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As the final days before the World Cup fast approach I’ve been watching closely to see how injuries in the final days will affect any of the countries in South Africa. At first glance many are taking the favourite Spain to win, but that certainly depends on the health of Fernanado Torres and Cesc Fabregas. Spain has a lot of depth, but they will have to be at their best this year to repeat on their Euro success.
Diego Maradona instructs Carlos Tevez at training on Sunday, June 6. (Getty)
The United States of America turned a lot of heads in beating Spain on their way to the final match of the Confederations Cup, only to watch a 2-nil lead evaporate against Brazil. This is not the Confed Cup though, but I still think the Americans are going to surprise and it may happen their first match against England. England’s problems continue on the back line and if Wayne Rooney is not at his best the Three Lions will not be successful if they have to rely on Emile Heskey to score goals. In goal is another question completely for England. Even without all of England problems the sheer pressure on this country to do something at the World Cup has to be massive considering they did not qualify for Euro.
The Dutch look as frightening as Argentina up front and they will be exciting to watch once again as they were at Euro 2008. Robben may have to come off the bench right now, but they have to be happy to have Van Persie back and healthy. If I had to pick a real upset this year it would have to be either Denmark or South Korea. Denmark cruised through World Cup Qualifying and although they don’t have a nearly as much depth as others they could sneak out of their group. South Korea has been paid by their government to be together for a year leading up to the World Cup and just playing games. They may not have the talent that most countries have, but they no doubt know each other inside and out. Will they go as far as they did in 2002? Probably not, but watch out, they will be very organized.
The headlines that Diego Maradona has been getting the last few weeks is a perfect way to get the attention off their stars and it may just pay off in the end. This country will score goals no doubt. Who can argue with Messi, Tevez, Higuain and Milito up front? They have some attacking midfielders who can find the back of the net too. It may be one of the most exciting sides Argentina has put on the pitch since their head coach won the World Cup for them in 1986. They are my pick to win the whole thing and it’s not because I want to see Maradona run down the street naked.
Lee Godfrey brings an extensive amount of soccer broadcast experience to GolTV where he is the host of the station’s original Canadian news program Extra Time.