When the 2010 FIFA World Cup gets underway on June 11 in Johannesburg many of the footballers playing in the tournament will be extremely familiar to UK TV viewers due to their current or past connection to the FA Premier League.
As well as the England contingent there will be many representatives from the Premier League playing for all the top ten ranked countries, as well as others, in the Finals tournament.
Starting with tournament joint-favourites Spain, prolific 25-year-old Liverpool striker Fernando Torres is sure to feature heavily, providing he remains fit after returning from a spell of injury. The Merseyside favourite managed to bag a trio of goals during Spain’s 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals campaign, and he also scored the winner in the UEFA Euro 2008 Final against Germany. The blonde-haired goal machine will be hoping to repeat that feat in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.
Teammate Cesc Fabregas plies his trade at Arsenal and along with former Liverpool player Xabi Alonso, who now plays at Real Madrid, will be hoping to make a big impact in South Africa during June and July 2010. Other Spanish players well-known to Premiership fans include Liverpool’s goalkeeper Jose (Pepe) Reina and left winger Albert Riera.
Amongst other Premiership players hoping to be on flights to the FIFA World Cup will be Holland and Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie. Having sustained a serious injury to his right ankle playing for Holland, the 26-year-old underwent surgery in early December 2008 and is anticipating returning to football before the FIFA World Cup Finals get underway.
Manchester United players attending the FIFA World Cup finals, in addition to England’s Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and possibly Owen Hargreaves, could also include 39-year-old goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar who is Holland’s most capped player of all time. Although officially retired from international football the Dutchman has been approached by his national side to come out of retirement and join the Holland squad on the flight to South Africa.
Chelsea, of course, will also provide England with a host of players including captain John Terry and midfield dynamo Frank Lampard as well as players to other countries in a veritable who’s who of international football stars. Indeed, Premiership teams outside the top four will also be contributing players to the 32 teams in the tournament; far too numerous to mention individually.
Whichever team in the Premiership that you follow, you are almost certain to see a player or two from your team playing in South Africa next year.
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