May 19th, 2010
01:29 PM ET

Who will win the World Cup?

Italy won the World Cup in 2006 but who will do it this time around?.
Italy won the World Cup in 2006 but who will do it this time around?.

Although many consider football to be a global sport, a look at the history of the World Cup shows only a handful of nations have mastered it. FIFA – the game's world governing body – recognizes 208 national associations but just seven have celebrated having the best team on the planet.

South Africa 2010 will be the 19th football World Cup. Of the previous 18 tournaments, five have been won by Brazil, four by Italy and three by Germany. Argentina and Uruguay have claimed two each and France and England one apiece. So, four European and three South American countries have triumphed but the world champions have never come from North America, Asia or Africa.

It is hard to see that record changing this time, although Africa's contenders will be bolstered by the first ever World Cup on their home continent. Ghana and Ivory Coast are arguably the strongest of those countries.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will lead the Elephants' campaign. He hit 37 goals for his club this season and was the English Premier League’s leading scorer. His teammate Salomon Kalou has been in good form too. However, another Chelsea player, Michael Essien, could miss out through injury – a setback for the hope of the Black Stars.

We’re expecting a warm welcome from South Africa’s fans but only the most blinkered of them will consider the hosts to have any chance of lifting the trophy. Even 'dark horse' status is optimistic for Bafana Bafana, unlike France, Portugal, the United States, Australia and North Korea who each have credibility.

France and Portugal had poor qualifying campaigns – one of the reasons why they aren’t the top seeds in their respective groups. But both countries have talented squads and if they find form at the right time will be a match for anyone. Portugal, in particular, will hope their Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo gets inspired on the biggest stage of all.

Like Greece at the 2004 European Championship, the United States will feel they are more than the sum of their parts – and players like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard show star qualities at times.

Australia’s teamwork and battling spirit will be their biggest weapons. Many felt they were unlucky to lose to eventual champions Italy four years ago – and the Aussies can never be ruled out at any sport.

North Korea will be the lowest ranked team at this World Cup but mainly because they play so little international football. No-one knows very much about them and, as they did back in 1966, the country could spring a few surprises.

Of the highest-ranked nations, I would discount Argentina, England and Germany. Maradona may have been a genius as an Argentine player but he’s some way short of that as a coach. He isn’t getting the best out of world player of the year Lionel Messi and his omission of Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti from his World Cup squad is puzzling.

England’s first team is good but they lack strength in depth and don’t have enough goalscorers while Germany have been dealt a huge blow with the injury to their captain Michael Ballack. Not only vastly experienced, Ballack has scored an astonishing 42 goals in his 98 international appearances.

Brazil, Spain, Italy and Netherlands are the outstanding favorites. However, neither Spain nor Netherlands have won the World Cup before, while a European team has never triumped away from European soil.

Some may have more chance than others on paper – but what will happen in reality is anyone's guess; so who do you think will be crowned world champions?

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Filed under:  Football
soundoff (332 Responses)
  1. Kasonde

    spain and netherlands have the best teams and probably do well most likey to win it.

    argentina have the best strikers messi, melito, arguro, tevez and higauin but the coach is the main problem. the good thing is argentina have a some what easy group and will only face stiff competion if they reach they semi finals.

    germany will suprise every one but without michael ballack it will be hard for them to cope without him. england has great coach under don fabio cappello and will go far if they keep their heads on the pitch.

    italy ,france and portugal i doubt if they will go past quarter finals since they dont have many good players esp france.leaving nasri and benzeema was the wrosed mistake they made, ribbery is injury prone and has a bad temper, henry sad to say is finished. anleka is ok so i doubt they will do well after all they need 2cheat 2 even qualify. lol

    brazil wont win this cup because they only have one quality player kaka who had mixed season with real madird. they have great defenders but offensively they will depend on kaka which will lead to thier demise. dunga has made the worsed mistake leaving ronaldinho, pato and maybe diego out and bringing in man city rejects robinho and elano. brazil will now be one of the easy teams to beat, i doubt they will go past they semis with this team regardless of theier defence. one team countries dont win world cups and kaka is the only player brazil will be depening on.

