World Cup 2010 - Who's In, Who's Out?
By Pirelli GiorgioArgentina's coach, former legend Diego Maradona, who gave the soccer shirt 10 an iconic status back in the day, prayed for divine intervention hoping that his team reaches the 2010 World Cup at South Africa. After a 3-1 defeat against rival Brazil, that too, on home ground, things don't look too good for the Argentineans. It was their first defeat at home after being defeated 5-0 by Colombia 16 years back. But Maradona stood his ground, repeating, "The bearded one (God) saved me many times before - and I hope he will do so this time."
Having lost to Paraguay as well, Argentina now stand fifth in the continental group, a place below the final qualifying berth. Ready to take on Peru on home ground, plus a make or break match against Uruguay, Argentinean fans are keeping their fingers crossed, as is their coach. "We have to get it into our heads that these two games are crucial to our hopes and we can't keep giving things away such as we did against Brazil," said Maradona. Recently, while on a slimming course in Italy, fans surrounded him, complaining that a World Cup without Argentina just wouldn't be the same... He is said to have responded, "Don't worry, Argentina will be there." So, it's a match against the Peruvians and another crucial game against arch rivals Uruguay that'll decide Argentina's fate. Both Argentina and Uruguay could be vying for fifth place in the South American qualifying group, making it a critical match.
Meanwhile, Brazilian coach Dunga has earmarked a 24 man team before the South American group's final two games, hoping to give more players experience. Brazil will soon play Bolivia, followed by Venezuela. Dunga explained, "We have two games ahead and the first one is very wearing, but we'll try to do our best in Bolivia... Despite we have already qualified, we're Brazil and we have to win always. We try to keep the group and give chances to some new players."
Spain's soccer uniform number 6, Xavi Hernandez, feels that England is a strong candidate that can come in the way of Spain's World Cup dreams. Backing England as one of his favorites to win the 2010 World Cup, the midfielder feels that, "England were the big absence from Euro 2008 and I expect they are itching to show they can win the World Cup. They will be among our biggest rivals along with Brazil, Italy and Germany. And we might see a surprise this time from an African country like Ivory Coast. They look very strong to me right now." Let's see how the cookie crumbles... Only time will tell.
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