is Riquelme, probably the most elegant player in the world
WHERE IS TOTTI??? HE'S THE BEST!!
PLEASE let's not forget Germany's Manager Joachim Loew decision against taking Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi to the World Cup. It is true Kuryani walked out during the half time break of a game against Russia and went to back to the hotel a few years ago, but he was watching the games from the stands! Also he apologized in public for his actions. Above all, the current forwards Gomez and Klose were not so bright against Hungary a few days ago. Germany doesn't stand a chance without lethal strikers in this particular world cup.
Alexandre Pato had many opportunities in the Brazilian team during the qualifying, but in all matches he didn't play well. He definitely wasn't focused on the World Cup. As if not enough, he is dealing with personal problems, a divorce, and was injured during the most part of the last season. By the other hand, the Brazilian attack is not convincing.
zanetti apparently had a fallout wiht maradona at the begining of his coaching – he challenged his strategy right on the pitch inviting other players to follow his command rather than maradona's. cambiasoo is his best buddy who does similar stuff at inter too.
benzema was responsible for the rift between older and young players in the french squad in the last world cup.
brazil has enough of the attacking options to which pato would not add anything.
cassano is still a risk, less of a risk but a risk. although that's the least clear decision of the listed ones.
Where is Ronaldinho? Futbol fans deserve the best!!!
Well... Seems like you want to see an All-Stars teams fight it off.
Having the biggest stars does not means you have the best team.
I hardly think a good national team manager would get some player just because he has name but is not in a reliable condition or have never been in a national match before. Oh yeah you must also think on how the player will interact with the rest of the crew and how easily he can adapt to your strategy.
It's not as easy as saying: "Get the best ranked players by popularity and just drop them on the field, they will take care of it".
I also find it funny how you underrate many of the players that got in, they didn't really pick up the worst players available like you make it sound like.
Africa best midfielder Micheal Essien will also be missed.
I gotta say that Dunga, the Brazilian couch is a stubborn. He didn't select Ronaldinho Gaucho, AC Milan player; Paulo Henrique Ganso, Santos player; Hernandez, São Paulo player, and even Adriano, Flamengo player, who was the Brazilian best striker last season and also won the Brazilian championship.
Dunga selected Graffiti, a striker that played just five minutes in a match. He also selected the horrible goal kipper Doni, injured a large part of the season, he also selected Jousé, Julio Baptista and Kleberson, these guys are really bad players, they should never be part of the team. Here in Brazil, most of us disagree the way he manages the Brazilian squad.
Pato hasnt been a decisive player which is what Brazil needs. The only thing I can agree on is Joe Cole
What about Nasri in the french squad ??? he is the most creative midfielder,besides Fabregas, in the Arsenal squad!!! It's still hard for to see that this guy isn't going to the W.C. specially since Gourcouff didn't have a brilliant campaign with Bordeaux
Totti is WAY overrated and has no class. There's no room on the pitch for him or his ego.
I think Dunga is right. He is a world champion and he got his team on his hands. We are 5 times world champions!!!
One of the most important player of interMilan was Milito. He scored twice in final championsleage, but will see the World Cup on TV. I'm from Italy and I'm not confident of some Italian players like Zambrotta and Cannavaro. It's very difficult to win again.
agree about Riquelme! although argentina is loaded with talent, to me, Riquelme is one of the best in the world at his position and should be a starter in S.A.
Those who love Argentina (like me) will truly miss Riquelme.
Everyone is talking about Brasil, Italy, Argentina, Germany, Spain, England, France... what about the Netherlands? First European country to qualify without losing a single point. And we will not bring Van ´the man´ Nistelrooij to the world cup.
With due respect, I feel you left out a big name in Ronaldinho. He's had a good season and it is quite unfair to leave him out. Kaka and Ronnie would have made a good pair operating things. In my opinion, no one has the sort of vision he has on a football pitch. If Robinho, who had to move to Santos, could make it to the team, why not the legend Ronaldinho? In the case of Pato, Ive seen him play quite a lot. He is good but I feel he is quite a selfish player or maybe, hasnt yet mastered the art of quick thinking on the field. I wouldn't rate him a great 'finisher'.
Where are van Nistelrooy en van der Sar?
I think it's too bold of a statement to say that just because Cambiasso or Zanetti aren't in the squad, Argentina has no shot. I think the mix of experienced players like Veron and Maxi Rodriguez, plus the starpower and maturity acquired by Messi and Milito, make Argentina as competitive as always. If anything, I think Maradona is the weak link on the team and his poor coaching skills may be the determining factor for the success of the team, in competitive matches. It is not the same being a good footballer as it is being a good coach (look at Hugo Sanchez in Mexico) and leaving out Riquelme, for example, was certainly an upfront poor coaching decision from an unexperienced coach.
