National U.S. Soccer Team
Three-time FIFA World Cup™ winners Germany are usually there or thereabouts when the honours are handed out, and the current national squad will head for South Africa with their sights and expectations set appropriately high. After triumphing in Switzerland in 1954, on home soil in 1974 and in Italy in 1990, the team now coached by Joachim Low are aiming to hoist the most prestigious trophy in the world's favourite sport for the fourth time.
The Germans' consistent success is based on deep reserves of experience, finely-honed tactical know-how, and the ability to rise to the occasion when the chips are down. Their qualifying campaign merely served to emphasise the enduring nature of those attributes. Michael Ballack will be utterly determined to lead his country to a major international title after the runners-up spot at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, third on home soil in 2006, and another second place at UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland.
That would not merely be the crowning glory of the Germany captain's already illustrious career, it would elevate him to membership of an elite group of FIFA World Cup-winning captains, legendary trio Fritz Walter, Franz Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthaus. Apart from Ballack, German hopes rest largely on striker Miroslav Klose, a goal-getter with the uncanny ability to hit peak form bang on time for the FIFA World Cup, and former talented youngsters turned senior pros Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas ...