Monday, August 3, 2009

World Cup Favorites, 310 Days Out

About six weeks ago, Brazil midfielder Kaka happened to drop the name of "England" into a discussion about favorites to win the 2010 World Cup, and of course the English media spotted it immediately.

The self-styled Masters of the Game always fancy themselves favorites to win the Big Event -- sometimes right up to the moment when they don't even qualify for it, as in 1994, 1978 and 1974.

Anyway, Kaka has his list of favorites, 310 days out.

But we also have our own. We will pick five, in the order of likelihood of winning. (The odds are our own, and not how the gambling public will place its bets.)

1. Brazil, 2-1 (When the World Cup is played outside Europe, Brazil has to be the favorite.)

2. Spain, 5-2 (Yeah, winning the Euro 2008 title was nice, and Spain has been rolling for several years now -- that Confederations Cup loss to the United States, notwithstanding -- but Espana has a long history of collapsing in World Cups, so we can't consider it "most likely" to win in South Africa.)

3. Germany 4-1 (Always rises to the occasion for the big tournaments. Always mentally tough and in marvelous physical condition.)

4. Italy, 6-1 (Defending champs looked old and shaky in the Confederations Cup, but no one is more cynically brilliant at milking results out of World Cup than the Azzurri.)

5. Netherlands, 10-1 (Already has qualified, and the usual collection of great attacking players could be ready to win their first World Cup.)


6. Argentina, 12-1. (First, that dope Diego Maradona has to get Argentina into the tournament. Maybe the country can find a real coach, and if it does, these odds will go down, because if Brazil doesn't win it, and the Euros freak out at playing in Africa, Argentina is the logical choice to take it all.

7. France, 12-1. (Again, they have to qualify first, but this is a side that has played with confidence and skill for most of the past decade and change -- aside from that meltdown in 2002.)

8. Ivory Coast, 15-1. (We suspect at least one African team is going to make a deep run into the tournament, and this is our choice.)

And what of England?

Any side that can't seem to find a competent second forward to pair with Wayne Rooney (and no, Peter "The Stork" Crouch doesn't count) and apparently will start creaky ol' David Beckham at right mid ... well, that's not a real contender.

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