Cricketing giants Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have backed Spain to win the FIFA World Cup.
Tendulkar, Dravid and a majority of the Sri Lanka-bound Indian cricketers assembled here on Thursday night for an impending tour of Sri Lanka.
The side, sans skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, paceman Abhimanyu Mithun and wicket-keeper batsman Wridhhiman Saha, will leave for Sri Lanka on Friday morning to play in a three-Test series that will be followed by a triangular ODI series with New Zealand as the third side.
The newly married Dhoni, who arrived here with wife Sakshi, will fly to Colombo on Saturday after attending a function here on Friday evening — the Indian captain will be made an honorary member of the Madras Cricket Club.
Mithun and Saha, with the India `A’ team in England, will journey to the Sri Lankan capital from London.
While the cricketers were focussed on the campaign in Sri Lanka, they also shared their thoughts about the title match of the engrossing and hugely popular football World Cup. Tendulkar told The Hindu, “I think Spain has been playing fine football. The side’s passing has been slick and it is playing in a very organised manner. I feel it has an edge over Holland in the final.”
Dravid said, “Spain is a very well balanced team. There are no obvious weaknesses in the side. The players are very good on the ball. Holland is a worthy opponent and it could be a tough game but I think Spain will emerge triumphant.”
Yuvraj Singh, appearing slimmer and fitter, said, “It’s going to be Spain man, no question about that.” Turning his attention to the Spain-Germany semifinal, he said, “Paul the Octopus can never be wrong. It gets everything right.”
Dhoni, who began his sporting career as a football goalkeeper, said, “Whichever team I back loses. So I will not say anything now. We all know who is playing the better football.”
The Indian team will play a three-day first class match in Colombo before travelling to Galle for the first Test, beginning on July 18.
Keywords: 2010 World Cup