And so it's begun. The past few days have seen various national team coaches commence the painstaking process of culling the candidates for their World Cup squads. We've already seen some minor surprises -- Germany's
Goalkeepers (3) --
The trio of Premiership keepers are an absolute no-brainer and Guzan and Hahnemann provide enviable depth.
Defenders (8) --
I've never been particularly impressed with either
Hejduk is there for his veteran experience and intangibles, something that's never to be underestimated, and let's face it, for the 22nd or 23rd man on the roster, one should be thinking more about what the person adds to team chemistry at that point. Spector has had a very rough season for West Ham, but his versatility adds value -- he can back up at right back, left back and center back if need be. Marshall is the final choice because you can never have enough dominant aerial defenders and he provides a hedge against any setbacks in Onyewu's knee injury. Why Marshall over
Midfielders (9) --
It's at midfield where Bradley will likely face his most difficult cuts. I believe seven of the first nine listed should be certain of their spots, and while I would include both Torres and Bedoya, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Bradley leave out one if not both for
Forwards (3) --
I think if Bradley were to give an honest answer about what he wants to get out of the U.S.' Group C opener with England on June 12, he'd settle for a draw, or even a slim 1-0 loss (with the rationale being a win and a draw against the lesser lights of Algeria and Slovenia would almost ensure group qualification).
However, looking at the brackets, and projecting ahead based on the likely group winners, if the U.S. was to finish second, it would then potentially face a murderer's row of opponents in Germany, followed by Argentina and then Spain. On the other hand, if it upsets England and wins Group C, it would face an easier slate of Serbia, France/Mexico and then Brazil.
The man that some U.S. fans have loved to hate the past few years, Italy's American-born
"Wasnt called up w/ the national team cuz we play tuesday, therefore, Villarreal didnt let me go. May 18th is when the roster is announced." In similar vein, players from Inter and Roma were also not selected.
That said, a glance at the roster shows that Rossi is still in danger of not making the final cut. Assuming Italy takes the standard four forwards, you have to think Lippi will opt for either
One man who definitely isn't going to the World Cup is Paraguay's
With luminous talents such as
It's even more curious when you consider Redknapp was among the many critics and media pundits who castigated
"I don't think he got a great crack of the whip there but that's up to Rafa Benitez," said Redknapp to the BBC in February 2009. "He picks the team and he obviously didn't see Robbie as a player who fitted into his system or a player that he particularly wanted."
Don't just take my word for it, look at the stats. For Tottenham in the 2009/10 season, he played in 20 Premiership games between August and January in which he scored six goals (four coming in one game), was substituted 12 times and brought on four times as a sub. For Liverpool in the 2008/09 season, he played in 19 Premiership games between August and January, in which he scored five goals, was substituted 12 times and brought on three times a sub. The reality is that Keane was as equally ineffective for Tottenham as he was at Liverpool, and yet only one manager bore the brunt of the criticism for realizing it.