Let’s hear it for the World Cup’s 33rd team
While a lucky pool of soccer millionaires can now get down to some serious daydreaming about World Cup glory in South Africa next year, there’s another group of equally well renowned and respected players who will be spending the summer sprucing up the gardens (or getting their agents to buy them fridges).
Here at the Reuters Soccer Blog we’re a little bit saddened by this fact and, doing some daydreaming of our own, we’ve come up with a plan for a 33rd team at the World Cup, made up of players whose countries have failed to qualify.
I’m nominating Sven-Goran Eriksson for the job of coaching them, provided he will agree to swap his plush office at League Two Notts County for a month whipping our World Cup ‘unfortunates’ into shape.
Here’s my stab at a starting XI for the opening game, with a few standbys for the bench.
Sven’s unfortunates (4-3-3): 1-Petr Cech; 2-Yiri Zhirkov, 3-Thomas Vermaelen, 4-Josip Simunic, 5-Christian Chivu; 6-Andrei Arshavin, 7-Luka Modric, 8-Mohamad Zidan; 9-Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 10-Eduardo da Silva, 11-Emanuel Adebayor.
Subs: Shay Given, Razvan Rat, Robbie Keane, Martin Petrov, Dimitar Berbatov, Edin Dzeko, Adrian Mutu.
Bulgaria’s new record goal-scorer Dimitar Berbatov also makes the squad as one of a ridiculous amount of strikers, another is Edin Dzeko who has taken the Bundesliga by storm this season and the last for VfL Wolfsburg.
Have we missed someone obvious? How far could this side go? And, removing tongue from cheek for a second, is this an idea FIFA should consider?
MAKE SURE THIS MAN ISN’T STUCK DOING THE GARDEN: Barcelona’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his second goal against Zaragoza during their Spanish first division soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona October 25, 2009. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino