In: Sports Talk1

There’s been weeks of breathless rumors about who won’t be on the field in South Africa — including England’s captain Rio Ferdinand and just about anyone who has ever worn a Chelsea uniform (Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, and possibly Didier Drogba and Arjen Robben), along with endless media eye-rolling about the US’s “easy draw”, desperate gnashing of teeth about Brazil’s workmanlike approach and debates about whether Italy’s ancient and desiccated warriors will decompose before they can defend their title. So it is a joyous relief that this Friday the finest soccer players in the world — and Peter Crouch — will finally kick the controversial Jabulani (and one another) and begin their quest for the 2010 World Cup.


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