This just in from South Afrikkka, it’s the ASP Top 50 select XI…
D Reynolds M Bourez (Capt) B Martinez* K Slater*
T Pires T Whitaker J Smith J Duru
L Stedman for Slater
A de Souza for Flores
H Alves for Martinez
M Fanning for Smith/Whitaker
B Durbidge (GK)
Owen Wright will use his height advantage in the centre forward role a la Crouchey or Torres. An aerial threat from crosses and set pieces (Slater), long limbs and changes of pace will give centre halves nightmares. Jeremy will sit in the hole behind him and be the link up man, not afraid to take on a defender or shoot from deep. Middle of the park, skipper Bourez will be the ball winner in the Essien/Mascherano mode, and will generally sit while Bobby will look to bomb on, a powerful midfield duo bossing the game and dictating tempo. Wide right, Kelly will play the Beckham role, full of experience, deadly from crosses/free kicks and amazing for shirt sales. Stedman (who might need to replace him after an hour by the knock-out stages) will also be a big hit with the ladies and great for shirt sales. Dane will be the talisman in the Messi position, and will drift in with mazey dribbles, dazzling skills, stunning strikes and general champagne football, and will also take penalties. The downside is that he will be terrible at tracking back, leaving his left back constantly exposed. For that reason, Tiago’s power and experience will be vital, as will Tommy Whits’ pace and power in getting across. The big men, him and Jordy will grow in stature through the tournament and leave Dan Ross in goal with little to do most games. As cover for either of them, Mick’s big match experience, pace and calm under pressure will be vital. The Brazilians, De Souza and Alves are tournament players, great to have in the squad and will turn certain games for you. Joan’s energy and youthful exuberance will be a threat overlapping Slater and whipping in balls, while his crunching tackling will unsettle the opposition’s flair players.
Prediction: 3rd, going out 3-2 on penalties to Argentina in the Semis. (The best team always looses in the semis).