The Missing Talents of World Cup 2006
The greatest sporting spectacle, the football (soccer for the Americans) World Cup starts today. The sport is the most followed in the world. And there has been a huge build up to the sport, with all leading dailies in India (a country which hasn't ever qualified for the World Cup) dedicating a lot of print space to it. "All the best football and all the best contemporary players will be on display", they claim.
Well, I certainly hope for the best football, but the World Cup will definitely miss out on some of the greatest contemporary players. Some due to injury, others, due to non-qualification of national teams, and yet others due to coaches preferring younger players.
Wayne Rooney's injury has been much publicized, with Englishmen ready to cite his injury as an excuse for not winning the World Cup (Not that too many are betting on England to win anyways).But Rooney is an exciting player, and amongst the best strikers in the World today, and neutrals like me would love to watch him play (recent reports show that Rooney may be able to play in the world cup). Djibril Cisse, French striker fractured his foot in a friendly against China, which leaves him out of the World Cup. Other players on the doubtful-due-to-injury list include the mercurial S&M player Mateja Kezman, Euro 2004 top-scorer and Czech striker Milan Baros, teammate Vladimir Smicer, and more recently, the Dutch trio of Phillip Cocu, Van Bronckhorst and Wesley Sneijder, all limping off in a friendly against Australia.. Claudio Reyna, Roque Santa Cruz, Rafael Van der Vaart and Golden boot favourite Andriy Shevchenko are on the list too.
Aging players will also be missing, especially with teams whose coaches have a fetish for youth. Edgar Davids, Roy Makaay and Clarence Seedorf, all in good form, will miss the World Cup, losing their position to younger players. The Dutch coach Marco Van Basten has gone in for a young squad, forcing viewers to miss the talents of these players. Darren Bent, who impressed all (all but Eriksson) with his performance in the Premiership will also be missing.
Senegal, which beat defending champs France in the last World Cup, Wales, Colombia, Ireland are some teams which have not qualified for World Cup this time. Hence the talented players from these teams will obviously be missing. Which means the likes of Diof, Cisse, Keane, Rio Ferdinand, Cordoba, Moreno etc. will also be absent from the World Cup scene.
But the player I will miss the most this World Cup is arguably one of the greatest left- wingers in the world, drawing comparisons with George Best, and like Best, a player who hasn't played any World Cup. This was the last chance for this Welsh Wizard to prove his mettle on the greatest stage, but again, Wales couldn't qualify. Yes, I am talking about Ryan Giggs.
Ryan Giggs has been one of the stars at Manchester United, causing havoc in opponent's defence with his dribbling on the left flank. He has been the cause of many United victories, and even at 33 years of age, played a pivotal role this season in ensuring Manchester United a second place in the league.
The other players mentioned in this article have had their World Cup moments, or can look forward to playing the World Cup in the future. But Ryan Giggs will be one footballer who never got an opportunity to set alight the World Cup, the grandest footballing event, with the magic only he can unleash.