Five Who Could Win the World Cup in 2010

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After every qualifying round we will break down the five teams that I feel are most likely to win the World Cup in 2010.

Here is this Friday September 11th’s list.

1- Brazil

Last Ranking: 1

The reigning Copa America and Confederations Cup champions have to be the runaway favorites to win next year’s World Cup. After a 3-1 smashing of arch rival Argentina on Saturday, Brazil leads the South American qualifying group and has already clinched a World Cup berth. Dunga’s side is more tactically aware and flexible than past Brazil squads, although the beautiful football that was long a Brazilian trademark is gone. Selecao Brasil is riding high without the big names that have characterized previous squads. This owes itself to Dunga’s incredible command of tactics and imparting a disipline into the squad.

Even a man down against Chile, Brazil withstood a barrage until the numbers were evened 10 v 10.

2- Spain

Last Ranking: 3

The victory in Euro 2008 over historic juggernaut Germany was either a sign that Spain is now a world power or simply a historical fluke. We won’t know until next year, but Spain must have Andres Iniesta and Marcos Senna once again healthy next year to win the World Cup.

Spain has all the tools in midfield to be successful, and probably man for man the most talented side in the world. But history doesn’t lie, and Spain isn’t a world power, just yet.

3- Holland

Last Ranking 2

The Dutch have all the ingredients of a world champion, but the history of losing when it matters most. But this will be the strongest Dutch team since the Euro 2000 tournament, and in a non European World Cup, that probably bodes well. But do the players get along, and will the hostility of the native black South Africans towards the Dutch (and white South Africans of Dutch heritage) turn 2010 into a nightmare? A prominent media member I spoke to this past week thinks it is possible.

4- England

Last Ranking 4

An impressive win over a slipping Croatia side may really mean little in the bigger scheme of things. England has yet to play a sure fire World Cup squad in its qualifying campaign (unlike Brazil who has probably already played 8 games against teams headed to South Africa) and has shown chinks in the armour.

Fabio Capello’s side is long on talent but short on historical accomplishment. Weening this team off of faulty British tactics and employing a continental style is the most important contribution Capello can make long term. The narrow pitch sizes in South Africa combined with winter weather make England a logical favorite next year.

5- Ivory Coast

Last Ranking: Unranked

The Ivory Coast will have plenty of local support in South Africa. Additionally, an experienced side with more top level European players than even Brazil gives Africa a chance at its first World Cup victory.

Dropped Out: Mexico

Knocking on the Door: Mexico, Ghana, Serbia, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Cameroon