Dunga is not a strategic minded coach. Dunga is an executor not a manager. His lack of vision, tactics and strategy will be the reasons of the Brazilian squad downfall. I would add Ronaldinho to your list of left outs.
I am very sorry for Brazil for not taking Pato with them. They surely will NOT win the world cup. Forget South Africa and 2010. what about Ronaldinho?????
They maybe some of the best players in the world, but if they cant fit with the rest of the team no point in having them. Its not a single player sport. The whole team has to work together
I think mostly your comments are spot on. But I think you exaggerate when you say that Italy wont make it past the last 16 just because they don't have Cassano. Lippi can choose from: Borriello, Di Natale, Gilardino, Iaquinta, Pazzini, Quagliarella and Rossi so it really isn't as bad as you say.
Most people didn't like Dunga's choices for the World Cup, I agree with most of his choices, but I think he should have taken Ronaldinho (Milan), Victor (Gremio – Best goalkeeper in Brazil for 3 years in a row) and Lucas (Liverpool)
Well as i brazilian , i have to say that overhere we didnt agree with Dunga, but he is a wise man,,we have achieved every tournament we played the last 3 years, i think numbers speaks for itself, Pato is a good player , and im not gonna deny it but,,watch Nilmar , he is faster and have better control with the ball, has the same body type as Pato , we have in Brazil the next star his name is Paulo Henrique Ganso just remember his name......look being brazilian is the best thing when it comes to soccer,,we have so many options that in time of world cup everyone becomes a critic,,well we are definetely winning this wolrd cup
You must watch the brazilian natioanl championship and you will see what else Dunga left out from World Cup. Here there are players like Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso that are better than Pato and also all players in attack of Dunga team..
As a footbal fan and as a frenchman I fully agree with Pedro Pinto 's comment about Benzema left out of the LES BLEUS squad.Karim is a talented player and will soon show the world and France the full array of his capabilities.It is a mess he wasn't included in the squad.
i dont think these players are necessary.Brazil,Argentina or England are still strong without them.Coach had long time to test their players, so i think they choose players who are the most suitable for their styles.For example, it's said that Dunga should call Ronaldinho after his performance in AC last season, but remember his show on WC 2006 after playing incredibly in Barca.Nobody need to be called or not, football is a game of 11 players.So, i think we should end the argument and enjoy a wonderful show coming.
Totti is not an asset to the Azuri he lacks top sport mentality and professionalism.
i would like to mention van Nistelrooy for the Dutch as one of the missing players. But they have some real good subs as well so it might be justified.
Ronaldhino... he has been great for ac milan this year and has gotten back into revived spirits and form...
That baffles me..
Can't agree more, especially Argentina. Who, with a sane mind, would leave out Cambiasso!!!!
I think Joe Cole is very like going to the World Cup. This is pretty much a "no brainer" choice. He is a proven winner and has regained his class and touch since his shocking injury. A great asset for the England team.
my concern is with ronaldinho.former FIFA world player of the year is definitely gonna miss dis mega event and rightly so.!why dunga didnt even considered him??i didnt saw the qualifiers1bt was he bad during it??
i agree 100% with what you said about maradona and argentina.leaving out players like zanetti cambiasso and riquelme is surely a shame because they are top class players and winners.
however i dont think that Italy will perform so badly that they wont make it to the final 16.upfront they are still as good as ever even without cassano and balotelli, and we have one of the best midfield with pirlo de rossi and i am very confident that arising stars marchisio and montolivo will take the spotlight at the world cup.
with brazil, i think dunga is being harshally criticised in vain because he left out ronaldinho and pato....he plays with robinho and luis fabiano as forwards with kaka as a trequartista......try and a find a team that is capable of stopping an attacking force like that!!
yes the ball is gonna start rolling on the 11th of june as an african i do agree wth most of the above comments but not impressed though by the fact that Mr Writer forgot to mention anything in or about the host continents teams ...lets leave this in the hands of the judges and maybe will meet inside the octagon...lol..
that being said i think S.A should hve manged to hve a place for bennie mcthy i feel he was playng realy well in england..
spain will miss raul.
DUNGA! The most incapable Manager. NO more Brazil because of DUNGA. He excluder best players like Ronaldhino,Ronaldo and others.
How can you expect Argetina to do well in the WC, when the coach is not fit to clean the streets, let alone coach an international team.
for me i almost removed my support for nigeria,one time africas pride in football.when lars,didn't take anichebe(everton)and kalu uche(zeragosa),well all d same is d only nation i have.so i give them my support.goodluck supereagles.
Hey Garoto, Ronaldhino and Ronaldo are gordhinos. They can't keep up with the pace of a World Cup.
