Friday, May 26, 2006

Sorry We Won't Be Seeing You
By Imtiaz Mussa

Keep it here at Sportszilla as in the coming weeks, we will get you prepared for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The first match takes place on June 9th.

With the World Cup just two weeks away, it is time to remember those who will not be taking part. So I decided to create a starting XI of players who will be missing out whether their country did not qualify or they were left off the squad for some reason.

Goalkeeper: Victor Valdes (Spain)
All the man does is help Barcelona win La Liga and the Champions League and he does not even make the squad? I know Iker Casillas is locked into the number one and he is deserving of it but Valdes was at least better than Canizares and Reina.

Martin Demichelis (Argentina)
The defender only makes the team because of his dramatic response in reaction to hearing about his omission by saying he had ‘lost the will to live.’ Since he can also play in midfield, he would have been a versatile part of the Argentine attack.

Traianos Dellas (Greece)
He was a key part of the Greek team that shocked the world when they won Euro 2004 but unfortunately, they came crashing back down to Earth as they could not qualify for the World Cup. Nevertheless, it would have been fun to watch him.

Javier Zanetti (Argentina)
He used to be the captain but that doesn’t matter as he was overlooked. In a debate over who is the best right back in the past decade, Zanetti’s name should be included.

Mariano Pernia (Spain)
So much for gaining Spanish citizenship. This Argentine born left back had a good year at Getafe and appeared to be lock to make it. Manager Luis Aragones makes another mistake.

Ruben Baraja (Spain)
A tough-tackling midfielder who helped Valencia to third in La Liga was also left out. Valencia teammate David Albelda said, "It leaves a bad taste in my mouth that Ruben won't be going." Albeda is heading to Germany and did not offer his spot to Baraja.

Edgar Davids (Holland)
It’s a shame that the man infamous for his hair and his glasses will not be heading to Germany. But it represents a time in Dutch football where the old generation must step to the side and let the new guys get a taste of the spotlight.

Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal)
Tottenham fans will remember what he didn’t do for the club when they bought him a few years ago. Porto fans remember that he helped the club win the league and the cup. Unfortunately, Fulham’s Luis Boa Morte was selected ahead of him.

Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon)
He is the best player not going to the World Cup. If you saw the Champions League final or any of Barcelona’s matches this season, you would know just how good of a finisher he is. Too bad Cameroon couldn’t make it.

Obafemi Martins (Nigeria)
It’s a shame that Nigeria did not qualify because it would have been his chance to break out. He is a solid striker at Inter Milan but is caught in the shadow of Adriano. His celebrations after scoring are fun to watch.

Fernando Morientes (Spain)
By now, you must think I have something against the team that manager Luis Aragones picked. In all honesty, this shows just how much talent Spain has yet for some reason, they can’t put it together in international competition. Morientes has scored 26 goals in 43 games for Spain.

The Man Doesn’t Have a Country: Salomon Kalou
The 20-year-old Feyenoord striker, who was born in the Ivory Coast has been trying to obtain a Dutch passport will have to sit out. Kalou did not fulfil the criteria for fast-track citizenship and would therefore have to retake a Dutch language and culture test, which he has already failed once. Kalou rejected several invitations to join the Ivory Coast national squad last year, even though his brother Bonaventure is a key player in the side. He has made it clear he wants to win a World Cup with the Dutch team.

Other News
United States defender Cory Gibbs has been ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury. The 26-year-old sustained the injury in the US’ loss against Morocco on Tuesday, and tests have suggested he will be out for a month. Gregg Berhalter has been called up as a replacement. Look for Eddie Lewis to take Gibbs’ spot in the starting lineup.

USA captain Claudio Reyna was a relieved man after an MRI scan on his right hamstring revealed no muscle damage. Although no date has been set for his return he is expected to be ready for the United States' opening game against the Czech Republic in Gelsenkirchen on June 12.

Wayne Rooney will find out whether he has a chance to play in the World Cup finals when he learns the result of the scan on his broken foot on Friday. Specialists will analyze the result with Manchester United's assistant team doctor Tony Gill before informing England's team doctor Leif Sward.

England’s B team lost to Belarus 2-1 as their first World Cup warm-up game was spoiled by an injury that is set to rule out Robert Green for the finals. In the second half Green ruptured his groin making a save and when he took a goal-kick he collapsed, allowing Vitaly Kutuzov to sidefoot an equalizer. Michael Owen had helped set up Jermaine Jenas' goal to give England the lead before he was replaced by Arsenal teenager Theo Walcott. While Owen was eager to prove his fitness, the likes of Aaron Lennon, Stewart Downing, Michael Carrick and Jenas were also hoping to impress, with the start of the World Cup only two weeks away.

Serbia and Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic is in danger of missing the World Cup this summer after damaging knee ligaments. Vucinic picked up the injury in an under-21 European Championship match against Germany on Tuesday. Expected to be an understudy to Mateja Kezman at the tournament, Vucinic burst on to the scene in 2005-06 with 19 goals for Italian club Lecce.

Spain and Chelsea defender Asier del Horno is in danger of missing the World Cup after suffering an ankle injury in training. He has damaged the area around the Achilles tendon in his left ankle. The 22-year-old joined Chelsea for £8m from Basque club Athletic Bilbao in June 2005.

French reserve goalkeeper Gregory Coupet stormed out of France's pre-World Cup training camp after a dispute over rival Fabien Barthez, before deciding to return. A source close to the team said Coupet had argued with manager Raymond Domenech. The Olympique Lyon goalkeeper was apparently upset because Barthez failed to complete a hike up an Alpine glacier, saying he had a sore calf.

Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes has returned to Spain to join Valencia for an undisclosed fee. The 30-year-old former Real Madrid striker has only been at Anfield for 16 months, but managed to score just 12 goals in 61 games. His disappointing season was capped when he was left out of the Spanish squad for this summer's World Cup.

Crystal Palace have accepted an £8.5 million offer from Bolton Wanderers for striker Andy Johnson. Bolton’s offer matches that made by Wigan Athletic just 24 hours earlier as the race for the England international heats up. Johnson scored 22 goals in Palace’s lone Premiership season (2004-05). Everton and Portsmouth are also thought to be heavily interested but will have to increase their bids.


Blogger Aaron G. said...

How did you leave Pele off this list. I'm outraged!!

6:18 PM  

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