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What superstar will miss the 2010 World Cup?


What would a World Cup be without some of the biggest names in soccer? The World Cup in 2010 is shaping up to show what happens when the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Zlatan Ibrahimovic don't show up to take part.

The qualifying struggles of each player's home country has been well documented. Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic share the same UEFA qualifying group, Group 1, that has been controlled by Denmark. Because of the Danes success, it is guaranteed that either Portugal or Sweden will be unable to make it to either an automatic bid or a playoff spot — unless the Danish team were to have a collapse of epic proportion.

Down in South America, Argentina has struggled mightily to play consistently under Diego Maradona. As a result, Lionel Messi, perhaps the best player in the world at the moment, finds himself in jeopardy of missing the cup. Of the three players, Messi does seem most likely to make it, with Argentina looking safe to at least make the CONCACAF/CONMEBOL playoff — assuming Argentina could easily take care of their CONCACAF opponent.

Who do you think will miss the World Cup in 2010 of these three? Will all three somehow get in? And what will be the fallout of it?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Maybe a little far from the topic, but i would say that the reason why stars miss WC is because of places every confideration gets. Only 13 places for Europe?? That is a joke. It means any possible way for a middle team to qualify from Europe will mean not to see one of the big teams in WC.

    It would be much more fair to give places as follow:

    Europe 16 (it deserves more but then there would be more than half of teams from Europe and kinda not cool)
    Africa 4
    North America 3
    Asia 3
    S America 4,5 with Oceania – plus Brazil as a host if apply in 2014

  2. To be honest, major international footbal tournaments are almost never about the individuals (unlike domestic leagues). Portugal the team would be missed, for example, and I’m saying that as an Englishman, but Ronaldo?… meh.

  3. Argentina should have never let Maradona coach its squad.

    It also seems like they really haven’t been able to replace Riquelme – even with his advanced age and lack of pace.

    He seems to put the team in better positions in the final 3rd, and he makes them more dangerous on free kicks.

    A pity he’s not playing or they haven’t found a younger player with the same skill set.

    But, I don’t hesitate in saying that the only thing I really care about it is our Nats qualifying.

  4. I can’t stand superstar worship in this sport. You know which teams I want most to be at the World Cup? The ones that won their goddamn qualifying groups. Getting too hyped up about individual players diminishes the rest of the game and it’s a shame. We might as well be MLB fans obsessing over home runs records and ignoring the game. We make ourselves a farce if we do that.

  5. Ronaldo should miss it. didn’t he cry like a sissy last time?

    If Messi misses this Copa, I’m gonna be pissed. in fact, i’m already pissed at Marano-diva. maradona. dude sucks. no i won’t be pissed, even worse, i’ll be crestfallen (heard that used here the other day).

  6. I would much rather see “world class” teams instead of “world class” players. Just because c ronaldo is on your team doesn’t mean you are going to play beautiful entertaining soccer, and it doesn’t mean you are going to win. The teams that get there will be the teams that deserve to be there. They will most likely be the teams playing the most exciting enjoyable soccer as well.

  7. I hope the FIFA decision on seeding the UEFA draw blows up in their face and all the seeds lose out. Not likely I realize, but I would find it hilarious. The organization is the most corrupt in sports.

  8. Giggs’ options for national teams were Wales and Sierra Leone, but not England. I find that amusing.

    Anyway, he represented his country in the World Cup, just not the finals. The World Cup is like the FA Cup or the US Open Cup. Everyone gets a shot.

  9. I am hoping that the 5th place south american team loses to whoever the 4th place CONCACAF team. Maybe when they lose in Hunduras or Costa Rica people will realize that CONCACAF qualifying is not that easy.

  10. The WC misses star players ALL THE TIME. I think it was Bobby McMahon who made the point that in ’58 when Brazil won their first title there were a TON of players who were superstars at the time missing and people had the same worreis, but to this day it has gone down as one of the best WC’s ever.

    Of course part of that is due to a little know 17 year old known as Pele getting a chance on the big stage. I’d say he did pretty well for himself and just shows that tomorrow’s star could be waiting on one of the teams that is pushing the Cristiano Ronaldos of the world out the door.

  11. Its utterly ridiculous for anyone to say that would be happy and the world cup would be better off to not have players like, Messi, Ronaldo, Zlatan or any other player that is deemed world class. Its unfortunate that some of the world’s best wont make it, but to hope they will not is simply idiotic.

  12. what would make it more interesting for me, is that if Argentina isn’t there, it probably means that 4 CONCACAF teams are….

  13. K bone – Way to show your knowledge.
    Not every player on a team is a highlight real player.

    There are way more players in “top” teams then then just Ronaldo.

    Deco – Chelsea
    Carlvaho – Chelsea
    Bosingwa – Chelsea
    Ferriera – Chelsea
    Pepe – Real Madrid
    Ronaldo – Real madrid
    Tiago – Juventus
    Nani- Manchester United
    Simao – Atletico Madrid

    And that is not counting all the players from Porto like Alves. And i don’t care what anyone says, FC Porto, no matter how much i hate them, is still a powerhouse team.

