World Cup 2010 Predictions: Health The Key To Team Glory

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World Cup 2010 Predictions: Health The Key To Team Glory
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Dropping like flies is a fitting description for the rash of injuries that are plaguing World Cup rosters. To date, nearly a dozen high profile players have been lost due to injury, and it seems that fitness could be a determining factor in who holds the World Cup Trophy come July 11th.

But we must widen our window to the last few months, back to October when Oguchi Onyewu suffered a torn patellar tendon in his knee. This ended his season with AC Milan and he hasn't played a full 90-minutes since. This has commentators questioning the United States' defense and World Cup chances.

David Beckham's season-ending Achilles Tendon Injury was suffered in mid March, but unlike Onyewu, ended his hopes of a spot on England's World Cup roster.

Then things got quiet until these final weeks leading up the World Cup. Drogba, Pirlo, Ferdinand, Nani, Ballack, Mikel, and Michael Essien are all on the list of those who will be watching the games from the sidelines, and all prior to their injuries were key components to their nation's hopes of winning it all. 

This is just the culmination of playing a season in which you have no breaks. A 38-game season in the Premier league is enough to weaken even the toughest bodies, but when you add games in the Champions League, World Cup Qualifying and other various games, most stars are simply not able to keep their bodies healthy.

Nothing can be done now, but it does make us change our thoughts about the potential winner of the world's greatest tournament. If Drogba is unfit to play, they will have a tough time getting out of group G that has both Brazil and Portugal. Chelsea Forward Salomon Kalou will have to have an extraordinary tournament to make up for the loss of Drogba.

England was a favorite to hold the trophy, but the loss of Rio Ferdinand places doubt and pressure on their back four, especially ex-captain John Terry. Questions about Wayne Rooney's fitness also place doubt on England's ability to make it to the final.

This year's tournament promises to be as entertaining as previous installments, but the team who wins will be the team that can stay on the field. The flies are dropping, let's see who can navigate their way to the finish line.

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