Europe in the 2010 World Cup

Looks a lot like Europe in the 2006 World Cup, actually.

Qualifiers this time: Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland. That’s almost the same list as last time. Oh, we won’t have Poland, or Croatia, and the Danes, Slovaks and Slovenes got in, but eight of the thirteen are the same, and the Big Five all got in as per normal. Is it cynical of me to think that switching the Slovenes and Greeks for Sweden and the Czechs won’t make much difference?

Anyway. Consider this an open thread for World Cup football. With 192 days to go, what have been the big surprises so far? (Have there been any, really?) And what are the wild hopes? Who’ve you got?

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Europe and the world and tagged by Douglas Muir. Bookmark the permalink.

About Douglas Muir

American with an Irish passport. Does development work for a big international donor. Has been living in Eastern Europe for the last six years -- first Serbia, then Romania, and now Armenia. Calls himself a Burkean conservative, which would be a liberal in Germany but an unhappy ex-Republican turned Democrat in the US. Husband of Claudia. Parent of Alan, David, Jacob and Leah. Likes birds. Writes Halfway Down The Danube. Writes Halfway Down The Danube.

8 thoughts on “Europe in the 2010 World Cup

  1. No presence of Euro 2012 host countries. Huge “ex-Yugoslav” effect in explaining which eastern European countries qualified. Maybe Slovenia and Greece for Sweden and Czech Rep. won’t make much difference but the star power is very different. Of course one of the criticisms of Zlatan is that he hasn’t delivered for country the way he plays for club but I think the neutral fan would like to see more of what he showed against Real Madrid yesterday.

    Based on their performance 4 years ago, Argentina looked like a young team loaded with talent that would be peaking in the later years. So far it hasn’t happened. They look like the big imponderable of the tournament.

  2. P. O., excuse my ignorance, but I didn’t get it. Are you referring with Zlatan to Ibrahimovic of Sweden? Wow.. he is still lives.

    Well, while Doug is asking what might be the surprises I would love to say something of what didn’t surprise me. The greatest football nation of the 5 continents, my beloved tiny country, Albania, managed somehow not to qualify and landed as expected in the “who cares” (I wan’t even make the effort to google) position for the “who cares”-th time consecutively. And this despite the “cheating” with the extra fast track towards Albanian citizenship for some good players from Kosovo (mind you, it’s hard to get that thing as the state President has to sign it). But what the heck, i have learned over the years to look at the bright side of it. At least, nobody is shouting “they are incompetent, away with their independence and sovereignty” :).

    By the way, how is the US team? Do you think they will make it to the quarter finals this time?

  3. eni, You should look for the highlight film of Ibramimovic’s spectacular goal for Barcelona. He will be missed in South Africa.

    It’s hard to know about the USA. The seeding is critical for them — it helped them in 2006. There is a good cohort now that has played at the European club level and sharpened their skills. But the draw (coming next week I think) will tell us a lot more.

  4. The biggest surprise so far is absence of two Euro-2008 semi-finalists – Russia and Turkey. It looks like there is a strong trend towards equalization of soccer power for the European teams right under top 5-6.

    Also, what happened to the perennial Asian rep – Saudi Arabia? I guess now that Australia joined Asian FC, European/Latin American teams lost an opportunity to score 3+ goals against Saudis in the final stage of World Cup.

  5. As far as Sweden goes: not sure if our presence would have made that big a difference. After we failed to qualify this time around, Zlatan announced he was through with playing for the national team. Assuming that decision didn’t come out of nowhere, something tells me his performance in the 2010 Cup would have been fairly lackluster (especially so as the likely team coach would have been Lars Lagerbäck, who probably hung on for a couple of years longer than was prudent).

    Not that I can’t see how playing for the Swedish national team might be a little under-stimulating: As far as I can tell, our strategy for success relies on being able to hold the line against good teams, and then hoping that our victories against lesser powers will propel us almost all the way (such as was the case back in ’94. Where Saudi Arabia indeed was one of the stepping stones). Nice enough, but hardly the place to be if one considers oneself a star.

  6. No Ireland either, of course. You’d have to ask Martin Hansson about that, though.

    Ah well, I prefer the 15-man game myself, and we shall make the French answer for their man Henry in February.

  7. Would love to see one of the African countries make it all the way, maybe Nigeria or Ghana. But it looks like Argentina and Spain have the most balanced teams going into next year (barring major injuries).

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