    May 19, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  2. wediharambe eritrea

    i think brazil will win the world cup.They are very good in technic and they can play well together on the field .But i dont think it will be an african country to won this tornament

    May 19, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  3. Rodrigo Vieira Godinho

    Hi! I think Brazil will be crowned world champion again because brazilians know how to play a good soccer.

    May 19, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  4. pabitra koirala

    Argentina .... as the world greatest player Diego Maradona is the team coach and his skills and techinques will be the best inspiration for the squad in this big event at South Africa..

    May 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  5. Ademar Barbosa

    Brasil will lift the trophy!!! believe me!!

    May 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Reply

    TO CNN.COM SPORTS. i think this time 2010 FIFA world cup goes to GERMANY.

    May 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  7. david martin

    hopefully argentina preferable anyone but england its alreay gone stupid with little england flags on every car

    May 19, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  8. stephen

    I think that Argentina have a great chance if the Manager stays in control, other contenders must be Spain but only if get injuries sorted, Brazil wont win and England will take beating. So to call it, hmm spain...

    May 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  9. George Azzopardi


    May 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  10. George Azzopardi

    BRAZIL – BRAZIL- BRAZIL .........................

    May 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  11. Osvaldo

    As an Italian, I must confess that unfortunately the Italy squad will be going as tourists to South Africa. The players lack the hunger and spirit to win. Amazing that Diego Milito and Cambiasso were not included for Argentina...

    May 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  12. Charles Ouko

    Hi Ale

    I write from Nairobi, Kenya and many thanks for your brilliant piece. However I beg to differ, on one or two things that you state.

    One, your implying that both Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire will go further than say The Indomitable Lions of Cameroun.

    Two, that England are rank outsiders.

    The Indomitable Lions SHALL be the last of the African Nations to leave SA 2010.

    Principally because the draw was very favorable to them and they should have no problem advancing out of their group alongside Holland.

    Should they be tops, they will most likely face Paraguay, while if they are second to the Dutch, they would certainly face Italy.
    be to fazed about taking on the Azurri again.

    Having been African Nations Cup runners up in February,while fielding a team devoid of their five big name players (Essien,Muntari,Agogo,Pantsil and Mensah),on their day Ghana should be able to make round two alongside Germany;but again they may not as neither Serbia nor Australia will be push overs.

    Cote D'Ivoire though having top quality players of the likes of Kolo and Yaya Toure,Dindane,Kalou and the irrepressible Drogba will still have to be at their best of bests to advance ahead of Portugal, but again its not impossible.

    As for England, four years of Capello coupled with a squad thats also been unchanged over the same period, mark my following words, it will take a lot to deny England a place at soccer city on July 11.

    Thank and kind regards.

    Charles Ouko

    May 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  13. mike

    when we know the final 23 of all the teams we will guess more accurately,at the moment,the final four looks like ,England,Brazil,Chile,Spain or Holland.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  14. john deen

    I think a South American team will win it !

    May 19, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Reply
  15. Luis

    I think the fittest teams for this world cup are Spain and Brazil, but I guess Brazil is slightly better and they also have their history of success playing for them...I would definitely bet for Brazil this time. Anyways...I hope Spain wins!!!!! Vamos roja!!!!!!!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  16. Tom

    Italy will be crowned Champs once more

    May 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  17. krishna

    its gonna be SPAIN this time.. what a team they have.. !!

    May 19, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  18. Ricardo LEITE

    Brazil will win the world cup in Africa, you can see that Brazil has won all the competions that he faced with Dunga as a coach! Chek it out the statistics!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  19. Jaime Rojas

    If Spain manages to recover from injuries on time they will take the world cup home. They have the top players in every position at keeper, defense, midfield and forward. True, the US shocked them at the confederations cup but upsets happen. Hopefully they can keep strong mentally because the talent and team is there! VIVA ESPANA!!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  20. Mani


    May 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  21. Jack Wynt

    Brazil will win the cup.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  22. Dieter

    With or without Ballack, Deutschland!!!!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  23. Heath

