Do you like the sound of the vuvuzela horn? No? Unlucky… you will probably be hearing it non-stop whenever you turn on BBC 1 or ITV for the next month or so. The sound of the South African instrument will be a sound that will be prominent throughout this years World Cup. It has been surrounded in controversy, with some claiming that it can distract the players and is extremely irritating, due to its toneless drone. But this is not what the World Cup is about. With less than 36 hours until kick off of the opening match between the host nation and Uruguay, it is time to look forward to some of the greatest football in the world.
Some of the star players that you would expect to see at the world’s top footballing event are doubtful to be present or certain not to be there at all. Injuries have been a common occurrence in the build up to the tournament. England lost Beckham months before the tournament, and were recently deprived of their captain, Rio Ferdinand, due to a knee injury. Germany too will be without their usual captain, Michael Ballack who was injured during the FA Cup final for Chelsea. Others have not been ruled out completely but been described as doubtful to make some or any of the tournament. Arjen Robben, who had a brilliant season with Bayern Munich will certainly miss some of Holland’s tournament after suffering a hamstring injury in a warm up match. Robben’s former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba also hurt his chances (along with his arm) during a pre-tournament friendly for the Cote D’Ivoire. But our TV screens will still be graced with the magic of Lionel Messi, the tenaciousness of Wayne Rooney, the sheer brilliance of Kaka, oh and Emile Heskey (we can’t have it all our own way I’m afraid).
The tournament could also be the launching pads for up and coming talent. Mesut Ozil, the German midfielder who has been sounded out by Arsenal has been tipped to become a big success. French midfielder Yoann Gourcuff has been dubbed the ‘new Zidane’. A title that is bound to put pressure on the player to show his full potential. For Brazil, inevitably all eyes are going to be on Robinho and Kaka, but one to watch out for could be Nilmar. The Villareal striker has a real eye for goal, netting 8 times in 15 appearances this season for the Spanish club.
One thing is for sure; upsets will happen, surprises will occur, and England will probably go out on penalties in the quarter finals. Maybe France will continue their poor run of form and struggle, maybe Maradona will turn his critics and put to use the absurd amount of talent the Argentinian team has, or possibly we may have a surprise winner…Who knows? What’s certain is the tournament will be a World Cup to remember. So enjoy what promises to be a great summer of football, and maybe Fabio can lead England to World Cup success and the squad, to quote the Carlsberg ad, can “join the immortals”.