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World Cup Briefs - Vote Pedro

Published: 11 May 2010 - 12:49:01

World Cups have a habit of making names of thrilling young talent - think Pele, Maradona and more recently our very own Michael Owen.

Whilst the increased prowess of the Champions League has taken much of that global spotlight element away, there is a growing belief that this could be the summer when a not so young, but relatively inexperienced man from the island of Tenerife becomes known to the world.

Barcelona's Pedro, at 22 years of age, has been in scintillating form this season. He became the first player to score in six separate club competitions in a single season when he scored an 89th minute equaliser after coming on as a substitute in the FIFA Club World Cup Final against Estuadiantes in December.

So far this season he has scored 22 goals and has become an integral part of the Barcelona side in a season he came into expected to be a bit-part player and without a senior goal to his name.

Instead he bagged at the Bernabeu in Barcelona's vital victory in April and sparkled in Seville on Saturday night scoring Barcelona's decisive third goal to, it seems, seal a second successive Spanish title.

There is an increasing clamour in Spain that Pedro could not only force his way into Vicente Del Bosque's squad but could fleet his way into the first XI with injury doubts over Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres. Of course, with Spain's serial strength in depth, he may not make the squad at all!

Fillip for Fulham

An incredible season for Fulham draws to its denouement on Wednesday night as they play their 63rd game of a scintillating season in the Europa League Final against Atletico Madrid in Hamburg.

No-one has shone as much as Bobby Zamora for the Cottagers this season whose form has been impressive enough for Fabio Capello to have had him watched on numerous occasions in the last six weeks. Zamora, who declined the overtures of Trinidad and Tobago to represent them at the 2006 World Cup, is expected to be named in Capello's provisional 30-man squad today in the knowledge that a notable performance at the Nordbank Arena will make him the first Fulham player to be included in an England World Cup squad since George Cohen in 1966.

There can be no greater incentive even on top of winning Fulham's first-ever major trophy.

Roy Hodgson, Fulham's magnificent manager, must be rubbing his hands in delight.

Hotel Paradiso

Final plans are now underway in South Africa as the continent shapes up for its first World Cup. As expected, things are not quite running to schedule. After seeing England's base near Rustenburg pictured with the training pitches being teared up a couple of months ago, Brazil's coach Dunga recently made an impromptu visit to his side's base near Johannesburg after hearing it had was under renovation.

Nigeria have recently decided to switch hotels after concerns over the noise levels at their original base, but have overlooked the fact that it leaves them over two hours drive away from Durban Stadium, when FIFA rules stipulate they can be no further than 45. As for Germany, they may not be decking their sunbeds with towels after their hotel was found to not possess the legal documentation to allow guests.

Who said preparation was everything?

Squads in Shape

Whilst Fabio Capello takes his time trimming 30 down to 23 some of the further flung nations flying to South Africa this summer have begun selecting their charges.

Japan Head Coach Takeshi Okada has kept faith with those that ensured the Nippon's qualification with just four European-based players selected - testament to the growing strength of the country's J-League. Shunsuke Nakamura and Junichi Inamoto, players familiar to those in the UK, are also part of the Japanese squad, who, despite their poor showing at the 2006 World Cup generated one of the highest sponsorship revenues of the teams that competed in Germany.

New Zealand Coach Ricki Herbert, who was part of the All Whites' side the last time they played at the World Cup in 1982, has also named his squad with amateur Andy Barron, who we spoke about last week, named in the squad.

Herbert, also a domestic Coach who took Wellington Phoenix into the A-League play-offs for the first time in their history this season, also selected defender David Mulligan, whom he had, but did not select for Wellington for the entire 2009-10 season, who has since been released and is without a club.

READ WORLD CUP BRIEFS EVERY TUESDAY ALL THE WAY TO THE FINAL

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:andy bishop
Having worked in radio, newspapers, magazines, internet and television I hope to now bring my passion for the game to your computer screens with analysis, comment and tongue-in-cheek humour on all things global in the world of football - from Barcelona to Boca and from Blatter to Berlusconi...enjoy!

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