    I'm going with Denmark

    May 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  24. sal

    Argentina will win, they are playing bad now, just to trick the world. Make my words.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  25. João Victor

    Brazil of course, the country that have the bests players.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  26. Frank

    The Woza 2010 will be full of surprises, as we hall witnessed during qualifications, some strong teams had to rely on literally a helping "hand" to get there!
    My team will be Cameroon, if only they could find that perfect blend i think they are the dark knights for me. Strong squad and whats more interesting is that they are considered underdogs even for more depressing teams like ivory cost which don't show up when every body expects them to...
    This world cup for the first in its history will remain in Africa.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  27. Oscar Valiente

    Spain, England or Argentina will win it!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  28. Katie Roth

    Hey, what a question. Switzerland is gonna win!

    May 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  29. Ademola Adebowale

    Brazil'll win the 2010 World Cup.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  30. Justin Hevey

    Umm. However wrote this article did a horrible job because all he or her talks about is the usuall Brazil, Argentina, Italy and germany well what about Spain? The worlds #1. They are going to be the words most watched team and the most probabale team to win.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  31. Mike

    Lets South Africa in the wintertime...who plays well in the winter??? Germany? No Ballack, No dice!. France? Hand ball got you there, I think you have used all of your luck! Denmark? Not strong enough!
    Holland? Possibly!!! If you are going to Vegas, I think it is finally Englands time. They will deal with adverse conditions the best and is about time that their luck England in a close match with Spain!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  32. Enrico

    Hope it will be Italy, but I see the Brazilians coming out as probable winners.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  33. anyonesguess

    Whoever wins the FIFA confederations Cup does NOT win the World Cup. Brazil won the last one. It is England, just because of Capello.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  34. Cugeno

    Well, I'd like for the USA to win... but that won't happen. I fear that the loss of Balalck is too much for a young German side to overcome. Since both Italy and Brazil make me mildly ill, and I'm not a huge fan of Spain, I'm pulling for the Dutch to win it all. Oh, and it would be nice to see the Aussies make a fine showing, as well.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  35. Bruce

    I think either Spain or Holland wins this world cup, but i'll give the dutch squad the best chance

    May 19, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  36. 900rr

    We will make miracle happen!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  37. Alalas

    I see many forces in this World Cup such as Brazil (of course), Holland, Spain, Portugal and Argentina (unfortunately).
    Although Dunga has left behind the best players nowadays such as Paulo Henrique Ganso and Neymar, I believe he's doing a good job, just see at the last tournements, he won them all.
    I do believe the Brazilian skretch still need a leadership in the field while palying, and hopefully Lucio (Inter Milan) will take it over!
    Go Brazil!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  38. Alfonso Hermann

    Doesnt matter who wins, what matters is that FIFA cleans up itself undertaking a cristal clear tournment. Unfortunately, once again the groups were manipulated favoring the most economically viable teams....not a good start.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  39. Alex

    I agree with Katie Roth, definitely Switzerland!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  40. Asad

    Brazil is more likely to win the world cup.Though we can not anticipate anything for sure, in the view of statistics and statues of teams at the moment brazil is the winner of 2010 world cup.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Reply
  41. Tobal

    In my dreams I wish a miracle with Mexico, but I know it'll be between Spain and Argentina

    May 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  42. Toby in Cancun

    Spain and England have prepared very well for this cup.

    However, Brazilians have figured out the winning formula and they can use it any time, anywhere.

    May 19, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  43. Ajay Thakur

    My Heart Beats for Brazil.....

    May 19, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  44. Cecilia

    SPAIN will win! Xavi, Iniesta, Villa , Torres, Casillas, Pujol, the best team !

    May 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  45. dan

    FRANCE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,WHO ELSE?

    May 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Reply
  46. Steve

    I would put my money on Brazil! In any case, I hope France doesn't make it past the first round – Ireland should be in their place after Henri's double handball in the penalty area! Disgraceful! And hey, no more pausing/stopping before penalties now...

    May 19, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  47. christof

    Brazil of course against Spain. It will be the best.And Greece in small' final !!!!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  48. jabunk21

    i wish the brazil wins, but i'm not sure who will win, Dunga didn't convene 'em i won't say the names naah.

