How excited are you? Ah, I’ll get the nervous tingles when I land in Capetown and walk into our studio for the first time.
How do you think South Africa will go as a host? I’m confident they’re going to put on a fantastic World Cup. I believe the sort of African celebration that this World Cup is going to represent will more than overcome any problems.
Will the African teams rise to the challenge? I think they will outplay themselves. The problem for the African sides is that at the moment they’re not terribly strong, and outperforming themselves probably means just getting out of their groups.
What about the prospects of Australia vs England in the second round? Well, Australia have to get through first. That’s going to be very tough. But then it’s just the matter of a win and a draw so you never know. It would be a great match, both from a cultural and football perspective. They’ve never properly met.
Can England win? If I was an England fan I’d be very excited. If Eriksson can take them to the quarter finals, then Capello can certainly take them further. The climate suits them also, that’s extremely important, considering the way England play with a high intensity. All the factors are in their favour, including freshness. I think they’ll go a very long way.
Even Rooney? My only concern if I was an England fan would be Rooney’s fitness. He has a bad habit of getting injured at the wrong time, but secondly their overall reliance on him. My feeling is the ones who win, such as Spain, they have Torres, Villa, they have a deeper talent pool and that would be the concern for England. In order to win they would need everything to go in their favour in terms of suspensions, injury and form throughout.
How about Argentina? I’m pleased that Maradona is there. I think he is a living God of football. People just go nuts, they climb over each other to get near him. I just think it’s going to be great theatre to see him there. Can Argentina perform to their maximum under him, gee? I think it’s unlikely because he doesn’t really know what he’s doing as a coach. They just had enough good players to scrape through. It’s going to be a fascinating ride to see how he performs. SBS have exclusive Australia coverage of all World Cup South Africa 2010 matches. Check www.sbs.com.au/theworldgame for the full schedule.