Brazil, Spain most potent
The WEEKEND NATION, in association with Digicel, continues to present its series with former England striker and Liverpool star John Barnes.
Barnes, who was also head coach of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics in the Caribbean last year, gives our readers his analysis of the World Cup, which kicks off today in South Africa, and runs until July 11.
Digicel is the official regional broadcast sponsor for the 2010 World Cup.
EARLIER this week, there was some bad news on the injury front with England suffering a massive loss in the form of Rio Ferdinand, who injured a ligament in his knee in training.
Losing their captain like this is a big blow, but I feel England have enough cover at the centre back position to cope without him.
The Ivory Coast also suffered an injury with Didier Drogba fracturing his upper right arm in a collision with Japanese defender Tulio during last Friday’s friendly in Switzerland.
While Drogba has undergone surgery on his arm, the Ivory Coast’s FA has still not ruled him out of the tournament. If he doesn’t recover in time, however, it would be a big blow to this African nation.
My main focus this week is choosing the best attacking teams in the tournament, and I would have to go with Brazil and Spain.
Brazil have Kaka, Robinho and Melo – who, in my opinion, make up the best attacking side in the tournament, as seen in Monday night’s 5-1 thrashing of Tanzania. With Spain, you have David Silva and Jesus Navas who are excellent attacking midfielders.
Both of Brazil and Spain’s attacking midfielders can score goals from anywhere on the pitch and I believe they pose the most threat in this tournament.
Other players who are good in attack are England’s Gerrard and Lampard; Argentina’s Tavez, Milito, Messi, and Higuain; Portugal’s Ronaldo – the most expensive player in the world, who I believe will have a major impact on the tournament; however, I fear his team won’t be able to back him up.
Brazil have Fabiano and Elano, and Spain have Villa. Cameroon and Holland have some of Inter Milan’s treble-winning players although they also don’t have the teams to back them up.
There really is an abundance of attacking talent on show, so it is very difficult to select the best from such a large pool but if I had to, in midfield I would go for Felipe Melo, Kaka, Messi, and Gerrard as the starting quartet. David Silva and Frank Lampard would be the two in reserve.
Up front, my two form players are Ronaldo and Tavez, so I would select them as the starting two. Drogba would have been in the running but for his injury.
Although Ronaldo might not play as an out-and-out striker for his club, he can play that position and has done so on many occasions to great effect.
If Argentina can get on a run in the tournament, Tevez wouldn’t be a bad bet for the Golden Boot award.
David Villa and Torres from Spain would be more than adequate back-ups.My pre-tourney squad:Goalkeeper: Casillas
Defence: Cole, Vidic, Lucio, Maicon
Midfield: Melo, Kaka, Gerard, Messi
Forward: Tavez, Ronaldo
Reserves: Buffon, Carvalho, Eboue, Silva, Lampard, Villa, Torres.