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Video: Flip Shirt Fantasy World Cup 2010 Style

Posted by Walker Wednesday, June 9, 2021

With less that 48 hours to go until this year's World Cup down in South Africa anticipation is high and rising.

Some interesting facts arriving via email include;

- Italy are not taking any risks with the South African food supply and will be packing,




  • 250kg pasta, 
  • 200kg parmesan, 
  • 400kg peeled tomatoes, 
  • 200 litres of virgin olive oil, 
  • 60kg coffee and 
  • 40 hams on their travels.

- 58 percent of Azzurri goals were scored from set-pieces during the 2006 World Cup for the current Champions.

- Finally, creative invention keeps getting better and better in the world of football and to prove it check out our flip shirt video with Holland fans who flip their tees only to show us their Ruut Van Nisteldrroy faces or is it van der Vaart?  Sorry you know which one I'm talking about but Mrs. Van dar Vart gets more web traffic ;) 


DISCLAIMER : Do not reverse while driving

I've been waiting and waiting for my cultzeros shirt (courtesy of our sister site Futbolita) but apparently the mail service from the UK is God awful. So can anyone tell me where to find the company that sells and delivers this flip shirt in 24 hours?


















brillant idea but surely done before.

Lionel Messi Under the Microscope For Argentina

Posted by Walker Monday, June 7, 2021
OGN writer/Juan Arango from our SimplyFutbol site
One can make the case that never in the history of football has a player had the amount of pressure that Lio Messi has on his shoulders right now.

It's hard to say that it's easy for a 22-year-old to not only start to come into his peak years, but also be at the verge of reaching Mount Olympus status and at the same time carry the fears, angst, and hopes and dreams of a football-rabid nation on his shoulders.   He is the barren of all 40 million Argentines' hopes of this World Cup being the place where they end 24 years of heartbreaking exits for the Albiceleste.

In Argentina, the expectations of what Lio Messi can do and has to do are in some cases disproportionate.  He can dominate a game, I really don't have to go into specifics on that one as his body of work says more than any amalgamation of words that I can conjure up.

Not even Pelé and Maradona had such a high degree of expectations that they had to deal with in their respective virtuoso performances of 1970 and 1986. 

Ok, given Messi's teammates might be better than Diego's supporting cast, especially up front; at the same time they will probably never reach the level of Rivelino, Tostão, Jairzinho, and the rest of that cast of Pelé's great Canarinha side.  

The big question mark in all of this is how he will fit in with the team, better yet... how the team will fit with him. This is the biggest question mark.  Where is he going to play?  Where is he going to have to move towards?  How will his teammates move around?  Will his teammates clean up areas for him? 

These are questions constantly being asked obviously because the bar has been set so high, for better or worse, by Messi himself.  Seeing him do what he did the past two seasons, people don't know what is coming up next.   That's why in many circles there is this love-hate relationship with "La Pulga".   People want him to do what he does with Barca. 

The reality of it all is that Verón and Di María do not have the movement and ability of Iniesta and Xavi.  It sounds almost unfair to say something like that because Di María was just outstanding in Benfica's run to the Portuguese league title.  Real Madrid want him for a reason.  The same goes for Tevez, Agüero, Higuaín, Milito, Mascherano, Zanetti and Cambiasso (oops, my bad they aren't on the team... Why? I STILL don't know). His national team companions have a different dynamic compared to what he plays with at Barca.   The key will be how to synergize all of this talent and have them meet halfway.  I'm sure that's a problem that ANY coach in the world would like to have.

Verón is just super solid in every aspect of the game and has been the best player in South America the past two years.  He is the only player in this World Cup that will be able to relate to Messi to a degree.  It was just eight years ago, when Verón was going to be the star of Japan/Korea and lead prohibited favorite Argentina to their third title only to see them get dumped in the group stage.

One thing is for sure, if Argentina do not succeed, definitely blame the coach for not bringing in the players that should have been there as well as implementing the proper concept.

Who am I kidding? 

