Monday, February 27, 2006

World Cup News - February 27

What would a World Cup year be without folks talking about who is going to walk away with the great golden trophy? Just today we have Argentinean great Diego Maradona saying it is Brazil's to loose, while Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira thinks Germany will be the "most difficult" opponent, Zinedine Zidane saying that winning in '98 only to crash out of '02 makes France a determined side and Bolton Wanderers midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata believes Japan have the potential to get through a tricky first-round group and go all the way to the final and win the 2006 World Cup.

Iran is playing it a little safe by not planning on winning the cup, instead hoping to get into the knockout round.

You have got to love this hopeful time.

While fans are watching all these teams, they will be asked not to smoke, but the Germans will not be vigilant about it as security will not enforce a smoking ban. So why have a ban if you are telling everyone four months ahead of it that you will not enforce it?

So you might see smoking at the Cup, but you might not see the Ivory Coast. The president of the Ivorian Football Federation is trying to use the game to bring about peace in his war-ravaged homeland saying that the Elephants might not go to Germany if the fighting continues. Here's hoping the weapons fall away in favor of soccer balls.

Ivory Coast will see action this Wednesday along with 29 of the other 31 teams going to Germany. The only teams not playing are Togo and Australia.

Brazil will face Russia on Wednesday, but they will do it without Barcelona forward Ronaldinho. He is out due to an ankle injury. Also out for Brazil are defenders Cafu and Roque Junior and goalkeepers Dida and Julio Cesar.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson says there are still places available on the World Cup roster. He says he has identified '19 or 20' players, which leaves at least 3-4 places open. Eriksson has also warned the English FA against delaying the selection of his replacement past the World Cup.

Finally, Nashville will get a chance to host the US men on Tuesday, May 23rd. This will be the first game in a three game "send off" series ahead of the trip across the Atlantic. This marks the first time US men's soccer has come to the state of Tennessee. The other two 'send off' matches will be on the 26th & 28th. No cities have been named for those two dates nor have any opponents been set for any of the dates. By the way, Scaryice over at Climbing the Ladder points out that Tennessee will be the 25th state to host a men's game.

Just 102 days till kickoff...


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