  14. How can you say Argentina look safe when they sit 1 point ahead of Uruguay in that position with Uruguay having them by 7 on goal difference and a game in Uruguay to close the qualifying?

  15. Exactly Cabrito.

    I would like to see some US stars miss the WC like Casey, Ching, Bornstein, Bob Bradley. I would like for them all to be replaced with updated versions for next summer.

    But they will all be there, happy as can be.

    Sadly people will see Casey play instead of Ronaldo, Messi, Zlatan, Henry. Messed up I tell you.

    Disclaimer: I want the Nats to qual, I just want those players to not be in the final 23.

  16. Say all you want about Ronaldo’s diving, but no one gets legitimately fouled more than he does. His career will surely be shortened by accumulated injuries. The World Cup will be less exciting without him in it. Hate the game, not the player!

  17. Portugal gets two wins at home. Sweden gets an away draw to Denmark. Both teams end up at 19 points, and Cristiano Renaldo goes home on goal differential.

    Those are the breaks in World Cup qualifying.

  18. under-performing in WCQ anyway.

    rant over. That said, i do not agree with the new seeding system this late in qualifying..but i do want the best teams there, haha. we’ll see what happens

  19. omg, come ronaldo haters..yeah he can be a douche sometimes, but hey. He plays beautiful soccer(aside from the occasional dive, which doesnt dominate hit game, like it used to) 7 goal in 7 games, speaks for it self, as well as his ManU record. Hes an awesome talent, even though he under-performing right now. He SHOULD be there, and hope he makes it

  20. A couple of other things regarding to

    FIFA TV access.

    1. The TV Companies in countries that are deemed being able to afford to pay pick up the tab.

    2. FIFA World Cup Finals must be shown for Free. Can’t charge to actually show World Cup matches anywhere on the planet.

    ESPN pays a premium to show matches as does RAI, BBC, Canal+, Azteca, Globo, etc….

    Tell me if that’s not a kool thing. Charge those who can afford it and those who can’t you pick up the tab?

  21. It would be disappointing to see Messi miss the World Cup…..but to have Maradona miss out would be the “hand of god”. Karma would exist.

  22. I just read something in another website about how the NFL gets it and FIFA just keeps missing the point. NLF gives it fans so much access to their League and their product while FIFA does not even have a FIFA channel on any cable or satellite provider, and with this closed circuit crap they are further pushing away the avg soccer fan or those trying to get into it from following the game. The answer was not a very good one.

    Posted by: julio | October 08, 2009 at 03:17 PM

    Whomever posted in the website is clearly ignorant of FIFA TV and the service it provides. We’re fortunate to be in a country in which we have access to a variety of means to watch soccer. However the majority of people in the world are not so fortunate and must rely on the FIFA feed they can get over the air in their country. Not only is it free but there’s a good chance that it’s in a language they can understand. It’s something the NFL could only dream of and it’s paid for by those whom can afford to – like many of us in industrialized countries. Heck you can even get an idea of what the rate at which a country’s TV channel would be charged if you visit FIFA’s website. It helps insure that everyone on the planet can watch the game, so people in places like Somalia or let’s say Haiti can actually watch World Cup matches. This is truly a beautiful thing.

    There are plenty of things you can knock FIFA on but this isn’t one of them. They got it right.

  23. I think it’s fine if some stars miss the World Cup. The World Cup will make new stars. Although I was kind of looking forward to some sort of Christiano-Ronaldo-does-something-stupid-at-the-World-Cup news stories.

  24. Julio,

    there is plenty of evidence that supports your contention that pay per view et al are the wax elephant of sports. Remember when NBC tried to put most of its Olympic coverage on three cable channels. It was a flop and those games were ignored by the public. If soccer goes the same route, it will ruin the sport. MLS’s decision to have its games on a myriad of networks is cumbersome for the viewer and ultimately undermining for the league. But greed has no bounds and is usually myopic. Just ask those in charge of boxing. Ali was a household name when the fights were broadcasted on ABC in the seventies. Who is the heavy weight champ now? Few people know. Exposure brings in interest and revenue. Concealing games in pay per view reduces mass culture attention.

  25. Argentina will qualify. They may finish 5th and have to play the 4th CONCACAF team, but they will win. I only hope the USA doesn’t choke and have to face a very pissed-off Argentine team.

  26. If the NFL thought they could get away with and make as much money with an all-subscription distribution network, they would. Politicians who keep raiding the public treasury to build them stadiums might not be too pleased if the league did that. Otherwise, I bet the league would love to do that.

  27. The NFL is a purely private concern that owns its product. FIFA is a loose confederation or regional confederations, which are themselves just groupings of quasi-public national federations. At least under its current rules, FIFA can’t force a national federation to choose one distribution method over another for broadcasts.

    Also, I’m not a big fan of the way the NFL and MLB are finding more and more ways to push their fans into personal/individual purchases or contracts to see content online or on TV. Sure, you don’t have to to a bar to see it, but you have to pay a lot of money to see it on your TV or PC.

