23 July, 2021

Kick And Tell

A new edition of the Cup, a new posse of thoroughbreds. Who'll be the star of 2006?

Kick And Tell
Once every four years, 32 countries around the world put aside notions of difference, political squabbles et al to celebrate their inclusion in what everyone describes as the most effervescent party in the world. Bugles blowing, drums thumping, supporters painted in every colour of the rainbow are dancing into Germany for football's showpiece event, beginning June 9. Brazil, as always, is 9/4 favourite, but as that hoary cliche goes, in football you never know.

Brazilian coach Carlos Perreira is so confident he's already named a starting line-up for the first game. And it'll be led in the front by the magic quartet of Ronaldinho, Kaka, Ronaldo and Adriano, known to dumbfound the best of defences with their overlapping runs and silken ball control.

But as other coaches will be reassuring their players, there are chinks in Brasilia's armour. Predictably, the weakness stems from the back. In 2002, Gilberto and Emerson were at their defensive finest, breaking up counter-attacks and shielding the back four. But the former has hardly...

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