T Nation

World Cup Only Weeks Away!


And I am almost incoherent with excitement...

Not just about England's chances but the whole spectacle - the adverts - the gorgeous Brazilian women in the crowd every time they play - oh, and the best players in the world coming together - everything.

RE England - I'm not blinded by patriotism here but it IS true that we have the best team we've had in the last 10 years and so I expect us to do well. Not saying we'll win it by any stretch but I think for any team other than Brazil getting to the semis has to be seen as doing well and having had a good tournament. Anything after that is in the lap of the footballing Gods.

Just wondered how everyone else was containing their excitement and what their thoughts were on this year's competition and, as this is an international community, their thoughts on other national teams and secret weapons a la England with Theo Walcott.

Right, off to start sticking up England flags and hoping I don't look like a National Front member!


Im not that exited (Rugby's my game and were rebuilding [means crap at mo]), but id love us to do well.
Agreed, by common consensus we have the best squad since italia 90 (sob sob) but key players (beckham, rooney, owen) are injured or just plain off form. If we are to have a chance then these are the guys that are going to win games for us.
Second team is brazil. Just for the female fans.



Well, you probably won't like what I'll said, but still: I think Brasil will be champions.
They have world class players in every position, they play beautifully, especially Kaka and Ronnie.
IMO the final match will be between England and Brasil, even though Germans will be very dangerous (they are hosts, and they played in last final, somehow they manage to get their minds straight when they need to).
I am aslo very interested in what Italians can do. Totti will be fit and ready, I just hope he doesn't play like on the last championships.

And I can't understand Eriksson. Rooney is a great player, but i just think that his place could be filled by somebody else (anyone, as he's injured).

And Walcott kid. I know he might be great (if he plays), and Swen will be considered a genious in this case, but such an inexpirienced player imo can't be of much help (he didn't even have a debut in Premier league, if I'm correct).

But we'll see (I can't wait).


I think you are too optimistic about England changes. If both Rooney and Owen will be injured then their attack is too weak, the keeper position is also very weak. My prediction is:
1. Brazil
2. Argentina
3. Germany
4. France


I'm positive that the England injury stuff is just standard press 'scare tactics'.

Owen, Becks and Rooney will be absolutely fine. The searing pace of Walcott will make an interesting Plan C after the Plan B of 'hoof the ball to Crouch' fails to deliver.

But even if they were all fit, that is no guarantee of success. As you can never discount the host nation, personally I can forsee another Brazil-Germany final, although I would dearly love it to be an England-Germany one because I think we'd take them apart.

I think Italy will underachieve - Much as I love Totti he seems to fold under pressure and their better players are all getting on a bit. Cassano etc v talented but it's not like watching Del Piero or even Inghazi in their prime. But they DO have the best goalkeeper in the world so we shall see.

Spain should be exciting to watch as they have an array of really young and exciting players in their squad.

Argentina are usually very strong but England made them cry (best WC newspaper front pages ever) and sent them home from the last world cup and we beat them recently. Riquelme is a great player but it seems EVERYTHING goes through him so if the opposition can just keep him quiet...

Holland is another team that is brimming with talent but where no-one seems to play as a team together. Who knows if that will get sorted in for the finals.

I see it as one of Brazil-France-Germany-England to win and Spain to finally do themselves some justice.

Also I need to pick a minnow team to support as well so I get to see matches and players I might nornmally miss. Last time out was Ecuador. Maybe an african team this time?


Personally i think england have messed up what could be possibly their best chance of winning the world cup with some incomprehensible decisions. First of all what are Jenas, Downing and Hargreaves doing in the squad, while shaun wight philips is left at home. Admittedly he has not played regulary but recently he has been in good form and against Argentina was the catalyst for englands exciting victory. Also this thing with Theo Walcott and his army of dribbling fans that keep on telling us how quick he is,is starting to get annoying. Can i please say that cisse is bloody quick and hes hardly setting the premiership on fire is he. Also any team with beckham at the helm controlling things will never do that well because while an excellent player he is not tactically astute and he prevents better players like gerrad and lampard from bossing the game. However on the bright side it looks like it could be one of the greatest ever world cups with many excellent teams. I personally have got 50 quid on Spain.


Hi Mick,

Are you already as sick as I am with the '66 footage and hype? All that bollocks about how its our destiny to win it again?

Pisses me off so much. If we win it again it'll be because we earned it, not because we are entitled to it. It doesn't matter HOW loud fat skinheads in the pub sing the last line (the only one they know) to Jeruselem.

'la la la la green and pleasant land!!'

Not a rugby fan but obviously I jumped on the WC bandwagon and seeing the national response to winning the world cup of a sport I wasn't even into was incredible. I can't imagine what it would be like if we won the Jules Rimet trophy.

Although unless Ashley Cole studs Ronaldinho's knee tomorrow night it may only be a pipe dream.


I agree totally about Jenas - I think there's 4 other midfielders in the squad that can do everything he does much better than him.

Hargreaves - Good to bring on to protect a lead with 10mins to go - I'd much rather him than Phill Bloody Neville.

I'm an Arsenal fan but I've seen Walcott play for Southampton. He is fearless, loves to take people on and just has that 'something' about him. What I'e seen of him so far is more impressive than what I saw of the young M Owen before he made HIS mark.

