The countdown to South Africa 2010 may have started but there is still plenty of time for
surprises to take place in terms of team selections and final squad lists. Coaches may spring a
surprise or two and call upon unfamiliar names or perhaps the likes of the erratic Raymond Domenech
will pick some unknown players.
Below is a list of teams with some quality players which will unfortunately miss the World Cup
Ireland- The Irish team may not be the most talented to miss out on
qualification but certainly was unjustly eliminated by France. The Ireland squad is not as deep as
other but has talented players such as Aiden McGeady who plays as a winger and/or forward for
Following the controversial decision to allow France's goal to stand as Thierry Henry clearly
handled the ball prior to assisting William Gallas, it is only normal to have increased complaints
and ever growing displeasure at the level of refereeing.
Watch the Thierry Henry handball video from the France versus Ireland game here. In the analysis
by Irish TV station RTE, the pundits dissect the controversial moment in the game and analyze
whether it should have been offside or not and whether the video of the Thierry Henry handball
shows if he cheated on purpose or not.
French striker Thierry Henry committed a blatant handball against Ireland today in the World Cup
Qualifier which led to a goal by William Gallas and sent France to the 2010 World Cup, leaving
Ireland's dreams dashed and Irish football supporters feeling understandably bitter.
The blatant handball by Henry was disgraceful and a horrible way to send Ireland out of the
World Cup qualifying.
Spain have just launched their home jersey for the 2010 World Cup and the design has a 1980s
feel about it. Adidas have once again manufactured this World Cup kit, which is the usual red with
a hint of blue on the sleeve and neck areas, and yellow Adidas stripes up the arms and shoulders.
The Adidas logo is featured on the top centre part of the shirt and the Spanish badge is on the
left of the shirt.
Scotland suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Wales at the weekend to signal the end of George
Burley's Scotland career after only 22 months in charge. This was not the first time that Burley's
position as Scotland manager had come under scrutiny, however where he had been given more time
previously, time had well and truly run out for him this time around.
The following list of elite midfield players in the world will exclude the likes of Lionel
Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka since they sometimes play as forwards or as support strikers
depending on the strategy deployed by their team. Kaka has previously played as a second striker
during his spell with Milan while both Messi and Ronaldo have played in various attacking positions
for their club (mostly on the wing though).
At the Olympic Stadium, Greece drew 0-0 with Ukraine in the first leg of their World Cup
playoff. Tomorrow night, the 2nd leg with take place at another Olympic Stadium, this time in Kyiv.
It really should be a tough affair with it all to play for and a place in the tournament in South
In the modern world of football, Europe is the most powerful confederation in FIFA and its a
shame that FIFA's most powerful confederation doesn't lead the way in how it runs its World Cup
When it comes to World Cup qualifying, Europe can look to other FIFA confederations on how it
should be done.
On Saturday night, Russia defeated Slovenia 2-1 in the first leg of their World Cup Playoff, in
Russia. Russia had gone 2-0 up, thanks to a double from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, however Slovenia
scored in the 88th minute with a goal from Nejc Pecnik, that has kept the Slovenians alive in the
tie, especially with a crucial away goal.
A number of players can stake a claim for being part of the best team in the world at this early
period of the European domestic leagues. However, very few players standout the way those listed
below have in terms of their contribution to their team, their role as leaders, and certainly their
crucial involvement in their respective clubs.
Ever since I started watching football many years ago now, when it came time for the World Cup,
Spain were always considered a dangerous threat by many pundits that they would win the tournament,
only to let everyone down time and time again. Spain are likely to have one of the best selling
World Cup Jerseys in the tournament, but the best they have finished is 4th place in a World Cup
and that was in 1950.
The drama of World Cup qualifying reaches its apex in the next 7 days as the final spots for
South Africa 2010 will be set.Â Nations will be paralyzed as their teams fight for footballing
glory.Â The CONCACAF vs. CONMEBOL playoff features Los Ticos of Costa Rica vs.
The first legs of the European World Cup play-offs took place yesterday (Saturday) and Russia,
Portugal and France all take slender advantages into their second legs.
Portugal managed to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in Lisbon in their first leg.Â With Cristiano
Ronaldo ruled out of the tie through injury the Portuguese had to rely on the likes of Simao
Sabrosa, Liedson and Deco for their creative spark but all three were guilt of below-par
In football attacking players often get most of the praise when their team is achieving results
while players in other positions are often overlooked. Defenders are typically ignored when
accolades and awards are given out, yet it would be wrong to underestimate the contribution and
influenceÂ of key defensive players such asÂ Italy's Paolo Maldini or France's Lilian Thuram, just
to name a couple of outstanding talents.
On Saturday 14th November 2009, Portugal play Bosnia-Herzegovina in the first leg of their World
Cup playoff. This is a really tough one to predict for me, as Portugal have really struggled in the
group stage and Bosnia appear to have a strong side. Sports retailers will certainly be hoping for
a Portuguese victory, as they are likely to be one of the best selling World Cup Jerseys likely to
be among the best selling kits next summer.
The World Cup is almost set in terms of the teams that will qualify and once the play-offs are
completed it will be clear whether the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Franck Ribery
will be present or missing. In the meantime, Sweden's talented forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic will
certainly not be going to the World Cup after his country failed to qualify from the same group
which saw eventual winners Denmark earn automatic qualification and runners-up Portugal reach the
The Republic of Ireland will take on France in the World Cup play-offs which commence next
weekend in what will be an intriguing clash between the shrewd Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni
and the much-maligned French national team coach Raymond Domenech.
Trapattoni's record speaks for itself with successful spells almost everywhere he coached yet
his most notable job prior to taking over Ireland ended in miserable failure with the Azzurri.
With much of the qualification process almost complete and South Africa 2010 looming large, it
would make sense to assess some of the world's best custodians who will be present during the World
Cup. Goalkeepers such as Petr Cech will be excluded from the discussion since their nation failed
to qualify for next summer's big event.
David Beckham journey continues as recent confirmed reports in Italy suggest that he is on his way
back to AC Milan for another loan deal. We have witnessed in the past big players moving from their
clubs like Brazilian legend Ronaldo moved from Inter Milan to Real Madrid, Luis Figo from Barcelona
to Read Madrid, Andriy Shevchenko from AC Milan to Chelsea, Thierry Henry from Arsenal to
Barcelona, recently Kaka from AC Milan to Real Madrid and other big players had to move from one
club to another at some stage of their careers.
Portugal will most likely be missing Cristiano Ronaldo when it hosts Bosnia-Herzegovina on
11/14/09 as it looks to build some momentum prior to the return leg in Bosnia on the 18th of
November. Unfortunately for the Portuguese the latest report claims Ronaldo will be out for about a
month which means he will not feature in both matches for the national team.
Of the European World Cup play-offs I would argue that the Republic of Ireland's fixture against
France is the pick of the ties.Â The Irish have shown a great battling spirit in their
qualification campaign so far, drawing twice with Italy and narrowly missing out on defeating the
Italians particular highlights.