Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lady Luck Is The 12th Man

The build up to the 2010 World Cup intensifies as each day passes and it seems like every new day brings another crippling injury for one country or another. This is the uncontrollable element that can have as much bearing on where the Jules Rimet Trophy ends up as quality of squad.

Italy & France were not the best two sides in Germany 06. How many seemingly limited German sides have reached the latter stages time after time? A large slice of luck is often required to win a major trophy and this extends to keeping the best players fit and healthy as well as getting the rub of the green at crucial times.

Luck is not a notion that England have been particularly familiar with in recent tournaments. From Sol's ruled out goals, to Beckham's petulance, through Ronaldo's wink to penalty shoot out heartache. Pre tournament injuries that have scuppered best plans (Owen & Rooney to give a couple of recent examples. Keegan & Robson if you look back further).

Rio Ferdinand's dodgy knee has put him out of the picture for England and seriously dampens the hope that this might be our year; that the tide might finally have turned and that Lady Luck was on the English flight to Rustenburg. It's a huge blow, and although it gives the solid Michael Dawson a deserved chance, the look on Capello's face said it all. Steven Gerrard will take over the captaincy.

England aren't the only country to suffer the loss of their captain - Germany have lost their own leader & talisman, Michael Ballack. Ghana have had to leave behind their driving force, Michael Essien. Serbia lost Ivica Dragutinovic. Didier Drogba has fractured his arm and is extremely doubtful for Ivory Coast. Italy's Andrea Prilo is facing three weeks out, and Spain are keeping everything crossed that Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas can recover in time to play a major part in their matches. These are all players that are virtually impossible to replace.

When trying to pick out potential winners in South Africa it might pay to look at those teams with the least disruption. Who has had no injuries, who has done well in warm up games and played a settled side that the manager feels is his best. This stability will be a large factor in the chances of the leading nations - Netherlands & Germany for example.

The first game is almost upon us and the excitement & anticipation is building but listen carefully and in amongst all the hullabaloo you will hear occasional cries of "oh no! not again!" as key players drop to the floor, are carted off to the hospital and out of the 2010 World Cup.

BruiseLee

Post blog note: Arjen Robben is the latest player to give his country a major scare. After scoring twice as a second half substitute in a 6-1 rout of Hungary, Robben hurt his hamstring in the closing minutes and will go for a scan to reveal the extent of the damage. Dutch chances rest heavily on the shoulders of the Bayern Munich winger and he will be a massive loss should he not make it to South Africa. Nigeria also lost key midfielder, John Obi Mikel, on Saturday as the Chelsea player failed to recover from a knee injury. Yet another important player, Wilson Palacios, is a major doubt for Honduras after being stretchered off with a shin injury.

2 comments:

Sean O'Conor said...

I think Italy were the best side in 2006, Brazil in 2002 and 1994, Germany in 1990, while France and Brazil were the best two in 1998. While luck clearly plays its big part, the best teams seem to win the cup.

Nicko said...

Hi, I agree with you totally.
I've just started a new football blog and would be grateful if you could follow it.
Thanks