World Cup Contenders

Below are the 5 teams I believe have the best shot at winning the 2010 World Cup.

TOP OF THE CLASS

#1. Spain: on paper, they look like an All-Star team… Torres, Xavi, Casillas, Pique, Fabregas, Puyol, Sergio Ramos, Iniesta, Villa, etc. Throw in the Euro 2008 crown and their 35 match unbeaten run and you have a team that has to be considered World Cup favorites. Vicente del Bosque can surely handle the pressure, and will get the most out of his players in South Africa.

#2. Brazil: some think that Ronaldinho’s exclusion from the Brazilian WC squad is no big deal. But having watched him in action this year, I’ll be the first to tell you that he is still a valuable player. Even so, guys like Kaka and Fabiano will be able to handle tough teams like Portugal and Ivory Coast, and Brazil’s defense looks the best it has in years (see Maicon, Lucio, Dani Alves, etc.) Dunga will likely have them contending for the title, no doubts.

#3. Netherlands: probably one of the younger squads in the tourney, but also one of the most balanced. The Oranje boast some exciting play-makers that can score in an instant. Their defensive record is also quite sound. If Robben, Sneijder, Van Persie, and Kuyt can get on the goal-sheet, then the Dutch side are looking like sneaky contenders.

#4. England: most people tend to think their success rides largely on Wayne Rooney, but Peter Crouch, Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard all have a history of scoring goals in international play. their back line of Ferdinand, Terry, Cole, and Johnson makes it one of the stronger defenses in the competition. Throw in Fabio Capello and England’s chances of ending the anguish look fairly good

#5. Italy: never count out the defending champs. While the Azzurri don’t play the most exciting brand of football, their strategies are sound, and their experience is unrivaled. A squad that boasts 9 players with more than 30 caps is very impressive, and their veterans have already appeared to bring along the youngsters. Although they are four years older, and appear to be losing a step, they’re still the defending champs.

JUST MISSING THE CUT

Germany: The loss of Michael Ballack is killer. Despite his drop in form, Die Mannschaft will surely be missing a crucial leader on the pitch. Guys like Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Lukas Podolski should carry the team but the skipper’s injury will have a huge impact

Argentina: despite Maradona’s antics, it looks like La Albiceleste is ready to roar in the Cup. When your squad features names like Messi, Mascherano, Higuain, Tevez, and Aguero the goals are sure to come in bunches. But the names on defense are a bit less renowned, which is critical in this competition

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