National / Sports / May 27, 2010

Barratt’s World Cup predictions and players to watch

I know I’ve written similar articles before, but with the World Cup two weeks away, I’d feel silly talking about anything else. Although I usually try to be impartial, I’m betting that one of the next three teams will win the World Cup this year. Here they are, in order of likelihood of winning (in my opinion):

Spain

They are the clear front-runner this year in most predictions.

Pros: They have a progressively better and better league every year, with Real Madrid spending record-breaking sums this year, and Barcelona winning the Champions League last year.

They have a whole generation of world class players, but more importantly, several of them have been linked with huge transfers this summer and will see the World Cup as their opportunity to negotiate more money: Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas have both seriously discussed moving, and David Villa just transferred to Barcelona.

Cons: History is not on their side. Not only has España never won a World Cup; they’ve never even made it to a final. In fact, they’ve only ever made it to a semi-final, which I guess makes them historically equal to…the United States.

They are the team to beat. You can expect everyone to put on their A-game against Spain, which is largely the reason that the US was able to beat them last year. Sorry America, but we’re fooling ourselves if we think the best team won that game.

Brazil

Pros: Another clear favorite. Brazil won the Confederations Cup (which is often seen as the preliminary to the World Cup), and always performs well at the World Cup.

History is on their side. They’ve won more cups than any other country and have always gone in being a favorite.

Cons: Brazil, like Spain, is another team to beat, and that is something that has gone against them at times in the past.

They bring in a much less experienced squad than they did last time around. Coach Dunga kicked out most of the older players in favor of a new generation. Although they seem to work well together, the downside is that they don’t have the kind of star power they once did.

Argentina

Pros: Argentina, unlike Spain, brings in some serious star power. Many of the best strikers in the world this season were Argentineans: Leonel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Diego Milito and Gonzalo Higuain, just to name a few.

People don’t expect them to win. They only barely qualified for the World Cup, and general consensus is that they will not perform well. This means that the players have something to prove, and if you get this bunch motivated, they can achieve just about anything.

Cons: They are facing a similar problem to the Republican National Committee: They have an inept leader that they can’t fire. However, for Argentina it’s not because they don’t want to look racist, but because their coach is one of the greatest players of all time: Maradona. He was a great player, yes, but he’s not a very good coach and they’d have been smart to sack him months ago.

Many players don’t play up to their full potential when playing for Argentina; the main one being Messi. Leo Messi is an amazing footballer, but he has yet to shine for his home country. Let’s hope he pulls some magic out from under his sleeve this year.

And there you have it folks; my last article before the World Cup. Please remember that this is all opinion, and that there is a very good chance I’ll end up being wrong. Who knows, maybe the U.S. will surprise the world?

…Nah…

Gordon Barratt


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I've been writing this column for a while, close to a year and a half. I've written personal stuff, reflections on my own sporting...