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Players Who Really Shouldn't Be At the 2010 World Cup...But Just Might

Friday, January 22, 2010

Players Who Really Shouldn't Be At the 2010 World Cup...But Just Might
You'll hear ex-players, with their cushy jobs as 'state-the-bloody-obvious' media pundits, bang on and on about needing experienced players in national squads who know what to do when the team is up against it.

And, I concede, it's a fair point. However, what often happens is that managers end up playing safe and picking players that are way past their prime. I expect this World Cup Finals to be no different, and here a few of the players that may end up in South Africa this summer, but really shouldn't be anywhere near the place.

1: Vincenzo Iaquinta (Italy)

Agreed, Iaquinta has scored plenty of goals in a decade long career in Serie A and seems to have had something of a rennaisance at Juve under Claudio Ranieri and Ciro Ferrara. This presumably is why Marcelo Lippi recalled Iaquinta to the Italy squad for the 2010 qualifying campaign.

The thing is, though, he's just not world class. He's scored only 5 goals in 35 international appearances and 2 of those were in a friendly against New Zealand.

At the 2006 World Cup, he got only one goal in five matches and looked out of his depth. Lippi really should say 'thanks, but no thanks' to Iaquinta.

2: Martin Palermo (Argentina)

Argentina have a fine array of attacking talent : Messi, Tevez, Aguero, Milito, Higuain. The names just roll off the tongue.

They also have Martin Palermo. You might remember that Palermo scored the goal that took Argentina through to the World Cup Finals and saved manager Diego Maradona' job.

What you probably don't know is that Palermo is 36 and, until his recent recall to the national team, hadn't played for Argentina in 10 years. The reason for that is: he's not a great player as his time in Spain showed and there are loads of others ahead of him in the queue.

However, who knows what goes through the mind of Maradona? And he did score 'that' goal.

3: Mark Viduka (Australia)

I suspect that Mark Viduka is sitting on a beach in Oz at this very moment, sipping a lager and counting his money. What he definitely isn't doing is playing football, as the 32 year old is currently without a club.

When he could be bothered, Viduka was a great centre forward, but mainly he couldn't be bothered. He couldn't even be bothered to play for Australia when specifically asked by manager Pim Verbeek.

So, it's very, very unlikely that Viduka will get anywhere near the 2010 World Cup, right? Well, answer me this question. Name me three forwards currently in the Australian national squad? No? OK, name me one?

You see my point. Currently, Australia doesn't have a single striker that is known outside of Australia itself. So, if Viduka does decide to play a little soccer again, it's just a very small possibility that the lazy bugger will be recalled for the 2010 World Cup Finals.

4: David James (England)

At the other end of the likelihood spectrum we have David James, currently at Portsmouth and still - when fit - England's number one goalkeeper.

How this state of affairs came to pass is a mystery to me. England used to churn out top class 'keepers like a production line : Banks, Shilton, Clemence, Seaman. There were loads.

Now, they've got a 'keeper whose nickname is 'calamity' and who still, despite a significant improvement in his overall game, makes stupid mistakes on a regular basis.

In an ideal world, there is no way David James should be playing at the World Cup Finals. Unfortunately, unless Joe Hart makes an undeniable case for himself in forthcoming friendlies, he probably will be.

Labels: argentina, australia, david james, england, italy, mark viduka, martin palermo, vincenzo iaquinta

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