I know I haven't been around much lately, but I thought it would be fun to get some more discussion going between the few of us who post here, so with the World Cup upcoming, I figure it would be fun to talk about the world of soccer/football outside our club and domestic competitions.
So who do you think will take it? Predictions for the group stages? Any flops or any dark horses you think might emerge?
I personally am looking forward to the World Cup. I know there has been some discussion about how a number of coaches did not pick their strongest squad, but I think if the coach has formulated what he think s is a winning plan and picks the players that best fit that plan, then there is no problem. Still, some of the picks are questionable, but we'll see.
I am going to particularly follow the progress of my native USA and my adopted Chile NT, as well as Italy. I think all three teams will get out of their groups, though the USA's group is going to be harder than many think and Switzerland and Honduras could pose some problems for Chile. Italy should get out of their groups, but I think Paraguay has a pretty good squad, especially up front (Oscar Cardozo, Roque Santa Cruz, Lucas Barrios, and Nelson Valdez, for starters). Slovakia is also a tricky team.
Also, Torino will be contributing a player to the World Cup, as Rambo León will be representing Honduras and could very well be in their first XI. Furthermore, Torino youth products Fabio Quagliarella and Federico Marchetti were both named in Lippi's 28-man preliminary squad. Both could go, be are not guaranteed picks, IMO.
Of course if the playoffs are still going on when the World Cup starts (and I imagine/hope they will be, meaning we are in the finals), then we might have other things to think about for the first few days of the tournament.
Still, exciting stuff, 23 days!