The FIFA World Cup 2010 will showcase the top names from every corner of the world. However, there are some players in the participating teams, some officials with doubtful credibility and some inept managers; they tend to make you wonder if the World Cup is, after all, a free-for-all.
Here are ten top names who have undeservingly made the trip to South Africa..
10. DJIBRIL CISSE (FRA)
So here is what you need to do if you want to make it to the World Cup. It’s called the “Djibril Cisse Algorithm”:
- Make a name for yourself in a league (France – Auxerre) that requires just a leg (or two) to score in, and not talent as such. Become the top scorer, or thereabouts, to attract attention of managers from the best league. The attention part can also be done with a weird hairdo.
- Move to a top club (Liverpool) in, arguably, the best league in the world (Premier League). Try the same success strategy in this league – i.e. knock the ball beyond the defender, and sprint as fast as you can, in a straight line, to reach it first. Are you in the World Cup yet?
- No? If you fail, because the defenders in the league are much smarter than you claim yourself to be, repeat points 1 (with Marseille) and 2 (with Sunderland). Reached the World Cup this time?
- Not yet? Move to one of the weakest leagues (Greece) in Europe during the World Cup season, become top scorer (Panathanaikos), and hope that the much more-talented and deserving striker (Benzema) has a poor season in a much tougher league (La Liga), thus conning the half-witted coach (Domenech) that selects your nation’s WC squad.
“Hmmm, how did I end up here?”
9. SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS (ENG)
The Manchester City winger must have been as surprised as the whole of England, when he heard about his inclusion in the squad. It simply defied logic.
In a head-to-head meeting, Fabio Capello decided to shun Adam Johnson; not only was he the find of the season in the English League, but also he was the very player who managed to relegate Wright-Phillips to the bench at the same club. The winger has been constantly preferred at City by manager Roberto Mancini.
Yes, Wright-Philipps has more international experience than Adam Johnson, but being six years older than Johnson, he has failed to live up to the hype. So, why go for a 29-year old unpredictable substitute who can hardly keep hold of possession, when you have an opportunity to thrust a more talented, stable and exciting 23-year old?
8. MARTIN PALERMO (ARG)
He couldn’t have even dreamt of it! It had been ten years since Martin Palermo last played for Argentina, in 1999. One year before the 2010 World Cup, Argentina’s new coach Diego Maradona decided to call Palermo, based on his form at Boca Juniors.
Argentina is going with six forward players, and his inclusion in the squad ensures there is no place for French league’s player of the year Lisandro Lopez.
He did score crucial goals in the World Cup qualifiers for Maradona. But at 36, he is going to find the opponents at the world stage tougher than in South America.
Who knows? Maybe old is, actually, Argentina’s gold.
Palermo – Revival Man!
7. JULIO BAPTISTA (BRA)
A reserve at Roma throughout the season, Julio Baptista’s selection in the Brazil squad must be based on his Brazil form, whatever little was there of it. Ironically, he wasn’t called for World Cup 2006 during a time he was playing at his best.
Ronaldinho, on the other hand, lit up quite a few games in European club football this season and was also a regular for AC Milan. But Dunga preferred steel over flair in his midfield, opting for Baptista over both Ronaldinho and Diego.
So, if Kaka misses a game due to injury, who is going to take up the creative role in midfield?
6. VINCENZO IAQUINTA (ITA)
Iaquinta is a striker who has been injured for most part of the season at Juventus, doesn’t have a prolific record as a striker, and can play as a winger with even less effect.
This is why one feels for Giuseppe Rossi – an Italian youngster who has represented Italy at all youth levels and who lit up the confederations cup in South Africa, an year ago.
Iaquinta has experience on the international stage, but in a dull set of Italy’s worst ever forwards, youth exuberance could have been a welcome and necessary change.
5. DAVID BECKHAM (ENG)
David Beckham will be at the World Cup. And the shriek of joy which most fans let out on reading that is the precise reason he is there. But David is injured, and a mere showpiece.
Becks – keeping an eye out!
Officially, he is given the role of a ‘liaison’ – a communication medium between players and authorities. The role, apparently, requires him to monitor the players daily and report back their progress during training and during the cup itself.
Unofficially, though, he is there just to deflect the attention and focus of fans away from the players in the squad, and also to keep track of John Terry.
4. RAYMOND DOMENECH (FRA)
Yes, four years ago, the same man took France to the World Cup final. But did anyone expect him to be still in the same job, four years later? Domenech is yet to convince the world, or even the French, about his managerial abilities.
France barely made it to World Cup’10, after playing unattractive and defensive football throughout the campaign. Their Euro 2008 performance was also a damp squib.
Domenech has regularly played two defensive midfielders in his starting 4-4-2. Domenech’s tactics and strategies have always been questionable, and his reliance on Astrology for preferring certain players is just outright disgraceful.
3. MARTIN HANSSON (SWE)
The Swede is officiating at the World Cup and somehow, Sepp Blatter still talks about higher standards of refereeing.
If you don’t remember him, he is the same referee who missed the little game of self-volleyball Thierry Henry managed to play in Paris, before setting up the infamous winner for William Gallas.
That goal is the reason why France will be in South Africa playing at the World Cup and Ireland will be watching the tournament in the pubs.
“Yeah, I saw that!”
2. EMILE HESKEY (ENG)
The whole of England’s fears came true, when Heskey – who apparently complements Rooney very well – was selected for the trip to South Africa. He is neither a prolific striker nor a striker with extreme work-ethic to compensate for it.
Darren Bent has scored 24 goals in 38 appearances for a struggling Sunderland. Emile Heskey, on the other hand, has scored 5 goals in 45 appearances for sixth-place Aston Villa. Even Agbonlahor, another one of England’s striking candidates, has done better at Aston Villa.
Unless the idea is to get the best out of Rooney by over-burdening him with scoring responsibility, it’s difficult to see how Emile fits into Capello’s plans!
1. SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON (SWE)
A British media’s delight, Sven Goran Eriksson was a highly popular character on a comical TV show ‘ I’m on Setanta sports ’ . Oh, and he was also the England manager for six years; guiding England’s golden generation to the quarter-finals in all major tournaments.
Other than that, he was a failure at managing English club Manchester City, and also Mexico. He took up the post of technical director at an English League two club – Notts County – as he was, apparently, impressed by the club’s finances and plans to become a premiership club. A few months later, he resigned after the club’s debts forced a takeover.
What did the Ivory Coast ever see in him?