The reality in the eyes of the fans will be that it was Messi's fault. He does not give his all to the national team because he feels "more identified" with Barcelona and that he "is Catalan" and no longer an "Argentine".   They will also factor in the fact that the jersey was "too much for him".  The usual line of garbage that you heard when things don't go their way.
TuttoSport frontpage 05.07.10
Tuttosport
Juve: the new Nedved arrival
Marseille tempt Gilardino
deal already reached with Krasic
Napoli launch bid for Fred
Tension rises between Miccoli and Palermo
Toro masterpiece

Gazzetta dello Sport frontpage 05.07.10
Gazzetta dello Sport
Moratti will sell Maicon for €35m?
Operation BEN-INTER
Benitez signs for three-years at €5m a season
Staff reduced to three-men
Objectives: Mascherano and Cavani
Juve center on Criscito
Chiellini set to renew until 2015
Great Play-off Final between Torino and Brescia
Lippi: “I want 11 Schiavones” (tell him we've got Dov at serieaweekly)

Corriere dello sport frontpage 05.07.10
Corriere dello Sport
Milan and Juve, how much business!
Huntelaar and Oddo for Sissoko and Poulsen
And then Mancini and Caceres…
Lippi has only three days to re-make Italy
Rossi: “I refused Fiorentina for my Palermo”
Benitez to Inter official within 48 hours
City offer €18m for Kolarov
Adriano arrives and signs for Roma
Napoli in Rio to sign Fred
The Miss Germany Corporation recently staged the Miss World Cup 2010 or “Frau der Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft” competition.

The pageant took place on June 5th at the Europa Park in Rust, Germany.  It featured contestants representing each of the 32 teams taking part in FIFA World Cup 2010.

Miss Argentina, 17-year old Jennifer Scherman from Münster (Nordrhein-Westfalen), Germany, took first place with Katerina Giannoglou (Miss Greece) and Avalon-Chanel Weijzig (Miss Netherlands) taking second and third respectively.

Judges for Miss WM 2010 included Edwige Madze Badakou (Miss WM 2006), Anne Julia Hagen (Miss Germany 2010) and Roy Makaay (former Netherlands and Bayern München striker).

Here are several pictures and video of the lovelys,  bow chicka bow bow.





With Italy suffering an embarrassing defeat to Mexico during the week all eyes were on Marcello Lippi's Azzurri for the bounce back in the last friendly encounter against Switzerland before leaving for South Africa.

The Azzurri looked shaky in the middle and the absence of the injured Andrea Pirlo only seemed to make matters worse.

Udinese's Gokhan Inler opened the scoring early against a disorganized Italian squad, beating sprawling second choice keeper Federico Marchetti, while burying his strike just inside the post on the 10 minute mark.


The Italians came fighting back however and it was Fabio Quagliarella Inler's former teammate at Udinese, who leveled the scoring when his second attempt header went in off the post.

Montolivo planted a quick cross into the path of Quagliarella, and the Neapolitan did wonderfully to find the far post with a tricky headed finish.

Shortly after Switzerland almost restored their lead when Valon Behrami was given time and space to shoot from 20 yards. Fortunately for Lippi's side the West Ham man could only blast into the path of Gianluca Zambrotta who deflected the danger away from goal.

On the stroke of halftime Italy almost got their noses in front when Giampaolo Pazzini lunged into the path of a loose ball at the back post. The Doria hitman went agonizingly close to making contact, but he couldn't stretch the final inch necessary to tap the ball into the back of the net.
Two bad teams

During the second period the visitors enjoyed more of the possession but neither merited the victory as they both failed to create any clear cut chances to score. The Azzurri went away with a well fought draw and went some way to regaining pride following their disappointing defeat two days earlier.







23-man Italy World Cup Squad:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari)

Defenders: Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa) Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan)

Midfielders: Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria)

Forwards: Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Simone Pepe (Udinese); Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria)











Guest writer/James Dielhenn
Japan have confirmed themselves as a team expected to feature at the World Cup after they qualified for their fourth consecutive tournament, the only four they have competed at in their history.