    May 19, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  49. John-Ryan

    I guess I'll be the one to say it, The USA will win! Lets be honest, It's really only a matter of time before the Usa is a Football powerhouse on the global scale. Here in America, the number of children under 18 who play Football, Or soccer, is larger then those who play american football, baseball, basketball, and every other sport Combined. So, its only a matter of time before we spit out a LeBron James who decided to grace the Football field.

    May 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Reply
  50. robert

    According to a famous clairvoyant in Brazil called Jucelino da Luz, Germany is going to win the Cup against Brazil.

    May 19, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  51. bob


    May 19, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  52. vizokholie

    Argentina because the have the best strikers or Spain because of the best team.

    May 19, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  53. Saaliha_TT

    Brazil will probably win even though i don't want them to win. The runners-up I'd like to win are either Argentina or Italy!! Too bad Ballack is out, Germany is a top team as well.

    May 19, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  54. USA - MN

    Well since I'm from the USA....... I couldn't care less! Nothing against Soccer and nothing against those that love the sport,,,,, we just really don't care! Don't take it personal!

    May 19, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Reply

    argentina will become for the 3th time champions , never underestimated the heart of a champion and that is maradona

    May 19, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  56. mesfin

    in paper Spain and England are favorites but deep down i think this is the time for Argentina..,

    May 19, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  57. Saul Yudelowitz

    Having worked on rehabilitating most European footballers from injury and for injury prevention I put my money on England.

    May 19, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  58. Lata

    Everybody tries to put logic behind their opinion. Last time around, how many of you thought that Italy would win? How many of you thought Italy would be World Champions when they were losing 1-0 to Australia with 10 minutes to go at the 1/4 final stage?
    If you want to use logic, here it is:
    A) Climate. There is a reason why a European team never won outside Europe. This puts Brazil and Argentina as favourites and puts Spain, Portugal and France as European favourites.
    B) Organization/concentration. this always puts Germany at the top but Dunga's Brazil is also very "European" in style.
    C) Passion/ Belief/ Courage: 3 teams: Diego's Argentina, Ronaldo's Portugal and Puyol's Spain. They will die on the pitch for their team.

    May 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  59. Yumil

    In a delusional hopeful way , I'll have to say, Mexico!

    May 19, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  60. hidde

    Netherlands are gonna do it, they are good not AMAZing but all the other are in terrible shape and holland is still solid untouched and all the players are on the same level giving holland the best chance 🙂 iam gonna be there to watch them win!

    May 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  61. Fabio


    May 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  62. gkedpage

    BRAZIL!!! Always Brazil!!

    May 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  63. paul landelle

    FRANCE will make it no problem.
    I mean back to France the first week

    May 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  64. jzellah

    Spain, they are the best this time.

    May 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  65. Ryan

    Hollland DUDE We have the best midfield 😀

    May 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  66. Tee

    I believe that this world cup will go to NIGERIA!!!

    It is about time that the cup goes to an African country- this is the year for the Super Eagles!!!!!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  67. Gregg

    In the semi-finals I see:


    Argentina is good, but Maradona is like cancer to them with his big ego from a player long washed up. All the talent in the world is nothing without proper management.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  68. Jack

    The team that will win it will WANT to win it more than the others; will have at least as much skill and teamwork as the best of the teams; and, they will be the luckiest as you can't win without a bit of luck (unless you are the Germans). So, which team meets all criteria? Strange though it sounds, I say England.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Reply


    May 19, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  70. Yemi

    This time around an African Nation will win the cup. I am counting on Nigeria to win.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  71. Piscean

    No one will win the world cup.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  72. Chris

    It is intrigueing that we have both a world cup year and winter olympic together on the same world stage. Back to the pitch, I would rank Brazil in the top four, never underestimate Portugal, a young side with plenty of vigour and remember Italy,s fans can be the extra player that can generate momentum for their lads. austaluego.....

    May 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Reply
  73. Fred from France

    France of course !
    Why ?
    We're not favorit ... and we play better when we're not favorit in the final tournament (French paradox)

    May 19, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  74. ben


    May 19, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  75. eh?

