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World Cup and the Pacific: Primer

June 10, 2010

Tim Cahill, Samoan descent, will anchor the Australia attack.

In an earlier post I mentioned that Pohnpei actually has a soccer league and a national team.  This is/was amazing to me.  (By the way, if you want an official Pohnpei jersey let me know.  First of all, you will support the team.  Secondly, how many people can say they have a Pohnpei kit?) Anyway, I digress.  For those of you not paying attention, the World Cup kicks off this Friday.  While I will  resist the urge to post some amazing advertisements and various other internet content, I will discuss the Pacific and the World Cup.  So without further ado, your 2010 Be Pacific World Cup Primer:

Key Pacific Teams:

New Zealand "All-Whites"

New Zealand: Ah, poor New Zealand.  While they are the only team to qualify from the Oceania Confederation, the horribly named All-Whites don’t stand much of a chance to do anything.

New Zealand is currently ranked 78th by FIFA and were drawn into Group F with reigning world champs Italy, a quality South American side in Paraguay and Slovakia.    At the very best, the All-Whites could win one game, but will likely drop out of the tournament without a single point.

Coach: Ricki Herbert.

Captain: Ryan Nelsen

Key player: Shane Smeltz.  Led the team through qualification scoring 8 goals.

Pacific Islanders (non-European descent): Winston Reid – Although having lived in Denmark for part of his life, Ried is of Maori descent.  Leo Bertos is half Maori as is Rory Fallon.  Jeremy Christie also has Maori heritage, but I’m not sure how much. (And it really doesn’t matter.)  So the All-Whites are really the Half-Whites, or 3/4 Whites.

Australia: After advancing out of the group stage in 2006, the Soccerroo’s are a bit unlucky this term.  Drawn into a group including the always-successful Germany, and solid Ghana and Serbia sides, Australia will have a tough time advancing out of the group stages.  Their ability to do so depends largely on the play of Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell.  If the Soccerroo’s can play mistake-free soccer, they could advance, however if they don’t capitalize on their chances then Australia could find themselves 3 and out.

Coach: Pim Verbeek

Key Player: Tim Cahill (M), Harry Kewell (F), Mark Schwarzer (G).

Pacific Islanders: Tim Cahill.  The aforementioned star is half Samoan and plays for Premier League side Everton.

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