By Bill George
IRELAND’S Damien Duff and Robbie Keane have been bizarrely excluded by a FIFA panel of so-called experts in a 33-strong short-list for its all-star team of the tournament.
Four of South Korea’s surprise World Cup side, which against all expectations has reached the semi-finals, have been picked but there is not a single nomination from Mick McCarthy’s squad.
Ahn Jung-hwan, who scored the golden goal winner in the shock second-round 2-1 victory over Italy, is included along with captain and defender Hong Myung-bo, midfielder Yoo Sang-chul and goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae.
The Brazilian three R’s, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, are also included along with Germany’s five-goal striker Miroslav Klose who takes on South Korea today in Seoul.
Turkey, who contest a semi-final with favourites Brazil tomorrow in Saitama, have keeper Rustu Recber, defender Alpay Ozalan and striker Hasan Sas included.
The Japanese midfield pairing of Hidetoshi Nakata and Junichi Inamoto were also in the 33 but surprisingly, England’s impressive defender Rio Ferdinand failed to win a place.
Pele, who won the World Cup three times in 1958, 1962 and 1970 with Brazil, will announce the final all-star World Cup team on June 28 in Yokohama, two days before the final. The 10-strong panel of coaches is headed by Jozef Venglos who coached Czechoslovakia at the 1990 finals in Italy.
FIFA All-Star Team shortlist:
Goalkeepers: Kahn (Germany), Marcos (Brazil), Casillas (Spain), Rustu (Turkey), Lee-Woon-jae (South Korea)
Defenders: Cafu (Brazil), Roberto Carlos (Brazil), Campbell (England), Hong Myung-bo (South Korea), Alpay (Turkey), Hierro (Spain), Mjallby (Sweden)
Midfielders: Beckham (England), Inamoto (Japan), Nakata (Japan), Diop (Senegal), Reyna (USA), Ballack (Germany), Yoo Sang-chul (South Korea), Wilmots (Belgium).
Forwards: Rivaldo (Brazil), Ronaldo (Brazil), Ronaldinho (Brazil), Diouf (Senegal), Ahn Jung-hwan (South Korea), Donovan (USA), Raul (Spain), Hasan Sas (Turkey), Klose (Germany), Vieri (Italy), Larsson (Sweden), Owen (England), Tomasson (Denmark).