A major force in Asian football, Japan easily qualified for this summer’s showpiece in South Africa, only losing one game to Australia throughout their campaign. Takeshi Okada returned to manage Japan after the 2006 World Cup after the team failed to progress beyond the group stage. He was previously in charge of Japan’s first ever World Cup team in 1998, where they were also eliminated at the group stage.

Okada said: “We are not going to change our tactics because when I set this team's basic tactical approach, it was already done with a view to winning against the world's biggest teams. Our main target in South Africa is to reach the semi-finals.”

Shunsuke Nakamura will have the most responsibility if Okada’s hugely bold prediction is to come true. This World Cup will be the last big opportunity for the former Celtic playmaker to make his mark on the big stage after he left Europe to resume his club career back home. He could be partnered in midfield by Junichi Inamoto, formerly of Arsenal and Fulham, who could occupy a holding role.

Daisuke Matsui is another big player for Okada’s side, and after missing the 2006 World Cup in Germany, he will be particularly keen to impress. Japan’s newest star, Keisuke Honda, caught the eye in this season’s Champions’ League with CSKA Moscow, and will burden the goalscoring responsibilities alongside the highly-rated Catania striker Takayuki Morimoto.

Japan have been named in a very competitive group with Holland, Cameroon and Denmark. Okada’s men will certainly be challenged to qualify from the group for only the second time in their history, after they reached the last 16 when they co-hosted the competition in 2002.

Japan’s provisional FIFA World Cup squad:

Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus), Eiji Kawashima (Kawasaki Frontale), Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata); Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F. Marinos), Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Nagoya Grampus), Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers), Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo), Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Atsuto Uchida (Kashima Antlers); Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama F. Marinos), Junichi Inamoto (Kawasaki Frontale), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Daisuke Matsui (Grenoble), Yuki Abe (Urawa Reds), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow); Keiji Tamada (Nagoya Grampus), Yoshito Okubo (Vissel Kobe), Kisho Yano (Albirex Niigata), Shinji Okazaki (Shimizu S-Pulse), Takayuki Morimoto (Catania).
What a mess this year's World Cup is starting to be, least from the missing superstar perspective.

Just heard Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba suffered a fractured right forearm in a pre-tournament match against Japan. For England No Rio Ferdinand, for Italy no Andrea Pirlo (due to miss at least the opening match against Paraguay)and no Giuseppe Rossi left at home and completely off Italian manager Lippi's list.

Another left at home is Inter Milan captain and Argentine legend, Javier Zanetti while Beckham, Ronaldinho, Adriano, Roberto Carlos, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, John Mikel Obi as well as many others are destined to watch the tournament from the the sidelines.

On to our Podcast

Welcome to the 24th episode of the OGN - RealMadridTalk podcast as our panel of La Liga analysts discuss

  • Jose Mourinho
  • Potential Real Madrid transfers
  • World Cup









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World Cup 2010 Focus: Paraguay

Posted by Scot Munroe Friday, June 4, 2021
Paraguay after failing 4 years ago in Germany are looking to put that behind them and are looking for a good campaign. But the sad news is that Paraguay will be without star striker Salvador Cabanas after he was shot in a botched robbery back in January. Cabanas still has the bullet lodged in his head and sadly his goal scoring talents will be sadly missed in South Africa.


Gerardo Martino the coach was hired after the awful display in 2006 and the Argentine has helped to rejuvenate the national team but has been criticised nationally in the press for bringing naturalised Argentines into the Paraguayan national team. This could help them in the long run.


A fantastic start to the South American World Cup Qualifying made people aware in South America of this team, but in the last 18 months there has been mixed fortunes as the team limped across qualifying and then Friendly results have been mixed a draw against the Netherlands were followed by defeat by Qatar. The talent is there for Martino to show but the results have been the sticking point. Martino has 2 ways of playing with a 4-4-2 or a 3-5-2 formation and has beaten Brazil at home 2-0 using 3 strikers. That fluidity in formation can make Paraguay very dangerous opponents.