  28. This pic would be a great “You write the caption”

    Ronaldo, “You see you did not roll enough, thats why you didn’t get the call, next time try to do a flip.”

  29. I just read something in another website about how the NFL gets it and FIFA just keeps missing the point. NLF gives it fans so much access to their League and their product while FIFA does not even have a FIFA channel on any cable or satellite provider, and with this closed circuit crap they are further pushing away the avg soccer fan or those trying to get into it from following the game. The answer was not a very good one.

  30. I’ve never been that impressed with Portugal. To be honest they usually have poor goalkeeping (not even remotely worldclass) and no good strikers. They rely on Ronaldo way too much and aside from him they don’t have anyone else who is a superstar on the elite teams. Deco used to be but he’s faded, Nani has failed to live up to his potential so far, and Pepe is pretty good, sometimes, but overall they don’t do much for me. Given all that, I am still surprised how bad they are doing in qualifying, considering their group…

  31. The great thing about this sport is that it isn’t an individual sport — you cannot have a Michael Jordan in soccer. Even the best players are just cogs in a much bigger machine. (don’t believe me, try putting Messi on the San Jose Earthquakes for a year and see if he still is the “world’s greatest player.”)

    Individual players not making the World Cup isn’t a big deal. I will be a little surprised if Portugal, with all of their talent, does not make it. But it seems there is at least one surprise every four years.

  32. Robin, Bendtner is a total douchebag, who would wish him to be a superstar? He’d be an even bigger dick if he played well in the World Cup. I seriously doubt he will anyway, he’s really not that good. And I think Ribery is a much bigger star than Henry in terms of stars missing the World Cup. As for Ronaldo, he certainly can be a douche, but there is no doubt he is an amazing player, although he is underwhelming with the national team…

  33. CSD –

    The format isn’t what bothers me….it’s the timing of the announcement of the change in format. If it’s been done year after year, why the change this year? And why does the change happen when it seems like a record number of “big” nations are in danger of finishing in second place?

    Even if UEFA sets the rules, FIFA has dominance over them, so I’d blame both.

  34. The Danes often manage to surprise — anyone remember the hot start by Danish Dynamite in the ’86 Mexico Cup? I am definitely pulling for Sweden, to see Zlatan. I’m a huge fan of his. It would be a loss for the tournament if Ronaldo doesn’t make it, but I won’t shed tears — at least, it would make a heckuva story. I still find it hard to believe that Argentina won’t qualify, even with their buffoonish coach.

  35. Mike,
    I thought each region decided their own qualifying format after FIFA told them how many spots they had in the final and if they had to play a playoff with another region to get a team in. I would think UEFA is to blame for the format in UEFA qualifying.

  36. You hope Ronaldo fails because he’s a douche and then support Bendtner? That’s a little hypocritical.

    I like watching good players play, and I actually think our team plays better against top competition. Sports are entertainment, I want to see the best entertainers, I hope they all make it.

  37. As long as Sweden doesn’t beat Denmark in Denmark, Portugal is in good shape.

    If Sweden loses, a Portugal win over Hungary means they move ahead by a point.

    If Sweden draws, then it comes down to goal differential in the final game. Portugal hosts Malta, Sweden hosts Albania. I’d put my money on Portugal–Albania is tougher and Sweden has had trouble scoring during qualifiers.

    The seeding for UEFA playoffs is a joke. The only upside is that, effectively, it probably won’t make much difference other than potentially having Germany and France in one pot.

    Pot A:





    Pot B:


    Czech Rep/Slovenia



    I’d rather face Croatia or Greece than Ireland or Portugal right now.

  38. Messi, C. Ronaldo, and Ibrahimovic are all superstars. While it would be sad to see them not there, I’m more eager to see who emerges onto the world scene and who becomes a star. There are always 3-5 players that fit into that category. That’s what excites me. It’s not the superstars. It’s the players who become them during and after the WC.

  39. I’d put Ronaldo’s odds of being there at no better than 1 in 2 at this point. Which is a shame, because as much as I hate the guy, I love watching him play.

    I’d also hate for Sweden to miss out, just because of the potential for so many “Zlatan being Zlatan” moments in the press tent.

  40. I’d also love Ronaldo not making it. It would free us for a summer of shirtless Ronaldo pics with whatever bombshell he’s currently shtoinking.

  41. Off topic, but I think it’s absurd that FIFA has blatantly changed the rules regarding the 8-nation second-place playoff that occurs in the UEFA region. Previously, all 8 teams would be in an open draw. Now, with 2 games left in WCQ, FIFA decides to seed the teams, basically ensuring that the top teams will all make it anyway? How are people not making a bigger deal of this obvious ploy to push the powers to the Cup? It’s ridiculous!

    Rant over.

  42. I would love to see Ronaldo miss. A world cup free of the douchebag’s dives. Another big name not to go to South Africa might be Thierry Henry. I hope Nicklas Bendtner becomes a big star after this world cup.


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