The Road to South Africa and the 2010 World Cup resumes this weekend and next week with a full slate of qualifiers. The football aficionado has a veritable smorgasbord of matches to choose from.
Here, a link list to World Cup news from around the football world with my fresh analysis ...
First, have you seen Spain's new kit? I like the classic red jersey myself. But I fancy the new ones. Still, what's up with the war paint on their cheeks?
Next Wednesday, legendary Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni, now the coach of the Republic of Ireland, takes on Italy in a vital qualifier.
Many believe Trapattoni's prime motivation for taking the Ireland job last May was to try and outsmart the national team he failed to inspire to glory during his stint in charge between 2000 and 2004, so now comes his ultimate test as he prepares to do battle with compatriots who will become his enemies for one night as least.Can the 70-year old do it? I hate to bet against him, but Italy are the World Champions ... can't knock success.
France have struggled in World Cup qualifiers. They take on Lithuania this Saturday and many see it as a chance for redemption for Les Bleus.
Over on FIFA's official website, Barcelona defender and Mexico international Rafa Marquez offers his assessment of Mexico's chances for Cup qualification under Swedish coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Goal.com tells us about some of the most shocking results in World Cup qualifying history.
Who can forget Brazil's shock loss to Chile nine years ago?
Chile 3-0 Brazil (15 August 2000, Santiago, Chile) Qualification for World Cup Japan & South Korea 2002Speaking of Brazil, will Kaka be fit to play in Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Ecuador? Doctors say he's 50-50. I'd rather have 50% of Kaka than most everyone in the world!
Five-time World Cup winners Brazil are the only nation to have taken part in every single World Cup competition since its inception in 1930, but they have never come closer to elimination from the South American section than en route to Asia in 2002.
Ronaldo was recuperating from his horrific knee injury suffered when playing for Internazionale and sat out the entire campaign, and how his nation missed his goals. Brazil’s results stumbled from bad to worse, but in Chile they were completely and utterly outclassed by the dynamic strike-force of Ivan Zamarano and Marcelo Salas.
Both forwards along with Estay got on the score-sheet amid some alarming Brazilian defending to leave the Samba stars teetering on the brink of a premature exit. However, Rivaldo rallied his side to a 3-0 win in their final match against Venezuela to guide his nation to the finals, albeit through the back door.
And the rest, as they say, is history; Ronaldo returned, emerged with the Golden Boot after scoring eight goals and Brazil were victorious once more.
Finally, South Africa's decision to ban the Dalai Lama from a peace conference in the country speaks badly about the advancement of democracy in the 2010 World Cup host country, according to this blog post ...
What do you all think?