The 3 players to watch out for would be Oscar Cardozo off Benfica is a very languid striker who has been scoring goals for fun for Benfica but has yet to show his form on the big stage and has been criticised in the press. Roque Santa Cruz may have played a small role in qualification due to his knee problems is still and wonderful eye catching striker. He may have his injury problems in the past but for Paraguay he is one of the top scorers for his country. Justo Villar the goalkeeper who has only played 8 minutes in the last 2 world cup due to injury and against England he left the pitch in tears, the Valladolid keeper has been the bright spark in the battling season.


Paraguay's 23-man Squad:


Goalkeepers: Villar(Valldolid) Barretto(Cerro Porteno) Bobadilla(Independiente Medellin)

Defenders: Rodriguez(Boca Juniors) Caniza(Leon) Da Silva(Sunderland) Veron(Pumas) Caceras(Atletico Minerio) Bonet(Olimpia) Torres(San Lorenzo) Alcaraz(FC Bruges)

Midfield: Barretto(Atalanta) Riveros(Cruz Azul) Caceras(Libertad) Vera(LDU Quito) Santana(Wolfsburg) Ortigoza(Argentina Juniors)

Strikers: Barrios(Borussia Dortmund) Santa Cruz(Manchester City) Valdez(Borussia Dortmund) Cardozo(Benfica) Gamarra(Libertad) Benitez(Toulca)
The fifth installment of our World Cup advertising series includes ITV and their version of A Little Hendrix Fire!

If you want some great panorama of past World Cup events and fans packaged with a Jimmy Hendrix sound track, simply click the video below and let me stand next to your fire.







World Cup 2010 Focus: Greece

Posted by Walker Thursday, June 3, 2021
Guest Writer/James Dielhenn 
After a shock win on home soil at Euro 2004, Greece flattered to deceive, and didn’t even qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Otto Rehhagel led Greece to that huge win, but his job as manager was under pressure until he oversaw victory against Ukraine in a play-off to qualify for this summer’s World Cup.

“The players have been rewarded for their incredible passion and competitive spirit. We said that before achieving success you need to have the Gods on your side,” Rehhagel said about his team’s qualification.

Rehhagel has opted to include many of the heroes of 2004. Liverpool’s Sotirios Krygiakos is the team’s best defender, but will be deputised by Evangelos Moras of Bologna, and Sokratis Papastathopolous of Genoa. Former Inter midfielder Giorgios Karagounis was instrumental in 2004 and still has the same role for Greece, alongside Alexandros Tziolis of Siena in the middle of the park. Celtic’s Giorgios Samaras will play up-front alongside Theofanis Gekas, who surprised many when he fired Greece to qualification as the top-scorer in all of Europe.

Greece have only previously played at one World Cup - America in 1994. At this tournament, they exited miserably with three losses in the group stages without scoring a goal. This time round Rehhagel has the job of bettering that, but faces the daunting prospect of Argentina, as well as Nigeria and South Korea in their group. With Argentina clear favorites, Greece will be battling for second spot. They overachieved in 2004 though, and Rehhagel will be hoping to return to those days.

Greece’s provisional FIFA World Cup squad:
Michalis Sifakis (Aris Salonika), Alexandros Tzorvas (Panathinaikos), Kostas Chalkias; Giourkas Seitaridis (Panathinaikos), Loukas Vyntra (Panathinaikos), Evangelos Moras (Bologna), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Genoa), Sotiris Kyrgiakos (Liverpool), Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiakos), Vasilis Torosidis (Olympiakos), Nikos Spyropoulos (Panathinaikos), Stelios Malezas (PAOK), Giorgos Tzavellas (Panionios); Kostas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos), Alexandros Tziolis (Siena), Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos), Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos), Christos Patsatzoglou (Omonia), Grigoris Makos (AEK Athens), Sakis Prittas (Aris Salonika); Angelos Charisteas (Nuremberg), Dimitris Salpiggidis (Panathinaikos), Pantelis Kapetanos (Steaua Bucharest), Theofanis Gekas (Hertha Berlin), Georgios Samaras (Celtic)

World Cup 2010 Focus: Slovakia

Posted by Jay Scardina
One of the true underdogs of the World Cup, Slovakia, were written off by many before their qualification campaign even started. With teams like the Czech Republic and Poland in their qualifying group, no one expected Slovakia to be at the top of group. With a win in Poland in October of last year, they secured their ticket to the World Cup for the first time since Czechoslovakia split into two separate nations. The team is full of young players who may lack World Cup experience, but may make up for that with youth and speed. Slovakia got a little lucky with their first World Cup draw. Before I get into that lets take a look at some of the key players and the coach for the Slovakia side.


