The 32 qualified teams participating in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa have provided a preliminary list of up to 30 players. The teams have till June 1st to provide a final list of 23 players. Provisions are made where players with serious injuries can be replaced up to 24 hours before their team’s first game.
The highlight in any footballer’s career is without a doubt, playing for his country in the World Cup. This week was «a dream come true» for many players and a massive disappointment for others. Thousands of fans in the 32 countries will contest their coach’s controversial decisions to include certain players while omitting others.
World Cup Group A (France, Mexico, Uruguay, South Africa)
Raymond Domenech, the French coach announced a preliminary list of 30 players for the 2010 World Cup. The big surprises are the absences of Benzema (Real Madrid), Nasri (Arsenal) and Patrick Vieira (Manchester City). France and the host country South Africa will face in the opening match of the tournament on 11 June.
In this same group Mexico have chosen a very young squad and will play without the talented Miguel Sabah due to injury. Bafana Bafana’s Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, also sprang some surprises for South Africa, like Israel-based defender Bevan Fransman and prodigal son Benni McCarthy.
As for Uruguay, Oscar Tabarez announced a list of 26 without any major surprises except for the non inclusion of Cristian Rodríguez, possibly for the fact that he would have missed the first two games of the World Cup due to a red card suspension.
World Cup Group B (Argentina, Greece, Nigeria, South Korea)
Diego Maradona’s selection provided some surprises for the Argentines, by picking the unknown trio of Ariel Garce, Sebastian Blanco and Juan Insaurralde, contrasting with notable absences like Javier Zanetti, Cambiasso, Gago, or Lucho Gonzalez. Argentina is drawn in Group A along with Greece, Nigeria and South Korea.
The Greek coach, Otto Rehhagel, named 30 players without any surprises, bringing in Seitaridis and Patsatzoglou after an injury filled season.
Lars Lagerback, the Nigerian coach, made no notable surprises in the 30 man list, maintaining veteran striker Kanu in the squad.
South Korea’ coach Huh Jung-Moo also made no surprises in the 30 choices, maintaining 2002 FIFA World Cup hero Ahn Jung-hwan who will play for a third consecutive appearance on World Cup.
World Cup Group C (England, USA, Slovenia, Algeria)
England were surprised by call-up of uncapped Michael Dawson, and the talented Adam Johnson. Jamie Carragher and Ledley King return to the squad. The two big names that Fabio Capello will not go to South Africa’s World Cup are David Beckham because of injury and Pal Scholes, retired from the England Squad.
The other teams in this group include the USA, Slovenia and Algeria. Coach Bob Bradley did not include Freddy Adu in the US team even though he went for the Confederations Cup. Another absence due to a serious car accident is Charlie Davies.
There were no big surprises from Algeria coach Rabah Sadaane whose team is dominated by a strong Europe based contingent. No surprises from coach Matjaz Kek after chosing 30 for Slovenia bringing in young striker Tim Matavz. This is Slovenia’s second participation in a World Cup.
World Cup Group D (Germany, Serbia, Ghana, Australia)
Joachim Löw of Germany picked his 30-man provisional squad with a few surprises. Two uncapped players, Holder Badstuber and Dennis Aogo, were chosen, while the most notable omission was that of midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, as well as Simon Rolfes, Aaron Hunt and goalkeeper René Adler.
Radomir Antic named seven players, based in England to a very strong looking Serbia squad, with no notable surprises.
For Ghana, Coach Milovan Rajevac picked Chelsea’s Michael Essien who is still recovering from knee surgery. In a similar situation as Essian is John Mensah.
Australia coach Pim Verbeek named 31 players including star forward Harry Kewell still recovering from his latest injury before July’s FIFA World Cup. One surprise call-up was 18-year-old Tommy Oar, who only made his international debut in March this year.
World Cup Group E (Denmark, Netherlands, Cameroon, Japan)
Denmark’s goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen was included by Danish coach Morten Olsen, despite suffering a dislocated elbow two weeks ago. Patrick Mtiliga was the surprise inclusion even though he had not played for his country since November 2008.
Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk, left out 33 year old Ruud van Nistelrooy who admitted he was «greatly disappointed» in his rejection. On the other hand its worth taking note of 23 year old Eljero Elia who many believe is Hollands hidden gem.
Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen included Sebastien Bassong, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Alexandre Song who play in the Premier League. Surprise is the call-up of teenager Joel Matip and the exclusion of Ngom Kome. Only three players from the Cameroon League are included.
Japan coach Takeshi Okada’s only surprise was including Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, the Portsmouth goalkeeper who has not played in the national team for 18 months after recovering from a broken leg.
World Cup Group F (Italy, Slovakia, Paraguay, New Zealand)
Marcello Lippi reserved some surprises for the «azzurri» squad when he left out Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano, Nicola Legottaglie, Luca Toni, Simone Perrotta, and most notably Francesco Totti, while American born Giuseppe Rossi was called up for Italy, the World Cup holders.
Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino called Argentine striker Lucas Barrios who recently became a naturalized Paraguayan. No surprise was the inclusion of strikers Nelson Haedo Valdez and Oscar Cardozo who are in great form, while Salvador Cabanas didn’t make it due to injury.
Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss is hoping that Martin Skrtel, Filip Holosko and Robert Vittek recover from their injuries in time for the World in South Africa. Curious is the fact that this is Slovakia’s first World Cup appearance, as well as the inclusion the coach’s son Vladimir Weiss into the squad.
New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert did not pull off any surprises, except for the inclusion of midfielder Aaron Clapham. This is the Kiwis second World Cup appearance, the last one being in Spain back in 1982
World Cup Group G (Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast, North Korea)
Brazil coach Dunga probably had the biggest pool of talented players to chose from. This inevitably led to some surprises like the omission of Ronaldinho, Adriano, Ganso, Pato and Neymar into the Selecção (squad) Surprise inclusions were Michel Bastos, and Grafite.
Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz also upset many Portuguese fans by not including goalkeepers Quim and Rui Patrício as well as midfielders João Moutinho and Carlos Martins. Queiroz also picked Pepe even though he is still recovering from knee surgery. Surprise call-ups were Beto, Daniel Fernandes and Zé Castro.
Sven-Goran Eriksson of the Ivory Coast had no surprises in the 29 players to represent their country. Didier Drogba will lead the powerful attacking «Elephants».
North Korea coach Kim Jong-Hun will count with some J-League players like Jong Tae-Se, Ahn Yong-Hak and Ryang Yong-Gi. This will be North Korea’s second participation in a World Cup.
World Cup Group F (Spain, Chile, Switzerland, Hunduras)
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque had no surprises in his provisional 30-man squad and included injured stars Andreas Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres for South Africa 2010. Also included in the list is naturalized Brazilian Marcos Senna.
Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa surprised many, when he picked Luis Marin, Jaime Valdes and Charles Aranguiz. Notable names missing are Claudio Maldonado, Hans Martinez and Osvaldo Gonzalez.
Ottmar Hitzfeld, the Switzerland coach announced 30 names without any surprises. One curiosity is Johan Vonlanthen, 24, who was born in Colombia but has lived in Switzerland since he was 5 years old.
Honduras coach Reinaldo Rueda had no surprises but was forced to replace the injured Carlos Costly by Georgie Welcome. The experienced Wilson Palacios, Hendry Thomas, Maynor Figueroa, David are part of the list.