The 10 Players That Could Cost Their Nation World Cup Glory if They Got Injured
In the past two days, some serious injuries have occurred on the pitch that had nations biting their nails anticipating the results of MRI’s and X-rays.
Countries' stomachs have been turning at the thought of losing a key player just before the biggest event in soccer, The World Cup.
Here are the top 10 players who could single-handedly cost their nation their chances of hoisting the World Cup trophy in July if they somehow went down with an injury and were unable to play at The World Cup.
So cross your fingers and say your prayers before bed because these are the last players that contending nations can afford to go down for World Cup 2010.
10. Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast
The Chelsea frontman is the key striker that gives an underdog African nation a slight hope for a run at World Cup history.
He is one of the world’s premier strikers, but some say he has developed a habit of melting down and losing his temper at the most crucial moments.
The exceptional combination of his brute physicality and superb skill is rare, and when he is at the top of his form, no defender prefers to attempt to mark him.
Without Drogba, Ivory Coast probably doesn’t even have a chance to advance from what most are calling the “Group of Death.” They would lose their only elite scoring threat and have trouble competing with world-class competition.
9. Andrea Pirlo, Italia
The Italian playmaker has the touch and ball skills to send a teammate in on goal at any moment, from any area of the pitch. He is always creating and executing passes that most players don’t even dare to conjure.
Pirlo is a magician on the pitch and was a key contributor to Italia’s World Cup run in 2006.
Without Pirlo, the Azzurri would lack the creativity in the midfield needed to create delightful attacks.
Some say they still lack the playmaker up front to be listed amongst the favorites with Pirlo, so without him doubt would arise even more for the attack.
8. Lucio, Brazil
This physical centerback has progressed to one of the elite central defenders in the world. His display in the Champions League has been dominant for Inter Milan, and if he produces performances like that for Brazil in the World Cup, it will make them that much harder to defeat.
Lucio brings the stability in the back line to cover the counterattack when Brazil gets into its free-flowing attacking style of play.
Without Lucio, Brazil will lose their best central defender and really the only one who can completely shut down the opposing teams best striker.
Brazil would also lose one of their best threats through the air on free kicks and corners, where Lucio is lethal with his head.
7. Wesley Sneijder, Netherlands
The Dutchman is the engine that keeps the Holland National team flowing. His playmaking ability is what creates most of the Netherlands attack and his rare ability to spark the counterattack is what frightens any opponent of the Dutch.
Without Sneijder, the Dutch would lack a consistent ball supplier in the attacking midfield.
His elusiveness and pinpoint accurate deep balls would be absent and the Dutch would most likely be eliminated, still in search of their first World Cup Title.
6. Franck Ribery, France
The Frenchman is a fast energy-laced winger who consistently manages to beat his defender. His skills and precise passes are the key component to the French attack.
Without Ribery, the French would be extremely weak in attack. Ribery brings the energy and pace up the wing that forces defenses to adjust and scatter just to contain him.
The French would be forced to depend on younger talent in the form of Nasri and Gourcuff if they somehow lost Ribery. And despite their impressive years with their club teams, the duo is unproven on the big stage.
5. Gianluigi Buffon, Italia
The charismatic Italian goalkeeper is one of the best ever at his position. His rock-solid consistency has been a strength of the Italian side since early in the decade.
In the 2006 run to the World Cup title, Buffon only allowed two goals throughout the entire tournament (an own goal and a penalty) while producing numerous highlight reel saves for his nation.
His reflexes, positioning, concentration, and composure are still on extremely high levels and he is sure to be Italia’s best weapon this summer in South Africa.
Without Buffon, Italia would definitely lose the comfort of having one of the best goalkeepers in history as their last line of defense.
The Azzurri would be forced to throw in a keeper who lacks experience at the highest level and would most likely fall short in their journey for their fifth World Cup Title.
4. Kaka, Brazil
The Brazilian is the genius on the ball that can win matches individually with his tremendous attacking style.
Kaka forces defenses to send multiple defenders his way in order to prevent his penetrating dribbling skills, and when this occurs he has no trouble laying it off to one of his fellow Brazilian attackers to do the finishing.
Kaka also has a tremendous shot that can beat any keeper from a distance. Labeled by most to be Brazil’s most talented player, Kaka is sure to be in the spotlight for Brazil’s World Cup run.
Without Kaka, Brazil would most likely have to recall Ronaldhino despite the unwillingness of coach Dunga to do so.
Many think a deep squad like Brazil would be able to adapt easily even if they lose a high caliber footballer like Kaka, but it is doubtful that it would be possible.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
This former FIFA World Player of the Year brings the pace and skill to devour defenders worldwide. His goal-scoring ability and flair have made him one of the most recognizable footballers in the world.
This winger is a danger to shoot and score from anywhere on the pitch, and if he isn’t dealt with properly, he is sure to be threat every time he possesses the ball.
Without Ronaldo, Portugal would become a lot less threatening of a nation at the World Cup. Ronaldo’s presence alone demands the defense’s attention.
In addition, his phenomenal free kicks create serious goal scoring chances from abnormal angles and distances.
Nani and Simao would surely have to pick up the serious load for the Portuguese in case of a Ronaldo absence, but it surely would cost Portugal a placing in South Africa this summer.
2. Wayne Rooney, England
Unfortunately for the nation of England the mere thought of the disaster that would be, almost became a reality a few days ago when Rooney hobbled off the pitch in extreme pain for Manchester United.
The nation of England can exhale now, as results say that Rooney will only miss four weeks maximum despite the ligament damage in his ankle.
But supporters better hope the diagnosis proves accurate because a hobbled Rooney could be the difference between an early exit for England and a shot at the World Cup final.
Without Rooney, England would lack a striker who could consistently produce and finish. He has become all that is the frontline for England over the last half of a decade.
Beckham’s absence might get the headlines, but missing the passion and energy of a Rooney from the squad would crush the hopes of 2010 glory for the nation of England.
1. Lionel Messi, Argentina
This skillful Argentine is not only the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, but he is also the favorite to net this year’s award.
Yet he still seems to be improving and relishing the chance to expand on his resume on the grandest stage, The World Cup.
In order for the shifty attacker to live up to his expectations, he needs to be at his best and lead his Argentina side extremely deep into the tournament.
Argentina’s soccer savior has been named the next Maradona and with his genius technical skills and unreal dribbling, the only thing holding him back from being named one of the best ever in most eyes is a magical World Cup performance.
Without Messi, Argentina would lack the player that could single handedly carry a nation on his back to the World Cup title ala Diego Maradona. Yes, the Argentines are a deep talented squad, but without Messi they would surely fall short of the final.