World Cup 2010 – Which Team Wants it the Most?
I know. Everyone wants to win the World Cup. That’s why they call it the World Cup.
But which of the 32 World Cup teams has the biggest reason for wanting to win it? Read on for a list of the 32 teams and my best guess at what’s driving them to victory. Feel free to add/argue different reasons in the comments.
Algeria – The one thing that would make Egypt's non-qualification hurt even more would be an Algerian triumph. I'm not saying that's Algeria's only motivation. But it has to be in there somewhere. Beating France in the final wouldn't hurt either.
Australia – Soccer currently lags behind cricket, rugby, the other football and probably some other sports we’ve never even heard of. A World Cup win could change all that.
Argentina – No wins since Diego Maradona led them to glory in 1986. In that nearly quarter of a century Argentina has consistently been one of the best teams in the world. But no more World Cup trophies. The big narrative for the team in 2010 is Diego Maradona once again. He’s back, he’s as crazy as ever, and he’s in charge of picking the team. But just think how good/mental would it be to see Diego Maradona lift that trophy, and join Franz Beckenbauer and Mário Zagallo as the only men to win the World Cup as both player and coach.
Brazil – Obviously Brazil always wants to win it, and often that’s exactly what happens. They already have five wins, but 2006 was supposed to be the year they made it six. They didn’t. Despite the weight of expectation, I have a feeling most Brazil fans would admit they’d much prefer a win in 2014 when they host the World Cup. Or maybe they want both.
Cameroon – The first African team to make the World Cup quarterfinals in 1990, and the only team until 2002 when Senegal matched them. So first World Cup on Africa soil + Samuel Eto’o = First African World Cup winners?
Cote d’Ivoire – This is a country still divided, between rebels and government. But I’m sure pretty much everyone there would agree with the sight of Didier Drogba holding the trophy aloft on July 11th in Soccer City Stadium.
Denmark – Morten Olsen has been the Denmark manager for a about a decade. In international management that’s a lifetime. Maybe two lifetimes. In terms of commitment and time invested in a team, this man deserves a World Cup.
England – Oh, they want it. That one win in 1966 gave England a big drink of glory. Now, 44 years later, they’re very very thirsty. The English Football Association has gone all out and hired the best coach money could buy in Fabio Capello, and with key players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry all either at or around that 30 years old mark, this is the last chance for a certain generation who keep promising to deliver.
France – Like England, France have the blessing/albatross of having won the World Cup, but only at home. Winning it on foreign soil is the big next step that both countries need to take. However, I get the feeling that most in France are more interested in waving goodbye to Raymond Domenech than in winning the trophy in 2010.
Germany – Believe it or not, it’s been a while. Germany hasn’t won a World Cup since 1990. If Michael Ballack was in the squad, then there’d be a an argument for his determination to stop winning runner up medals on the big stage. That same argument can be made for this whole team though, as the majority of this squad lost out to Spain in the final of Euro 2008.
Ghana – If an Africa team is going to win the first World Cup on African soil, then Ghana might be the most likely. Even without Michael Essien, they seem to have the deepest squad. A continent’s hopes rest on you Black Stars.
Greece – The economoy is in the toilet. The people have been rioting in disgust at austerity measures. Nothing is going right. If Otto Rehhagel can repeat his Euro 2004 trick then Greece would be a much happier place in July 2010, if only temporarily.
Italy – Brazil has won five. Italy four. So the Azzurri are very much the junior partner in the Derby della Mondo right now. But just one more World Cup win would see them level with Brazil as the joint most successful international team of all time.
Japan – We’ve been laughing at coach Takeshi Okada a little, for his semi-final prediction and his I want to quit outburst/misquote this week. But the reason Okada is managing Japan at all is that the man who was supposed to lead them to South Africa – Bosnian coach Ivica Osim – suffered a stroke in 2007 and had to step away. It’s been three years but I imagine a Japanese win will be dedicated to coach Osim.
Mexico – At 37 years old and carrying some extra timber, Cuauhtémoc Blanco does not look like he should be playing international football. But he’s been a great player and deserves a big sendoff. I imagine winning a World Cup would do nicely. Plus it would end the “who’s the best team in CONCACAF” argument with America pretty conclusively.
Nigeria – The Super Eagles win Olymic Gold in 1996, becoming the first African team to do so. Being the first African team to win the World Cup would be a decent follow up.
Netherlands – Total World Cup finals: two (1974, 1978). Total World Cup wins: zero. It’s time the Dutch team won a World Cup.
New Zealand – Because it would upset Australia. Also because – despite their dominance – the New Zealand rugby team has not won the Rugby World Cup since they co-hosted in 1987. They host again in 2011 and expectation is high. But imagine if the soccer team beat them to it and won the World Cup the year before?
North Korea – Because if they win, then North Korean television can show the actual real full actual games on television, rather than the rumoured edited version.
Paraguay – Striker Salvador Cabañas was shot in the head in January 2010. He somehow survived, and was determined to recover in time for the World Cup, but had a bullet lodged in his brain and so won’t be playing in South Africa. His teammates winning the World Cup would be a fitting tribute to his determination.
Portugal – We know Cristiano Ronaldo wants it. It would complete his trophy haul. But maybe the most compelling story is Carlos Queiroz and his quest to convince the world that he’s a proper manager and not just an assistant who’s been overpromoted.
Serbia – First time at the World Cup for Serbia as an individual nation. The 2006 Serbia & Monetenegro adventure didn’t count. So a win would mean a 100% record.
Slovenia – I like Slovenia. I’ve even been there. But in this tournament, I – like many others I’m sure – often get confused about exactly which one they are. For the record they’re the team with mountains on the jerseys. If they win this tournament, everyone will remember them forever.
Spain – No World Cup wins to date. But the Euro 2008 victory has finally taken Spain to another level. You can see the confidence as they pass the ball around tac-tac-tac. This is surely Spain’s best ever chance to finally win the World Cup, but also their chance to shed that underachiever tag once and for all. Or to have it etched even deeper. The stakes are high.
South Africa – The hosts. The much maligned hosts. Never before has a nation’s ability to host a tournament been questioned so openly. If the team went all the way and won it, that would be karma in action. Also, would be nice to see the events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup repeated on the soccer field. Though I doubt we’ll see a South Africa vs New Zealand final in 2010.
South Korea – Recently confirmed that North Korea sank one of their ships. So I imagine national pride is a little wounded. Park Ji-Sung and friends could restore it with a trophy.
Switzerland – Border and language sharing nations France, Germany and Italy all have a World Cup. It’s time Switzerland got one too.
USA – American soccer faces the same problem as Australia, in that it still lags behind other sports. America loves a winner, so a World Cup win would be a big help in attracting the patriotic but non-soccer loving sports fan. I also get the feeling that though genuine American soccer fans are happy with the progress from 1990 to present, they’re itching to take that next step up and lift the trophy.
Uruguay – When you look at the list of World Cup winners, Uruguay seems to be on there by mistake. First World Cup winners. Repeat winners in 1950. Then nothing for 60 years. I’m sure they’d love to rejoin the big boys.
- Please feel free to add your own reasons/suggestions in the comments…
- To pick which team will actually win the tournament, enter our World Cup Bracket competition.