Taking a break from the madness of the NBA Finals, the 2010 FIFA World Cup starts this weekend which should provide a brief, pleasurable diversion from footy-mad Melbourne. Maybe not for us hardened NBA fans who have enjoyed the excitement of the Celtics/Lakers confrontation unfold. But if you’re a diehard sports fan, then the next month will be a tireless one where much sleep will be lost, alcohol consumption will precariously ascend (if it hasn’t already) and food binging will be at a premium. Competency during day jobs will drop, while female partners will take a backseat, major backseat. Oh, it’s going to happen. You know it. The World Cup, plus the AFL midseason, plus the NBA Finals equals an absolutely, disgustingly good mix! And no, that does not include netball Luke Darcy…

Like basketball, football aka soccer, whatever, optimizes a gluttony of skill sets, awareness and athleticism from ball control, to foot placement, to running, jumping, power, vision and timing etc. For football nuts, appreciation of the elite players who have gracefully amalgamated all of the aforementioned is of the highest order. To FIFA fanatics the Kaka’s, the Christiano Ronaldo’s, Lionel Messi’s and Fernando Torres’ all come to mind. All four rank at the top of very long list of superstars across the globe and are certified all-stars of the sport. All will feature in the 2010 World Cup headlines.

In dramatic fashion (with the Marv Albert voice), RobD set the standard first with the All-NBA AFL team. Now comes ‘The All-NBA FIFA team’. Many of you will debate the inclusions on the squad, which will consist of a starting 11, a manager, with a bench of seven (two forwards, two defenders, two midfielders, and a goalkeeper). The traditional 4-4-2 formation will be exercised; kick takers will be listed, while selections will revolve around stars that have performed the last two or three seasons and why. In short, you won’t be seeing AI or T-Mac getting nods here or even Vince Carter, who would likely fake an injury after being tackled.

THE STARTING ELEVEN

Goal Keeper- Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic)
Howard’s length, timing and quickness off the mark would be enough to stifle any attack and knock away any shots on target. He also moves extremely well for a big man allowing him to cover either side of the goal, and would time his run to spike away any crosses or through balls in his vicinity.

Left Back- Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)
A serial pest, who throws his (light) weight around, is not afraid to get his hands dirty on defense. Rondo’s speed and quick thinking would also result in him generating a lot of run out of defense.

Center Back- Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)
Garnett’s length, experience and leadership would see him martial a sturdy defense. He would spit the dummy at teammates if defenders were left unmarked, yet bring out the best of those who lined up alongside him. KG would psychologically rattle an opponent and draw the ire of opposing fans making an invaluable member of his team.

Center Back- Ron Artest (LA Lakers)
Body to body Artest’s opposing strikers would find it difficult to outrun and position themselves against the powerful defender. He would time his tackles beautifully and give the defense plenty of character.

Right Back- Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
With such a spread of talent dominating the forward half, Wade’s spectacular talents could see him playing as an attacking defender. He is athletic enough to cover a vast amount of field, can stop his opponent one on one and go forward if asked.

Left Wing- Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)
Ginobili’s determination and ability to come through during the big games keeps him ahead of his more talented midfield mates (and not because he’s Argentinean!). Manu would slice a defense up whenever he felt like; make it look Cyrily-delicious, set up or finish with the nastiest of strikes.

Central Midfield (Captain)- Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns)
Nash has absolute sheer passion for the sport making him a natural leader and shoe-in to wear the captain’s armband. He’d bring everyone into the contest with his feel for the game, unselfish nature and majestic passing skills. His unique ballhandling prowess would allow him to navigate through any tight defense anywhere on the pitch. Nash wouldn’t be such a bad finisher either.

Central Midfield- LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
The biggest superstar in the game today would be able to do it all on the field, and for the full 90 minutes. James’ strength, vision and speed would see him bust through any defensive press and create many goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates or himself. His athleticism and precision would also making him particularly dangerous in the air too as opponents would struggle to stop him from impending headers. You could imagine his puff of powder ritual being used after celebrating a goal he just scored.

Right Wing- Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks)
Kidd is the wily vet who would generate plenty of attacks from the wing. His passing skills would delight his forwards as he would be able to setup via precise long crosses to the box or quick jab-like passes that would lead to many through balls. Kidd’s instincts and tenacity would see him go back to help the defense as well as being a reliable free kick option.

Left Forward- Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers)
As the best scorer/striker in the world, Bryant’s aggressiveness and never-say-die attitude would resonate well amongst his teammates. His sublime ball-control and quickness would see him dance around opponents. Bryant’s cold-blooded ability would see him score many goals late in games in a variety of ways- either by well-placed headers, powerful strikes outside the box or the clinical, calm finishes that would give no opposing keeper a chance.

Right Forward- Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Young, quick, skillful and long. Durant is the youthful star of the team and his ability to score goals, and plenty of them in a season make him a certainty in the starting 11. He is absolute triple threat that would allow him to score from all angles, either by long dynamic strikes, using his pace one on one, or his height, length and leap to jump overwhelm a defender in the air.

SUBSTITUTES

GK- Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
Veteran keeper who has accomplished all (aka Peter Schmeichel?)

DF- Josh Smith (Atlanta Hawks)
Up and coming lengthy defender.

DF- Anderson Varajao (Cleveland Cavaliers)
A scrappy, no-nonsense enforcer (Ed note: and hands-down the team’s best diver)

MF- Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)
Germans always play at a high level in ball sports.

MF- Deron Williams (Utah Jazz)
Would spell J-Kidd in the second half.

FW- Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets)
Loves a goal and when hot, has golden boot potential.

FW- Amare Stoudamire (Phoenix Suns)
Explosive, big-bodied goal scorer who’d wreak all kinds of havoc in the box.

KICK TAKERS

Free Kicks & Penalties- Kobe Bryant
The biggest kicks in the most pressurized of situations, who would also find a seam amongst any defensive wall. Who else would rather have?

Corner Kicks- Steve Nash
Would thrive in hitting targets from both sides. Nash could also reset the attack should the corner kick rebound back to him.

Manager: Phil Jackson (LA Lakers head coach)
All these egos require an individual who has won titles both as a player (New York Knicks) and coach (Chicago Bulls and Lakers). Zen Master Jackson knows exactly how to prepare his crew for the big game occasion and has the total, utter respect of the entire dressing room.


Thanks to HoopCity for making this image!


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