September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Title:Who will win the 2002 World Cup?
Body:The inevitable World Cup forecasts have gone on a long time and, in fact, constitute one of the major pleasures of the tournament.
Most predictions have already been made, and its not without reason that most foresee the triumph of France or Argentina. However, one of these two teams might have to exit the competition earlier than expected if both better-classifiers of groups A and F clash in the fourth round.
The Brazilian myth is always present and, in a survey nine coaches said that if France or Argentina lost, Brazil could snag a fifth World Cup. Its still possible. Brazil, despite its bad performances during qualifying heats, remains one of the great teams. This World Cup could show that Brazilian coach Luis Felipe Scolari will have finished creating a true team, after incessant reconfiguring. In addition, one should not overlook a reversal of fortune for Italy, Portugal, Germany, and, especially, England, under the influence of their Swedish coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. Fortunately, all the teams want to win the Cup; it would be quite dull if they all acknowledged defeat even before competition began.
Philippe Troussier, coach of the Japanese team, indicated that his team would win the trophy. At the time, his Nigerian counterpart Festus Onigbinde did not hesitate to say that this 17th World Cup will be Nigerias.
We must admit we extremely doubt it; it practically would be a miracle. Nigeria is no more than the shadow of its former self, as seen in previous competitions. At the Africa Nations Cup (CAN) at the beginning of this year, it was sad and miserable that the Nigerians could obtain only third place, and things have not improved since then.
Classification for the World Cup 2002 was done accurately. Moreover, with more than 130 of the best players in European clubs, Adegboye Onigbindes taskconstituting a truly basic reinforcement teamhas hardly been easy.
We foresee for the Nigerian selection no more than some beautiful performances and the usual unbelievable defeatsfor example, in 1998, Nigeria won a beautiful victory over Spain (3-2), and declined into a tragic defeat against Paraguay (1-3). Also, the team has aged, and only a few young people have been included on defense. In summary, Jay-Jay Okochas and Paris St Germains dribbling, and striker Nwankwo Kanus offensive effectiveness, (Kanu is a striker on the English team Arsenal) will not be enough.
We should turn our eyes somewhere else in Africa to find a candidate worthy of the title. And in this case, Cameroon is likely, thanks to its experience, its methodic play and especially its constancy. All seem to indicate that France and Argentina will arrive at their proper place at the top of the forecasts; should these two teams stumble, we divine one of the following countries winning the World Cup 2002: Italy, Portugal, Germany, Cameroon, England, Brazil andwhy not?Croatia, which finished third in 1998! To tell the truth, our choice is rather vast, it is well acknowledged. For more precision, it would be interesting to know where points the needle of our chronicler Wiener Sejour. But for his opinion we must wait.