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The Cup


ANOOP PANDEY


Four years ago, Brazil took home the cup for a record fifth time and the team has high hopes to make it six this year. But their road will not be an easy one, paved as it is with powerful foes like home team Germany, Italy, Argentina and England.

Germany 2006 may be the last major tournament appearances of many of the world's great footballers. But this World Cup will not be about the Ronaldos, the Zidanes, the Louis Figos or the David Beckhams of the present, this year the world will get a glimpse of the future of world football.

The tournament kicks off on 9 June when hosts Germany confront Costa Rica. Below are some of the young players to watch out for during those late nights camped in front of the tv.

Goalkeeper
Ilker Casillas-SPAIN

The Real Madrid stopper has long been viewed as one of the best in Europe. Athletic and strong, Casillas has saved both this club and the national team on many occasions and if Spain is to finally make a real impact in the World Cup, no doubt they will have to rely on this man to help them in their quest.

Defenders
Cicinho-BRAZIL

Recently snapped up by Real Madrid of Spain, Cicinho is a player in the same mould as Cafu and Roberto Carlos. But unlike his compatriot Roberto Carlos, the speedy defender focuses more on defense and his build-up play.

Samuel Kuffou-GHANA
A mainstay of the Bayern Munich defense for several seasons before returning to Serie A with AS Roma this year, Kuffour will be one of Ghana's most experienced assets as they embark on their World Cup debut. His knowledge of German stadiums will give him a head start on his opponents.

Midfielders
Ronaldinho-BRAZIL

What else can be said about FC Barcelona's talismanic sensation? Already named the top player at national and international levels, his talent is unquestionable. Along with the other two Rs (Ronaldo and Rivaldo) he inspired Brazil to World Cup victory in 2002 and his evident improvement since then makes him likely to lead his nation to success again.

Park Ji Sung-South KOREA
Relatively unheard of until Japan/Korea 2002 where his home nation shocked all by reaching the semi-finals, since then Park has figured prominently in PSV Eindhoven's remarkable run in the UEFA Champions League in 2004-2005 before earning himself a move to English giants Manchester United, where he has already become a fan favourite with his bustling attacking runs and creativity.

Michael Ballack-GERMANY
Ballack will look to shine once again after being a major part of Germany's run to the final in 2002. Now on home territory, he will be inspired and looking to prove why he is considered one of the world's best players. A strong tackler, creative and with a good eye for goal, he will be a major factor in how the home nation performs.

Striker
Wayne Rooney-ENGLAND

Rooney will be hoping to make up for the abrupt end to his Euro 2004 tournament because of injury. Until then he was England's player of the tournament and still only 20 years of age. Primarily a striker, he has already proved that wherever he play he can create something from nothing and there is little doubt that he will be one of the star performers in Germany.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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