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World Cup predictions

The 2010 FIFA World Cup has captivated the world since it kicked off last Friday. Here at Pizza Hut Park, the FC Dallas squad has been closely following the matches – so much so that Friday training had to be moved to allow the team to watch the U.S.-Slovenia match. With 25 players representing 10 different nations, rooting interests are varied across the board.

As the last round of group play approaches, FCDallas.com sat down with the players to find out their picks to win the tournament.

Heath Pearce, Defender (Modesto, California)

Spain – “They’ve been really consistent over the past few years and they’re a really tough team to beat no matter who they’re playing against.”

Anthony Wallace, Defender/Midfielder (Brooklyn, New York)

Spain – “They have the best team, the best players, the best overall chemistry.”

Brek Shea, Midfielder (College Station, Texas)

Ivory Coast – “They’ve been my team since 2006. They had the group of death last time. If they get out of their group, it shows they have a lot of character.”

Jason Yeisley, Forward (Hershey, Pennsylvania)

United States – “You’ve got to root for the home team, for us.”

George John, Defender (Shoreline, Washington)

Germany – “They were so impressive against Australia.”

Eric Alexander, Midfielder (Portage, Michigan)

Spain – “So many of their players play together on a club team, so they are going to be good.”

Schellas Hyndman, Head Coach (Macau)

Brazil – “They’ve been there before and shown they can handle the tremendous pressure that comes with the World Cup. I think they’ve won six World Cups, and their head coach has been there for seven years so they have a concrete foundation. They have the players and the experience, and they’re world ranked number one by FIFA. In the World Cup everyone will exceed, meet or fall below the expectations and the Brazil players will play at least to their abilities or higher because of their experience.”

Kevin Hartman, Goalkeeper (Athens, Ohio)

The Netherlands – “My final four are Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Holland.  I think that they (Holland) play total football so everybody can kind of play interchangeably amongst their squad.  I think that they’re attacking minded.  I think that they have quality goalkeepers.  I think that they’ve proven over time that they’re exciting and they play attractive soccer and if I’m going to go with somebody, I’d rather go with somebody that plays attacking and plays enjoyably than watch the Italians sit back in their own 18 and defend for 90 minutes.”

Eric Avila, Midfielder (San Diego, California)

Germany – “Germany because the way they played -- they were sick in the first round”

Argentina – “Because (Lionel) Messi, and he’s so humble that he’s going to just dominate everyone.”

Zach Loyd, Defender (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

Argentina – “Because they have the best player in the world – (Lionel) Messi.”

Daniel Hernandez, Defender (Tyler, Texas)

South Africa – “They’re the underdogs and they’re the home team, they’ll surprise everybody.”

Dax McCarty, Midfielder (Winter Park, Florida)

Brazil – “I would love to say that the U.S. is going to be the team to win the World Cup, but unfortunately I think the Brazilians are too strong and they know what it takes to win. So, Brazil is my pick to win another World Cup, because they have clearly the most talent in the world other than Spain, they’ve won five times before and they have all the parts you need to win a World Cup.”

Dario Sala, Goalkeeper (Cordoba, Argentina)

Argentina – “Collectively we have the best group of talent and I think that if we mix the experience with the new guys we have on the team and especially if we get the best of (Lionel) Messi, who is the best player in the world right now, I think we are all set up to win again.”

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