We all know that ‘The greatest show on earth’ – The Tour de France takes place between the 3rd and 25th of July in and around France, but one other competition we just can’t avoid for the next few weeks is the 2010 Football World Cup, which kicks off tomorrow (Friday 10th June).
Although we’d all prefer to watch a great climb, a bunch sprint or a 50km solo attack rather than a multi millionaire roll around after being pushed over, we can’t get away from the fact that the world cup is an awesome sporting spectacle and as usual in England, we are expecting to win, but will probably get knocked out on penalties to a nation we ‘should’ have beaten easily well before the final.
So to celebrate this once every 4 years event, we wanted to create the ultimate ‘if cyclists were footballers’ dream team and have picked a team we think (on paper at least) could give many a team a run for their for money. We’ve also listed which actual professional footballer we think they are most like, based on their features, popularity, temperament and total guesswork!
Goalkeeper: Stijn Vandenbergh (Gianluigi Buffon – Italy). This Belgian giant who is regularly seen with his head above the peloton is our ideal choice for keeping the ball out of the net. At a whopping 1.99m tall and hands like shovels, his presence alone should be enough to put off any attacker.
Defenders: We have chosen the Schleck brothers; Frank and Andy (Bobby and Jack Charlton – 1966 England world cup heroes!) as our centre back partnership. They are both tall and with a telepathic often twin like understanding, they should create a good balance of height (both 1.86m) and speed. Our only concern, is that if one of them gets injured, or spots their mum in the crowd, the other will go with him rather than keep an eye on the game. Ahh, brotherly love! We have chosen Christian Vande Velde (Ashley Cole – England) and Filippo Pozzato (Kaka – Brazil) as our fullbacks, the American for his amazing ability to recover from any life threatening injury and the Italian, for his flair and style. All sides need a glamour boy in the team and this Katusha rider is style personified.
Our midfield takes on a mix of age, creativity skill and true determination, all the ingredients needed for the engine room of the team. We’ve gone for a centre midfield partnership of Cadel Evans (Frank lampard – England) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Mark Van Bommel – Netherlands). Evans may not be the most glamorous or enigmatic of characters, but his steely determination and consistent performances make him a must have in the middle. Vinokourov is the hard man of the team. This Kazakh bad boy is like a James Bond villain. He seems to have been carved out of granite and looks at you like you owe him money. Just who we need to throw his weight around and generally frighten people, (own team mates included). Our two other mid fielders are Alberto Contador and Philippe Gilbert. Contador (Xavi – Spain) provides the amazing skill, fitness, speed and all round niceness the team needs. He’ll worry everyone who plays against him and if he can stay clear of the opposition hard man, he’ll run riot! Gilbert (Landon Donavan – USA) is our other young talent. He’s exciting, aggressive and will blow a game apart given the chance.
This just leaves our attackers. We’ve gone for Thor Hushovd (Emile Heskey – England) and Mark Cavendish (Wayne Rooney – England). Hushovd is a large and intimidating Norweigan who matches brawn with brains and at 31 will have the temperament needed for the cut and thrust of the attack. Cavendish is lightening fast, fiery and opinionated. If he tires of winding up the opposition, he may turn to Hushovd and ‘discuss’ that Green jersey, but if he doesn’t get sent off he’s just the sort of player you don’t want to have to mark all game and could well bag a winner.
Our substitutes are Lance Armstrong (David Beckham – England), Tom Boonen (Ronaldo – Portugal) and Richie Porte (Carlos Tevez – Argentina). Armstrong, is at the end of his career, but has the guile and skill to make an impact off the bench. We also have to look at the sponsorship and PR angle, where he will prove invaluable. Boonen is a perfect replacement for either Cavendish or Hushovd up front. His love of the party lifestyle means that the chances of him being seen in a nightclub before the game are high, so it’s safer for him to be on the bench, especially if it’s an early kick off! Porte is an excellent young Australian talent who is one for the future and could play in most positions if necessary.
Team boss is the Belgian Johan Bruyneel, who will be allowed special dispensation to run the team when RadioShack are not racing and of course the team will play in PBK team kit (minus the oversocks if its raining!)
Think you can come up with a better dream team? Let us know who you would pick and why and we’ll let Johan know!