As the World Cup beckons, qualifiers start to come their natural closures. Despite predictable dominating group performances by Germany and Belguim, there are many questions still to be asked of the International Soccer Community.
1. Does England Have The Stones
England over the years has lacked the killer instinct. Whether it has been choking or bad breaks England has had some poor results in qualifiers over the years. It is not the quality of players. Lampard and Gerrard give the Lions a chance to spread the field, while Walcott should help stretch the field horizontally. With Rooney and/or Sturridge up front the English side shouldn’t struggle for goals either. The main question is will England play tentatively because of an aging back line or will the Lions get out in the open and play the creative game they’re capable of playing. Maybe with Cole’s injury and the injection of a younger Leighton Baines will add some energy to the Wembly side. Regardless of how, England needs two winning results to prove to the world they are still nipping at the ankles of the likes of Spain and Germany.
2. How Deep is this US team
The USA has already proven that its starting 11 is the best in CONCACAF especially in home matches. The attacking options have been sublime on all levels. However, the holding midfield without Stuart Holden and the distributor roll left semi-vacant by the hobbled Michael Bradley have left some questions in the depth available for the USA in a long tournament like the World Cup. Beckerman and Jones look up to the task but their reliability and match intelligence still remains in question since both are prone to the more then occasional yellow. The back line has gotten more solid but it would be nice to see the ability for a solid rotation, something that’s crucial to a long tournament.
3. Can Uruguay Hang On?
It seems weird to be talking about a team with the like of 2 of the best 5 strikers in the world hanging on for a World Cup spot. Oh and this team also has the ageless Diego Forlan as its third best attacker. However, Uruguay is in a playoff spot in their South American division. Technically if Uruguay gets 0 points from their next two games (Argentina and a scary Ecuador) and Venezuela beats bottom dwelling Paraguay the two would be tied on points. This is not a farfetched scenario and would down to the goal differential between the two. Plus if South American Soccer has taught us anything, weird things do happen. The World Cup would be better off with the Light Blues in contention but even now it looks like their route will at best take them through a playoff.