World Cup Lilywhites

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Sebastien Bassong - Header

So by my reckoning we’ll have nine representatives in South Africa spread across five nations, plus Harry will be doing his rent-a-quote stuff for Talksport & the BBC (and presumably doing a bit of scouting on the side).

Redknapp won’t get a look at new signing Sandro as he’s only been named as a reserve by Brazilian coach Dunga, in fact he may not get to see him in the flesh until a couple of months after the World Cup’s all over if Internacional go all the way in the Libertadores. He might recognise the South American team’s keeper though as Heurelho Gomes’s season of plenty promises to prove even more bountiful following an injury to the Brazilian number one Julio Cesar. Gomes came on against Zimbabwe in Wednesday’s friendly and acquitted himself well.

Assuming Giovani Dos Santos has finished chucking his toys out of the pram then he should be the first Spurs player to kick a ball given that Mexico open the tournament against South Africa. His reported paddy over the omission of his younger brother is laudable from a family loyalty point of view but won’t have made a good impression on the rest of the watching world.

Seb Bassong and Benoit Assou-Ekotto get their chance to strut their stuff when Cameroon play Japan on Monday week.  Given the other teams in their group are Denmark and Holland they’ll fancy their chances of getting to the last sixteen at least.  On the other hand Wilson Palacios’s involvement in the competition may be brief as Honduras are strong favourites to finish fourth in their group.

Our English contingent was culled to four from six of course and the omission of Dawson and, to an extent, the inclusion of Defoe were two of the more controversial choices. But once you take into account that Capello has gone for experience over form pretty much everywhere then the logic behind the decisions involving all of the Spurs players is a bit more apparent. The England manager’s attempts to tempt back Carragher & Scholes plus his courting of Hargreaves show where his thoughts lay in squad selection and when he measured Dawson against Upson, Huddlestone against Carrick and Defoe against Bent then in each case it would have been the number of caps and the element of ‘seen it, done it’ that swung it. Dawson being left out and Defoe getting picked are two sides of the same coin.

Dawson will be 30 come the summer of 2014 and Huddlestone 27 so both have got at least one more chance to force their way into a World Cup squad.

Of the players who did make it, Crouch and Lennon have both form and international experience on their side and were dead certs. Defoe was lucky given his anonymous displays towards the end of the season for us and King was clearly told several months ago that a string of consistently appearing (let alone consistently playing out of his skin) would be enough to get him a place.  Defoe was no doubt helped by the inclusion of Lennon and Crouch and his familiarity with them and Ledley by the fact that he hasn’t been pictured legless outside a club lately.

So overall we’ve got a fair selection of teams and players to cheer on. There should be plenty of Spurs related entertainment in the early stages at least and if there isn’t, there’s always the chance to listen to Harry and try and work out which of the billions of players we’re currently linked with is actually a genuine target.

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