FIFA World Cup - 2010 :: Leading teams

Dr Kh Ajit Singh *

If the first round of FIFA World Cup 2010 saw the outster of France - 1998 winners, the finalists of the 2006 edition and Euro 2000 winners and holders Italy, four times world champions, the second round did see the humbling of England - 1966 champions by Germany (4-1), and the tearful elimination of the fancied Portuguese (0-1) by Spain the European champions.

Having won their second round matches, Uruguay and Argentina, two times World Champions, Netherlands, runners of 1974 and 1978 and Paraguay entering the round of eight for the first time stormed into the quarterfinals clashing respectively with Ghana, - the lone African survivor, Germany - three times world champions, Brazil - five times world champions and Spain - the reigning European champions.

It is wonderful that you have been watching football matches in a World Cup in which the participating teams are all strong. It is amazing to look back at how South Korea and Japan stormed into the second round and how the latter forced Paraguay to a penalty shoot-out.

In football as played today, the strikers are to find or create space in the opponent’s defence area which is tightly locked with some kind of codes, only to be able to shoot. The forwards supported by mid-fielders or even by the defenders are to find possible ways to decode the defence code only to be able to score.

Quater-finalists Goals Scored Goals Conceded
Spain 5 2
Paraguay 3 1
Uruguay 6 1
Netherlands 7 2
Ghana 4 3
Germany 9 2
Brazil 8 2
Argentina 10 2

From the number of goals scored and conceded almost all the teams qualified for the quarter-finals seem to be strong both in the attack and defence, except Ghana appearing comparatively weaker in defence.

From the way they play and also from their winning spree, Uruguay, Germany, Brazil and Argentina look strong in all departments. The reigning European champions Spain, eliminated by USA in the confederation cup 2009, and having conceded a defeat (0-1) against Switzerland in the first round, have been proved beatable but the improved forms of David Villa and game maker Iniesta bring back hope to the artistic team.

Two times World Champions Uruguay and Paraguay- the surprise qualifiers to the round of eight do not appear strong challengers atleast from the records. But the Uruguayans led by the charismatic Diego Forlan look stronger than the Jone African survivors Ghana known for strong team character and physical strength.

Netherlands - runners in 1974 and 1978 World Cups and European champions in 1988, in the Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Rijkard era, are looking good in form but it may be a little too much for the Dutch to overcome Brazils dancing in the Sambha beats.

Coaches Maradona and Dunga are World Cup winners as captains in 1986 and 1994 respectively and both hope to win the World Cup as coach. Joachim Low has a longer experience as a coach and has already guided Germany to the semi-final of World Cup 2006 and to the final of Euro 2008.

In this World Cup, probably, Joachim Low’s Germans are the strongest team and Maradona’s La Albiceleste are the most beautiful. Their clash in the quarter-final is a little too early to happen and it’s a pity that one has to be knocked out. Traditionally strong, World rank no. 1 and five times World champions Brazil coached by Dunga though criticised back home, have been lauded and favoured to be winners.

If the Germans have the resilience, speed and tactics, the Argentines and Brazilians have the quality, talents and skill. Results of the matches are probably heading for a final show down between winners of Argentina Vs Germany match against the record five times world-champions Brazil.

*** This article was written before the Quater-final matches were played in the FIFA World Cup 2010.

* Dr Kh Ajit Singh wrote this article for Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on July 03, 2010.

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