    "Brazil, Spain, Italy and Netherlands are the outstanding favorites"

    Eh, there isn't a bookies in the world who thinks this. How can you spurt this stuff out?! You're throwing facts around that seem to have come out of nowhere?!

    Pretty much every betting shop, sports pundit or man in the street has the top four as Brazil, Spain, England and Argentina.

    To claim Italy and Netherlands are 'outstanding favourites' is a ridiculous piece of ill informed journalism.

    May 19, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Reply
  76. Dora

    I think Brazil will win the Cup. They play by heart.

    May 19, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  77. Frankie

    U.S.A. all the way!

    May 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Reply
  78. Thanasis

    GREECE will make the surprise this time around like with the EuroCup in 2004!!

    May 19, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  79. the dragon

    guys i think its pretty obvious New Zealand has the competition sown up. I mean come on we have two players that dont even clubs. Half our players are unpaid. watch out brazil, NZ is gonna destroy u

    May 19, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  80. Ingrid Carvalho

    I know little about soccer, but, lately, whenever Brazil forgot about big star players (Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Romario,...), the team got GREAT results.
    Earlier, Pelé was able to win the World Cup, but other big star players like Zico don't.
    It's a team work!!!! Not only one man play. And this time, Brazil seams to have a team again...Even the Emperor was left out...
    My advice to opponent teams: Soccer is a little surprise box!

    May 19, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Reply
  81. tom

    Probably italy. Not because they are better but because they make the difference where it matters wen it comes to cheating eg. diving and play acting. I would like to see Germany win it though.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  82. Carlos Santos

    Despite the mistaken call of Dunga, in some locations, Kaka has no reserve height and Goose out there, I'm sure Brazil will once again CHAMPION OF THE WORLD

    May 19, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  83. Tresguerras

    The world will win. Whoever takes the trophy,
    A joyus moment to forget all the world troubles, discriminations, finance snafu´s, wars, and we will enjoy a party of the finest futbol.
    WE ALL ARE GOING TO WIN. And our country will be the best.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Reply
  84. XYZ


    May 19, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  85. Aman Sherchan

    I am fully sure Argentina will lift the world cup 2010 Trophy in South Africa.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  86. SirMark

    NORTH Korea has credibility? REaaaaaallY? I'd say South Korea has credibility with a 4th place in 2006.. and winning their SA WC qualifying group.. but I'd chalk that up to a typo... get it together!

    May 19, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  87. Robert Oliver

    Brazil! The coach has picked great athletes but most important, he picked players that have some maturity and are passionate about the game. Brazil does have a lot of "stars" but the coach looked for, and choose, a group that have one goal in mind... Winning the World Cup for their country. "novel" idea isn't it? So often players are worried about their TV time, contract, movies, endorsements, that they forget about the team. I mean, remember Brazil in the last W.C.?
    Great players, good experience and an incredible thirsty to win... I pity the team that goes against such force!!
    Go BRAZIL!!!

    May 20, 2010 at 12:31 am | Reply
  88. Paul Henderson

    MEXICO will be the big surprise in SA 2010. MARK MY WORDS... they have a secret weapon this year. I became close to one of their triners and it is amazing what is cooking in their kitchen. I would put all my life savings on their emerging victorious from this world cup.

    May 20, 2010 at 12:33 am | Reply
  89. fernando mendez

    Spain or Brazil (hopefully Brazil) I do not see any one else

    May 20, 2010 at 12:34 am | Reply
  90. Stef

    Germany will deliver. These guys are young and hungry even w/o (or despite) Ballack missing it....

    May 20, 2010 at 12:38 am | Reply
  91. marcos

    Seriously... Who do u guys think that will win this world cp? Just have a loook back and check the most consistent team and the answer is easy... Brazil of course! They won all the competitions they took part and its a fact... Mark my words Brazil will win this world cup.

    May 20, 2010 at 1:20 am | Reply
  92. Steven

    I hope it's ganna be Italy.But to be honest,Brazil english and Argentina are all potential.

    May 20, 2010 at 1:53 am | Reply
  93. G.Royal Richard