Vladimir Weiss may be a name some remember from the days of the Czechoslovakia national team. Weiss was a great player during his time, and is now the youngest coach of any World Cup team in South Africa. This will be his first time coaching a team at the World Cup, but he has experience as a player in the 1990 World Cup. Weiss's son, Vladimir Jr., is also on the team. He was playing for Bolton, but was recently transferred to Manchester City, who have had their problems but will be in the Europa League next season. Weiss has started in the last 4 qualifying games for the national side, and his speed should help them get the ball into other teams halves. Another player for Slovakia that may sound familiar is Martin Skrtel. The Liverpool defender is sometimes known for picking up yellow cards, but there is no doubt he can be a key player in the Slovakian defense. Between the goal posts will be goalkeeper Jan Mucha, who was playing for Legia in the Polish league, but will be moving to Everton next season. Mucha turned down several offers from other clubs for a chance to play in the Premiere League. Serie A fans will recognize Marek Hamsik playing in the midfield. He has been one of Napoli's star players, and is always a threat from distance to goalkeepers. Hamsik's experience with many of the Italian squad players may give Slovakia an edge in their final group game against the defending champions. Another midfielder that will not be afraid to shoot from distance will be Miroslav Stoch. Die hard Chelsea fans may vaguely recognize the name, since he was not on the pitch often with them. However, after moving to the Netherlands and playing for FC Twente, he started every week. The experience has given him the confidence he needed to earn a spot on the Slovakian national team. A player to watch up front will be Stanislav Sestak. During the qualification games he was their top goal scorer with 6 goals. He scored both goals against Poland in one of the qualification games that became a turning point in their World Cup campaign. Although Slovakia doesn't have the biggest stars in world football, they should not be underestimated in their group.


Slovakia is in Group F, which includes Paraguay, New Zealand, and Italy. Their first game will be against New Zealand, and a win against the Kiwis will be a big boost for them. By the time Slovakia play their last group game against Italy their World Cup fate may already be sealed. Italy may look like their toughest opponent on paper, but they have failed to impress many. Compared to the Slovakian side their players are much older. I think that Paraguay will be Slovakia's toughest opponent. I say this because both teams are pretty evenly matched. Both teams have young players who are able to move the ball fast. With the World Cup being so unpredictable, the youth and speed of the Slovakian national team could be the edge they need to get past their group stage. The only thing that the team really lacks is experience at the World Cup. At this point many are not expecting them to make it past the group stage with Paraguay and Italy as the favorites to move on. Since this is the World Cup, we all know that underdogs have just as much of a chance as top rated countries. WIth the level of talent on their squad Slovakia could get 2nd place in their group. If Slovakia make it past the group stage, it will be a huge accomplishment for them and their country.

World Cup 2010 Focus: Ivory Coast's Elephants

Posted by Ryan Ross Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Ivory Coast head to South Africa this summer attending only their second World Cup Finals in the nation's history; they have a new man in charge with a wealth of experience, the Swede, Sven Goran Eriksson. Whether or not Eriksson's appointment is a good thing is debatable, his International record has seen him have two flawed World Cups with England and a horrific spell with Mexico. Then again, if anyone can spring a surprise it's Sven.
The Ivory Coast may boast a few big names in their squad, players such as Yaya Toure and his brother Kolo, Salomon Kalou of Chelsea, Didier Zokora of Sevilla and their iconic captain, the irrepressible Didier Drogba; but at the last African Cup of Nations these star names did not shine through, the team were poor and went out to Algeria 3-2 after extra-time; a result which ultimately cost previous manager Vahid Halilhodzic his job.
But Les Elephants proved they can be a force by storming to World Cup qualification leading their group and and remaining unbeaten in all 12 games. Drogba scoring 6 goals en route, including a vital brace in the match away to Malawi which clinched their place in the Finals.
Getting through their group this summer is going to be a tough task; they have been drawn in the so called "Group of Death," along with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. Eriksson will be aware his team have to at least beat Portugal or Brazil to make it through to the knockout stage. But they do have experience on their side this time, after attending Germany 2006 it's time for an African nation to succeed and Les Elephants will be hoping it's their turn.

