As the Round of 16 gets underway at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, there is no shortage of strong opinions among the fans who turn to FIFA.com for up-to-the-minute coverage of the greatest tournament of them all. The site has already received around 10,000 comments from across the world on the hot topics of the day in the ‘Have Your Say’ discussion forum. And one thing is clear: our users know their football. Read on for a selection of the best comments we have received so far.

Expertise among the fans
The fans love to share their knowledge and ideas on FIFA.com. For instance, emo68 from France was already making clear before their early exit that the 2006 FIFA World Cup runners-up had no chance this time: “I live in France and no one has the slightest confidence in the team, no-one has a good word to say for Les Bleus. For years we’ve had only disappointment, with a few bright moments thrown in. WHERE IS OUR FRANCE OF 1998 AND 2000? Hopefully we will soon experience a revolution that will allow France to be proud of its team again. They won’t even get out of the group stage. No-one in the group has been outstanding, but I have hopes for Mexico and Uruguay, who up to now have shown more footballing ability!”

Even the exit of the Swiss, despite having caused the first big upset of the World Cup with their 1-0 win over European champions Spain, was predicted by bapcules from Switzerland, immediately after the team’s shock victory: “We have to be realistic. The footballing quality of the Swiss is middling at best. The World Cup will be over for the Nati at the latest in the Round of 16 – but I’d bet that they will be sent home by Honduras on June 25. The Swiss are strong in defence, but in terms of technical ability they can never live with the best teams.”



The downfall of the world champions was no surprise to FIFA.com users either. “I’m afraid the Italians have no chance of defending their title,” said Laura88AUS from Australia. “They’ve been playing dreadfully, and they can count themselves lucky if they even qualify from their group. I think the final will be between Argentina and the Netherlands, although I know it’s too early to start making predictions.” Kaiveikau from Canada saw the disaster that befell the Azzurri coming a long way off: “I’ve always enjoyed watching Italy, but this time I don’t even think they’ll make the Round of 16, the way they are playing now.”

A FIFA World Cup is the supreme opportunity for the biggest stars of world football to write themselves into the history books. But who’s been the star of this FIFA World Cup so far? kdsbsb from Germany said: “Messi has been top-class even though he hasn’t scored yet. His ability with the ball is absolutely breathtaking.” But Southcity from India disagreed: “I think Keisuke Honda has been great. Japan was drawn in a difficult group against the Netherlands, Cameroon and Denmark. Honda has been there when Japan needed him most. His two goals make him a candidate for the Golden Boot. Perhaps he won’t get it, but he should certainly attract a lucrative contract from one of the world’s big clubs.”

In Mauritius shameek has not been particularly impressed so far: “A number of players have done well, but we’re not satisfied yet! We’re still waiting for players like Rooney and Torres to step up a gear. So far Ozil has been outstanding. David Villa has been a constant menace in front of goal, while Ronaldo and Messi have given fans lots of pleasure with their dribbling skills.” But madredista from Germany looks at it quite differently and probably spoke for many coaches when he said: “I’m a fan of Spain, and I’m fed up with the constant chatter about who’s the best or who’s the star of the team. I’m happy that we don’t have any so-called superstar and that the spotlight is on the team. Football will always be a team sport, and stars can’t win matches on their own.”

So who will be the 2010 world champions?

Five times winners Brazil are tipped by usjewgieniew in the USA: “They are the best. They play as a team, and it shows in the fluidity of their game. Argentina’s game is built around Messi, which could be a factor. But Argentina are focused more on technical skills, while Brazil have the right all-round balance.” Will it be a sixth star on those gold shirts? Hold on a minute, says Al-Hamdani from Malaysia: “It was a big surprise to see Italy and France fail to make it out of the group stage, while teams like Slovakia, Japan and Ghana are in the knockout rounds. Perhaps the new world champions will be an outsider!”

You too can follow events at the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010™ and take part in discussions with hundreds of thousands of FIFA.com Club members over the course of the tournament.

Every evening FIFA.com introduces a new discussion topic relating to the world’s biggest sporting event. We look forward to receiving your comments – as always, in a spirit of politeness, respect and common sense.

I’m happy that we don’t have any so-called superstar and that the spotlight is on the team. Football will always be a team sport, and stars can’t win matches on their own.

Spain fan and FIFA.com user madredista