Football (or soccer, as we call it) may not be the most popular game in the Philippines. But the 2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in South Africa, which kicked of on June 11, brought out all the Pinoy football freaks in full force. Though they’re still a minority, it doesn’t mean their game is less exciting. Thus, SPOT.ph lists 10 World Cup teams to watch out for and bet on. (And, for the girls, we’ve picked out the eye candy offerings of each team. If you like what you see, it’s always easier to get into the game.)
1. Argentina - La Albiceleste (Blue and White)
Field report: Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to its second World Cup crown in 1986, returns as the coach of La Albiceleste. He now has the chance to duplicate what he did as a player and give the seventh ranked squad its third title to end a 24-year drought. Lionel Messi, regarded as one of the world’s best players, leads the star-studded roster tasked to win the country’s first international trophy since the 1993 Copa America. Argentina opened their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over Nigeria.
Star players: Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherano, Javier Zanetti, Gabriel Batistuta, and Juan Sebastian Veron.
2. Brazil - Auriverdes (Gold and Green)
Field report: Brazil’s strong football roots, its one-named players (with Pelé being the famous of them all), and their rhythm on the field makes the team a perennial World Cup favorite. Brazil, a country which has turned football into a religion, has 14 one-named players in its roster. It’s the only country that has participated in all 19 World Cup games and has won a record five titles with a 64-14-14 win-draw-loss record out of the 92 games they played. Though the team’s performance was not that impressive in its first, they still managed a 2-1 victory over North Korea.
Star players: Kaka, Maicon, Lucio, Robinho, Michel Bastos, Luis Fabiano, Dani Alves, and Julio Cesar.