Ivory Coast's World Cup Squad:
Boubacar BArry (Lokeren), Aristides Zogbo (Maccabi Netanya), Daniel Yeboah (ASEC Abidjan); Souleymane Bamba (Hibernian), Arthur Boka (VfB Stuttgart), Guy Demel (Hamburg SV), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal), Steve Gohouri (Wigan Athletic), Siaka Tiene (Valenciennes), Kolo Toure (Manchester City), Benjamin Brou Angoua (Valenciennes); Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso (Monaco), Abdelkader Keita (Galatasaray), Emmanuel Kone (Internaitonal Curtea Agres), Gervais Yao Kouassi (Lille), Christian Koffi Ndri/Romaric (Sevilla), Cheik Ismael Tiote (Twente Enschede), Yaya Toure (Barcelona), Didier Zokora (Sevilla); Aruna Dindane (Lekhwiya), Seydoue Doumbia (Young Boys Berne), Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea).

Marcello Lippi Names His 23-Man Squad

Posted by Walker Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Shockly left behind are Marco Borriello and Giuseppe Rossi. Also absent are the usual suspects of Antonio Cassano and young Mario Balotelli both we already knew would never make the final list. Elder statesman and Roma captain Francesco Totti also does not make an appearance in the Azzurri jersey.

Additional cuts for the 28 man roster are:
Palermo full-back Mattia Cassani, Cagliari trequartista Andrea Cossu and Palermo goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu

Italy squad
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari).

Defenders: Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Gianluca Zambrotta (AC Milan).

Midfielders: Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Simone Pepe (Udinese), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan).

Strikers: Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria), Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli).
Guest writer/James Dielhenn
The golden generation of Nigerian players is said to have been and gone, and the current crop of players missed out on the 2006 World Cup altogether. This time around, they narrowly qualified, earning the win they needed in their very last qualification group match.

Swedish coach Lars Lagerback has taken his side to South Africa, and due to their low expectations they will enter the tournament fearless. Chelsea’s Jon-Obi Mikel is a vital midfielder for Lagerback, justifying his inclusion despite missing the last part of the domestic season through injury. Whether or not Mikel will recover in time to be able to fully participate for Nigeria is a matter yet to be decided. Everton’s Joseph Yobo is another high-profile name in Lagerback’s squad, alongside Fulham’s Dickson Etuhu, who has had a remarkable season with his club. Nigeria have plenty of options up-front, including ex-Inter veteran Nwankwo Kanu, whose experience will be key for his nation’s hopes. Yobo’s Everton team-mates Yakubu Ayigbeni and Victor Anichebe are also options in attack, as well as another former Inter youth player, Obafemi Martins. Chinedu Obasi of Hoffenheim and John Utaka of Portsmouth are other well-known options in the wide areas. How Lagerback intends to balance his large number of forward-thinking players could be key to Nigeria’s chances of enjoying a good World Cup.

Obasi confessed: “We are up against some tough teams like Argentina, with top players like Lionel Messi. It's important for us to prove that we can play our own game against the best.”

As well as Argentina, the Nigerians will come up against the more modest opposition of Greece and South Korea, meaning they have a decent chance of progressing to the next round if they can rise to the occasion.

Nigeria’s provisional FIFA World Cup squad:

Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Dele Ayenugba (Beni Yehuda FC), Bassey Akpan (Bayelsa United), Austine Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikva); Taye Taiwo (Marseille), Elderson Echiejile (Rennes), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow) Onyekachi Apam (Nice), Joseph Yobo (Everton), Daniel Shittu (Bolton), Ayodele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam), Rabiu Afolabi (Salzburg), Peter Suswan (Lobi Stars); Kalu Uche (Almeria), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham), John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), Sani Kaita (Alaniya), Lukman Haruna (Monaco), Ayila Yussuf (Dynamo Kiev), Peter Osaze (Lokomotiv Moscow); Yakubu Ayegbeni (Everton), Victor Anichebe (Everton), Chinedu Obasi
Pibe de Oro/Simply Futbol - Fiorentina head coach Cesare Prandelli will be at the helm of the Italian national side once the World Cup ends.

