The World Cup is just four days away. Over a period of one month, 32 teams from all over the world will be contesting for the gold trophy, also known as the Jules Rimet Trophy, in South Africa.
Seen and Heard will also be having a World Cup special with a report on IT services partner Mahindra Satyam (see here) and a preview of all the eight groups, starting with Groups A and B, (see here and here).
For football fans, this years World Cup promises to be an intriguing event. Perennial favourites Brazil have dumped flair for efficiency; the attacking-minded team of the 2006 World Cup is a distant memory, while the current team looks to score off counter attacks and set-pieces.
For the first time, European Championships 2008 winners Spain is entering the competition as a favourite. Its bevy of attacking midfielders leaves viewers wondering whether Spain is the new Brazil.
Italy, the 2006 World Cup winner, will be playing without a recognised No.10 creator. Without the creative player to pick open defences, the team could be adopting a counter-attacking approach.
Germany, whose playing style has historically been built on organisation and efficiency, has adopted an English style of direct play, wing movements and pressing opposing teams high up the pitch.
England, favourites just because modern football supposedly originated from there, might be able to go all the way thanks to Italian coach Fabio Capello who has instilled organisation in the teams style of play.
Injuries and surprises
There is also the surprise team of the tournament where an underdog team will come out of the blue and upset the favourites. There was Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup and South Korea in the 2002 World Cup. All eyes will be on the African nations like Ghana, Ivory Coast or South Africa to stun everyone.
Injuries are set to deprive teams of their star players. One example was France who saw their hopes dashed when star player Zinedine Zidane sustained an injury just before the start of the 2002 World Cup.
This time, Germany will be without midfield general Michael Ballack who was hurt in a tackle, England captain Rio Ferdinand has withdrawn from the team and Ghana will miss midfield driver Michael Essien.
There are also a number of players who have fitness doubts due to injuries sustained earlier in the year. Ivory Coasts striker Didier Drogba has a fractured elbow, Hollands Arjen Robben pulled his hamstring, Italys Andrea Pirlo is doubtful with a calf injury, and Spains Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas are not 100 per cent.
So where does that leave us with? A Brazil team that has not been hit by injuries and could go all the way and win its record sixth World Cup.
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