Little Ponies and Chihuahuas
Ch e l s e a’s m a n a g e r J o s e Mourinho is the undisputed winner of the equine analogy of the year. Early in the title race this season, he called his team “a little horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump, a horse that next season can race”. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in response described his team as a “Chihuahua that runs in between the horses’ legs.”
As far as equine metaphors go, “dark horses” is a fairly overused phrase in sport. This year’s World Cup certainly has its little ponies and small dogs. Here are two teams that could offer an unexpected challenge. capable deputy for the injured Christian Benteke.
Manager Marc Wilmots should expect his team to top a group that includes Russia, South Korea and Algeria. The qualifiers fromtheirgrouphavebeendrawnagainsta groupthatincludesGermany,Portugaland Ghana.ABelgium-Portugaltiecouldbeone of the top clashes in the second round.
The Belgians find themselves in the unusual position of being a popular choice for the “dark horses” tag. This team however should be far more comfortable being labelled as a “little horse or Chihuahua.” the young players to watch out for at this year’s tournament. Pacy and intelligent, he is a mesmerising dribbler. However, the more experienced Mathieu Valbuena, another wonderful creative midfielder, is likely to start on the right hand side. The defence also looks good. Keeper Hugo Lloris has been one of the few to impress for Tottenham this season, while France’s current crop of centrebacks are blessed with strength and pace in equal measure. Mathieu Debuchy and Patrice Evra, who bring vital experience to the defence, will likely start as fullbacks. Deschamps has switched to an attacking 4-3-3 formation from a 4-2-3-1 to get the best out of his young team. The French could be the surprise package in Brazil.
Belgium's Eden Hazard
France's Franck Ribery