Prandelli's contract will be for four years although there are some details of his deal that still need to be worked out. Prandelli will replace Marcelo Lippi regardless of how the Azzurri performs in South Africa this summer.

The Italian football federation will officially present Prandelli as the new head coach after the World Cup.

Prandelli spent the last five seasons with Fiorentina. Twice he was named as the best Italian club coach in Italy (2006 and 2007) as well as a Serie A Coach of the Year award in 2008. He lead La Viola to a semifinal appearance in the UEFA Cup in the 07-08 season, losing to Rangers in a penalty shootout. Prandelli also qualified Fiorentina twice to the UEFA Champions League and made a historic appearance in the Round of 16 this past season where they were eliminated by Bayern Munich.

It seems the Italian federation is very confident with Prandelli as head coach because of his successful tenure at Fiorentina. Prandelli will go to work immediately after the World Cup as Italy has to prepare for the start of the qualifying rounds for the 2012 Euros. Italy is in Group C in the Euros qualifying stage and its first official match will be against Estonia on the road on September 3rd.
Asia’s most successful national side will come to South Korea for their seventh consecutive World Cup with their usual status of underdogs. Well-respected Dutch duo Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat managed the Koreans at previous World Cups, but this time they will be led by Huh Jung-Moo, who scored a goal for Korea at Mexico ’86.

Their qualification for this summer’s showpiece event was fairly straightforward, as they topped their group as expected, despite a series of underwhelming performances along the way. Korea caused shockwaves in 2002 when they hosted the tournament and reached the semi-finals, eliminating Portugal, Italy and Spain along the way. Replicating this success is not a realistic target for Huh Jung-Moo’s men this time round though.

“This will be the last chapter in my football life,” Huh Jung-Moo said. “I will put in all my energy to achieve good results in the World Cup.”

Former Fulham winger Seol Ki-Hyeon is a notable omission from the squad due to a long-term knee injury. The squad does include well-known British players. Manchester United’s versatile Park Ji-Sung is the captain, and the main source of danger for Korea’s opponents. Ki Sung-Yong of Celtic will play in central midfield, with Bolton’s hugely impressive Lee Chung-Yong on the wing. Ex-Tottenham full-back Lee Young-Pyo is still important for his nation, and so is the infamous Ahn Jung-Hwan. He now plays his club football back in his homeland, but will be remembered by Italians for eliminating them from the 2002 World Cup with a controversial winner whilst he was a Perugia player.

Grouped with powerhouses Argentina, as well as Nigeria and Greece, the Koreans will fancy their chances of progressing through the group stage as possible runners-up.

South Korea provisional FIFA World Cup squad:
Kim Young-Kwang (Ulsan), Lee Woon-Jae (Suwon), Jung Sung-Ryong (Seongnam); Kwak Tae-Hwi (Kyoto), Kim Dong-Jin (Ulsan), Kim Hyung-Il (Pohang), Oh Beom-Seok (Ulsan), Lee Young-Pyo (Al Hilal), Lee Jung-Soo (Kashima Antlers), Cha Du-Ri (SC Freiburg), Cho Yong-Hyung (Jeju); Koo Ja-Cheol (Jeju), Ki Sung-Yong (Celtic), Kim Bo-Kyung (Oita), Kim Nam-Il (Tom Tomsk), Shin Hung-Min (Pohang), Kim Jae-Sung (Pohang), Kim Jung-Woo (Gwangju), Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton), Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United); Park Chu-Young (AS Monaco), Ahn Jung-Hwan (Dalian Shide), Lee Seung-Ryul (Seoul), Yeom Ki-Hun (Suwon), Lee Keun-Ho (Jubilo Iwata), Lee Dong-Guk (Jeonbuk).
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