I understand your sentiments, but managers have to pick the best team not the best group of individuals to win a World Cup. All the players you mention have duplicates within the squad that will be travelling to South Africa. None of them is a unique talent. Therefore, the fact that you may prefer one over another is just a subjective judgment, and, with due respect, the manager's experience and authority is far greater than that of any fan or journalist, so his is the opinion that counts.
Laryea Kingson from Ghana will be missed.
I think a number of players will be missed, its a shame as the worldcup should host the 32 best nations in the world with their stars. Anyway good luck too you all, Holland will conquer the trophy! Van Persie will surpise, Sneijder´s tactical balls will impress, Van der Vaart will make his assists, Robben his rushes and Van Bommel will control the midfield. You all are warned!
Ronaldinho should have been included into,the Brazilian team,says popular opinion in Brazil and the world over.Coach Dunga must know that the world cup is bigger than anyone involved in the game.In the face of growing concern over his misinclusions,one would probably notice that the national coach tended to exclude anyone who has flair on the team,just as he personally lacked flair,a known Brazilian football trait,just ask,Bebeto,Romario,el Fenomenon Ronaldo,Careca,Garincha,Dede,Friedenreich,Domingos de Guia,Heleno,Zizinho,Didi,Jairzinho,Tastao,and the greatest Pele.He tries to eliminate it.
Take note of this...The brazilian squad will win this world cup. A player can NOT play in a team like Brasil just with your name, you have to play hard, dedicate yourself a lot, even with all complains about the missing players we are the greatest squad of this world cup.
The comment you made about cassano , shows that you have no clue of soccer. In 2002 the netherlands did not go to the world cup because of players like cassano who don't listen and are no good for the team spirit
I'd like to turn this whole discussion around a bit. There's no point in talking about single football players missing, what we should really look forward in a world cup is who assembled the best team for winning. The article says Cassano should have been included in the Italian team, but it's very clear why coach Lippi excluded him, because alike Inter's Balottelli, he's not mature enough to play in a team and sacrifice his ego for winning a game, so the choice of the players has depended mostly on a group of people willing to stick together and help each other. I see how the comments are biased focusing their attention mostly on Premiers league and Barcelona players, they'll be surprised to see how there is a world of talented football players outside the 2 most money filled clubs in the world.
@Jur: Totti has always been an asset for the Azzurri. Lately he's playing very well and he's a natural leader for the team. I dont know what you are talking about when you say he lacks sport mentality, whatever that means to you.
just watch and see..Argentina sure flatten in the second stage or quarter final..there is no way they can progress further than that with this coach..really a pity with a whole bunch of talented and best player in the world..Messi, higuan definately will create plenty of havoc but the coach maradona just not up to the standard...
i will start with pato....there is no manager in the world dat would do without the likes of pato.dunga did dat coz he feels hez got a winning team,or rather he has in his possesion a bunch of choices to select frm. henry to me has bin a failure dis season,nd shld only b favored becos of unholy qualification act for france. as for zanetti nd cambiaso,derz no way dey shldnt make dat list if veron can make it. finally for karim benzema,hez payin d price for his gluttony.ow can u young lad wid notin in ur trophy house follow d likes of kaka,ronaldo,alonso,whose made thier marks already.itz good for him
where is Totti? why marcelo lippi did so? i'don't know but without a leader it's will be hard for italy to win the world cup and totti was leader in italy team! shame on you marcello !!!
as a nigerian i will miss anichebe and ike uche
I will surely miss Juan Roman Riquelme, the best playmaker in the world, by far. Maradona must be out of his mind to leave him out.
WALCOTE OF ENGLAND IS GREAT MISSING OF WORLD CUP 2010
Rubbish article, you don't even understand the strategy adopted by these coaches, and interestingly enough you even failed to mention the exact position the players hold. WHO are you to judge the decision of these coaches? How many football games have you won as a coach? how many teams have you managed? You're just a journalist who likes to write on star players because they are easy to be spotted.
capello made a mistake couse not inviteing wallcot who has crushed croatia for him with three goals... also france manager proved his stupidity excludeing nasri from arsenal....
How couldn`t you remember Salvador Cabañas, from Paraguay, the "Mariscal" that lead this country clasification to the World Cup, specially for the odd reason of receiving a shot in his head last January, and his incredible recovery.
ghana will very much miss the strength and passing ability of Essien,which was manifested in our most recent game.
Its baffling to see maradona dropping Zaneti n Cambiaso.. Let d gaffers do their job n face d music wen need b
As one goes through all these comments,one tends to see a lot of sentimentalism going on here which is OK,for it is a normal phenomena.When a coach is chosen for a particular team,they are given complete control of the team and take full responsibility of the team's performance on field.They cannot consider everyone's opinion but are also entitled to their own opinion.The difference is that they are in position to make the calls and we are not.I feel sorry for those players who felt deserved a place for their teams in SA but were not chosen but also tell them that world cup is here to stay for those still young(Pato,Walcott......) and to the older ones like Gaucho,Totti,Kuranyi...we know and have seen what you are capable of and will surely miss you.As for the coaches,just make sure you do not regret your decisions after the world cup.The fanz like me,we are surely on course,for,we are always there to talk and we are already doing that...Long live World cup........IT IS NOW IN AFRICA.
