2010 FIFA World Cup: 10 Greats Who May Be in Their Last WC
Who ever said the older guys can't keep up with their younger teammates?
In the 2010 World Cup, there are many dynamic players over 30 years old. These players have plenty of experience, amazing skill, and great passion for the game. They play all different positions: midfield, wing, and goalie, just to name a few.
For many of these players, the 2010 World Cup will probably be their last, and they will have something extra to prove on the field.
Here is a list of ten players over 30 to watch out for. Each one may look old, but plays ten years younger.
This may be your last chance to catch a glimpse of history.
Gianlugi Buffon is perhaps one of the best goal keepers in World Cup History.
As the goalkeeper of the year in Series A nine times, Buffon has used his killer instincts to ensure his team can have success.
What really made Buffon stand out was his stellar performance in the 2006 World Cup.
In the 2006 tournament, Buffon lead Italy to beat France in the finals, as he allowed just two goals and posted five shutouts, in addition to a 453 minute scoreless streak.
Buffon was also selected for the 1998 tournament (he didn't play a single minute) and again in 2002, making 2010 his fourth World Cup.
Although he is getting older, Buffon is still the best goalie in the tournament, and this may be his last chance to prove 2006 was no fluke.
Ever since Thierry Henry played in his first World Cup, people knew he would be one of the best soccer players in the world.
In the 1998 World Cup, Henry scored three goals as France won the tournament. Henry struggled in the 2002 World Cup, as France struggled to move out of the group slate, but regained his form and lead France to the World Cup finals in 2006. In that tournament, Henry scored three goals and was nominated for the Golden Boot.
Thierry Henry has been a hero for France. He has brought the team great success, with his hard-working mentality, and has even been knighted by the government.
This tournament will be Henry's one last chance to win another title for France, before he most likely moves to the United States and ends his career with the New York Red Bulls.
In the 2006 World Cup, Lampard was supposed to be a dynamic scoring threat for England, but instead he went scoreless in all five games he played in. That year, England lost to Portugal in the quarterfinals on penalty kicks.
During the World Cup qualifiers, Lampard scored three goals for England, including two against Croatia, which propelled England into the World Cup.
This season, Lampard dominated the English Premier League, scoring 27 goals. Lampard will be 32 during the World Cup and may be playing in his last tournament.
He might be England's second best scoring threat after Wayne Rooney, and will give the Three Lions a decent chance to win their first World Cup since 1966.
Country: Ivory Coast
Position: Center Forward
This morning, word broke that Drogba suffered a broken arm in the Ivory Coast's friendly match against Japan. If Drogba is unable to play in the World Cup, it would be a shame for him and the Ivory Coast.
Drogba may be playing in his last World Cup and is probably the best chance for an African country to reach the semifinals.
In the 2006 World Cup, Drogba scored the first goal for the Ivory Coast in World Cup history, but the team failed to make it out of the group stage. They were in the "Group of Death" with Serbia, Montenegro, Argentina, and the Netherlands.
Fast foward four years later and the Ivory Coast is in the same position. The team once again is in the "Group of Death", but this time with Brazil, Portugal, and North Korea.
Drogba has emerged into one of the top players in the world, scoring six goals in World Cup qualifiers. He is a hero to all of Africa, both on the field (he is ranked No. 3 in the world by FIFA) and off the field (he has donated a lot of his money to fund hospitals in his homeland).
Hopefully, Drogba will find a way to play in the tournament and make Africa proud.
Diego Forlan is a sharpshooter that has went through many ups and downs in his career.
After failing to live up to his reputation with Manchester United and Villarreal, Forlan finally found success with Atletico Madrid.
He is perhaps the best soccer player in South America that isn't from Argentina or Brazil.
In the 2002 World Cup, Forlan scored one goal for Uruguay, who failed to make it out of group play. In the World Cup qualifiers, Forlan scored a hat trick against Peru.
Forlan's excellent ballhandling and superior striking skills have the ability to lead Uruguay further in the World Cup than people expect.
Many people are not talking about Forlan now, but if Uruguay gets hot, it will be a different story.
In baseball, basketball, and football, defense wins championships. By preventing the other team from scoring, your team has a better chance to hold a lead and win the game.
Soccer is no different: a team's defense can make or break its chances of victory.
Lucio is the cornerstone of the Brazilian defense. In the 2002 World Cup, Lucio was only one of three players to play the entire 630 minutes of the tournament.
More impressive was Lucio's feat in 2006. In the 2006 World Cup, Lucio played 386 consecutive minutes without committing a foul, a streak which was finally broken in Brazil's 1–0 quarterfinal loss to France.
Lucio is also credited with scoring the game-winning goal against the United States in the Confederation Cup
Many people predict Brazil to win the World Cup, not just for their superior scoring ability but for their defensive prowess.
If it was not for Lucio, Brazil would not be in the position it is today.
Every team needs a playmaker. American football has the quarterback, and basketball has the point guard. But who is the playmaker in soccer?
For the Spanish national team, that man is Xavi. Although he doesn't score many goals, Xavi uses his skill to help create set pieces for the forwards to score. It sounds easy, but it really isn't.
In the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, Xavi played in eight matches. This year, Spain is considered to be one of the favorites, mostly because of Xavi and Fernado Torres.
Make sure to carefully watch Xavi during the World Cup. He may not be on the highlight reels as much as Christiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, but he will be doing much of the "behind the scenes" work to propel Spain deep into the tournament.
I am sure many people were surprised by this pick. How can a goalie on a weak soccer team be one of the top ten players to watch over 30 in the World Cup?
Although Mark Schwarzer does not play for a soccer powerhouse, he has consistently proven he is one of the best goalies in the world. With a relatively easy draw (Germany, Serbia, and Ghana), Australia has a chance to move out of the group stage and try for an upset.
In the 2006 World Cup, Schwarzer struggled when it mattered most, failing to save a penalty kick against Italy in the second round. After the tournament, he continued to improve his game and has only lost one shootout in his career.
Mark Schwarzer is the most underrated goalie in the world right now and will definitely begin to turn heads this summer.
Don't forget he is 37 years old though.
There is no one who plays with more intensity and adrenaline in the World Cup than Carles Puyol.
Ever since the 2002 World Cup, Puyol has been a fixture on Spain's back line. His heads-up play puts Spain in contention to win every game it plays.
Spain should be able to make it out of the group stage and will have a chance to hoist its first cup.
This may be the Spainards best chance, as Puyol and Xavi are on the back end of their careers now.
With Michael Ballack out of the World Cup, there will be greater pressure on Miroslav Klose to be an impact player for Germany in the World Cup.
In the 2002 World Cup, Klose scored five goals for Germany, all of which were headers and tied for the highest total in the tournament. Klose repeated his five goal performance in 2006, but only one of them was a header.
Klose has consistently proved himself to be a veteran striker with killer instincts.
For Germany to have a chance again this year, Klose has to match his 2002 and 2006 performances.
He is the Derek Jeter of Soccer, no matter the situation, Klose is cool under pressure and will always come through in the clutch.