Once again - I agree its a gamble but surely that makes it exciting. Tough on the player who had a great season but I feel someone like Theo is more likely to win us a match than Darren Bent.

As for Beck's being at the helm and pulling the strings - I really think Gerrard and Lampard learning to work together is much more of an issue.

Once one can cover while the other surges forward the rest will then sort itself out. Beckham can change a game with a single pass. End of story. He's not a flair player - He's just very very good at a couple of things and that's fine. I truly do not feel he has a say in tactics, otherwise he's be back in the middle of the park and Gerrard would be on the right.

But really... Jenas? Why?


It rarely goes to the team that deserves it. It has to be battled for won by the best team/skillful players/astute manager/bit of luck.
In addition - i thought the current world cup wasnt called the Jules Rimet trophy. Didnt Brazil win that one outright?


Doh! Right you are. Looks the same though... lol

'The current FIFA World Cup Trophy cannot be won outright, as the regulations state that it shall remain FIFA's own possession. The World Cup winners retain it until the next tournament and are awarded a replica, gold-plated rather than solid gold.

The new trophy is 36 cm high, made of solid 18-carat gold and weighs 4,970 grams. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite and has room for 17 small plaques bearing the name of the winners - space enough for the World Champions up to the year 2038.'

Can't believe I didn't know that!


You really think Rooney will be playing in the WC? I hope he's going to be okay but I just can't see him playing again that soon at a high level.


It will get sorted out in time


The WC is the most exciting sporting event in Holland and I am kicking myself for not being there. My dad has tickets to go to Holland's opening games against Ivory Coast and Argentina.

I know soccer is gaining popularity in the US but I just dont see anyone get as excited about it as I am. One of my best buds is Argentinian and we put our time off requests into our job as soon as the schedule came out.

This is the year the Orange Machine returns to the Dutch glory days of 74 and 78.

I have a ton of orange gear and will be watching every single moment of it!!


I think the press totally overhyped the initial severity of the injury as they always do to make an extra million sales.

Also he is no longer wearing a cast and is bike riding and stuff so it's all looking promising. I've even heard talk he might be ready for the first England match, although whether he would be risked so early is another matter.

Fingers crossed he'll be fine.


Dude, what have you been watching, the Germans will be lucky to get out of the first round, and their bracket selection was rigged!! How do the Germans get such a cake bracket? Well I will will tell you - hot and cold balls. Germany is in the bracket, the guy who picked the teams felt for a cold blue ball (no pun intended). Its bullshit!! LOL

Have you seen the brackets Holland and the US are in? Are you kidding me, that's murderous.

Both Holland and Argentina better be careful b/c Ivory Coast is not a walk over.

England should def get out of the first round.


Well,i remember in the last Wold cup Argentina played against England and lost ..but it was not England who send us packing.

Can`t remember for sure but i think we didnt win any of the maches, so it was not only England.

And that last Argentina-England game? i did see it and the refree stole a goal from us! so i would take that win as a sign for England being better right now.

I?m not gonna go into talking shit about England as much as i would like to, i think that England has a REALLY good team now, specially if Rooney gets well.

And i dont think its too optimistic to say that England could win this whole tournament.

One more thing about Argentina..if our team plays the same system we did for the last two World cups the result is gonna be the same, it has to change.


Hi Animal,

So what's the deal with the Dutch team?

Amazing quality (even the horse-faced diver Ruud!) but they never seem to play FOR one another and it really affects them. If they had a stronger team spirit you feel they would go far.

That said you are definitely in a tough tough group - especially compared to England who have NO excuse for not getting through theirs.


That recent Argentina-England friendly was brilliant. Not because we won but because both teams seemed to want it so badly and we saw great play on both sides.

WC-wise. I could be wrong but if I remember correctly you played us last in the group and Beckham scored the penalty that knocked you out.

Maybe I'm wrong, but after the match I remember all the shots of Veron (who I hate) and Batistuta (was is one of my heroes) crying. Anyway, it felt like we'd made up for Simeone/Beckham incident and the disallowed Campbell goal in '98.

Sad to see Batigol bow out of international football after that. Amazing player.


I know brother is it is killing me, they let these so-called superstars get away with shit for way too long but that generation with the exception of a few has passed. You should have seen these guys out in Amsterdam, they thought they were the shit and acted like complete arrogant assholes. I actually grew up with a lot of those guys. I played in the Ajax youth system till I was about 14 and switched to basketball - wtf was I thinking?

We have a lot of younger guys now and they are hungry and believe it or not, they actually are starting to play a lot better together. Van Basten is a players coach which can be good or bad. Sometimes I wonder if he should not tighten things up a bit more. This year the team will have a lot more prep time together which should translate into more chemistry and hopefully the bad elements will be identified and shaken off. Also, we have a few inuries that are of concern but we should be healthy. After not even making it four years ago, look for the Dutch to play with a lot of intensity and emotion. I mean, If you cannot get excited and go balls to the walls for your country in a world cup, you should not be allowed to even set foot on a soccer field if you ask me.

But your point is valid. I was encouraged by the team chemistry in the European cup two years ago in Portugal and since then a few more of the old garde "were let go" So we will see but in typical Dutch fashion, we expect do well and win the whole thing!!



Wow. Who did you play alongside at Ajax? I have a team for every country and they're my Dutch team.