Like one contibutor said with teams that have abudance of talents its always going to be difficult to select 23 out of the lot. Having said that what can said of a country like Nigeria that is still relying on the likes of Kanu and his crew.
What about Samir Nasri??? I think he had some development with Arsenal this season. Compared to those players Domenech has called , I think Nasri is somewhat better. With the absence of Benzema too, the future of France is really dark!
I totally agree with you Pedro on every point.I just want to add a little which I guess you left out due to space and time constrain.Dunga surprised me most.To leave out Ronaldinho who had the highest number of assists in Serie A is inexplicable and what about Diego of Juventus,does he have a problem with Brazillian footballers playing in Italy??? That a coach was a defensive midfielder in his day does not mean that he should deprive football lovers all over the world of entertainment that comes once in four years;especially where the most exciting national team is the issue.So many defensive minded midfielders in the Brazilian team is an anomaly and this man has effectively reduced our enjoyment of the world cup even before it kicks off
dunga capello& domenech dis coaches r da greatest evil eva day dnt deserve to b coaches............wad day deserve s a slap on dere faces were s ronaldinho walcott&nasri com guys
Corruption will not allow Nigeria as a nation to move forward in football.Now that they have a new coach they should allow the coach to select his players across the 36 states of the federation.The corruptible politicians will not allow him to do his job properly.May God help Nigeria as a nation.
Arsenals future talisman is out (nasri) he would hav had a taste in preparatiõn 4 the future
Nobody is talking about Dani Güiza, even not in Spain. He has always been decisive to the Spanish team. Even though he has never played (as far as I remember)as a starter he has scored many decisive goals. It is not easy to see a player like him who gets so many goals and a very decisive ones in such a short period of time. I hope we´ll not miss him. I am sure we will, but I hope his absence will be not as decisive as his goals.
Regards, and good luck to all the teams.
Juan Ramon Riquelme and Ronaldinho will be missed by lovers of Jogo Bonito. Fans over the years have taken a liking to their way of doing things. Each manager is unique and has his way of going about with his mission and mandate. Those ommitted may not have fitted into the scheme of things of those at the helm. Like many I too think Riquelme and Ronaldo are still good enough to give the match a new and different turn with their quick thinking and deadly defence splitting stuff.
Great article Pedro. The one point I would disagree with you is about Benzema. Yes he is a talented player, but he has shown several times while playing for France, an extraordinary laziness and lack of motivation. He even admitted it in an interview that he does not play 100% for les bleus. Although his obvious skills, a non-making-the-effort mentality has nothing to do at World Cup.
All the best!
I would have prefer Anichebe to replace injured Obi. Anichebe is a fine player with height advantage when it comes to air. He was the only outstanding player that made several impacts aganist saudi arabia in the friending match. I was surprised and felt bad as he was excluded from the 23`man team that will represent nigeria in worldcup.
I think the new generation of coaches of the national sides are quite inexperienced!!!
There are brasilian players better than Pato out of the cup. The best forward is Neymar (player of Santos).
But, Brazil will Win this World Cup whit or whitout the better time.
Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! Brazil!
i know that Domenech has made mistake by letting go benzema but henery is also a very good player.
essian injuire is a big blow to ghana but they will still make it to the 1\16
In humble opinion, Degio mradona will make a splendid squad despite the missing of those two players
Marodona's midfield is not convincing enough as he has several options left out,is Veron's performance better than zanetti or cambiasso?its realy a mistake and for italy marcello lippi naturally do have rift with players and that will cost him his job,For france is the worse of all right from the midfield to the attack
Nice comments though, I think the world cup is to showcase the talents in the world. Ronaldhino would not have been a bad idea for Brazil because of his flair. African teams will also miss alot, Essien, laryea , teams from soth Africa and the rest are missing a lot. Trust Spain to win the world cup and ghana or Cote D'ivoire in the Semis. Good Luck
with or without mikel it is nothing to Nigeria we can still make it.
Brazil is obviously a very defensive team,usually wen dey win a world cup dey win with all the merit for playing a beautiful and offensive game.If dey happen to win dis time around i already know it won't just feel and be right.Watching Brasil playing is just not the same like in the olden times!
Coaches have their ways, they know what they are doing, and we are sometime taken up by our love for a particular player, we turn to make some comment which does not corspond to the logic of the coach and foodball tactics as such.
Ronadhinio in the last WC did not do well as he was less active as he should have been, he was most of the time waiting for the ball. I support Dunga decision I wish Brazil all the best.
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