The World Cup. Its great innit! We all fool ourselves that our national team is gonna win. We all support the underdog. We all support teams like Nigeria in their matches against European rivals. We all shout ingerluund! ingerluuuund! iinggggerlundddd!
But lets face it, we all know Brazil is gonna win. (EDIT - hindsight is 20:20. Just imagine we said Italy!)
So what really matters is which players makes a name for themselves, which nations are disgraced (2002: France- no goals!), and which TV Channel has the most viewers! All in the name of footballing glory.
The Revival has got world cup fever like nearly everyone else on the globe, and we did our research to see who would be representing Islam and Muslims, and who may set the world alight this summer in Germany.
There were many Muslim footballers such as West Brom's Kanu, the Spurs duo of Mido and Naybet and Birmingham City's Muzzy Izzet whose countries, unfortunately, didn't make it to the biggest sporting event in the world. But there are quite a few Muslims who will be playing in the World Cup and The Revival has dug out the top players to look out for:
Robin Van Persie - Holland
The 23 year old Arsenal striker moved to the Premiership a few seasons ago and has forced himself into the Arsenal first team alongside the mind blowing Thierry Henry. He's a player with bags of potential and is one of the brightest prospects around, and should be playing in the Dutch attack. Robin is believed to have reverted to Islam as a result of a close friendship with his school's Moroccan caretaker. He could be one of the young stars who could win the World Cup for Holland.
Sami al Jaber - SAUDI ARABIA
Sami Al Jaber, who spent a short loan spell in English football with Wolverhampton Wanderers, is a Saudi footballing superstar. He has played for his country for half his life having made his debut as a 17-year-old. Al Jaber scored his first national goal on his debut in 1990 and the 2006 finals will be his fourth World Cup tournament. In 1994 he also scored against Morocco in a 1-0 win to secure the nation's first ever victory in the World Cup finals.
Kolo Toure - IVORY COAST
Regarded as the second fastest player at Arsenal, second only to Thierry Henry. Toure has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world. He will be representing Ivory Coast, who have gone from strength to strength and are capable of causing a few upsets. The 25 year old is a born Muslim, and he will be playing alongside his younger brother Yaya Toure – who is also another Muslim looking to use this tournament as a chance to impress and earn himself a move to a big club.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – SWEDEN
Swedish international striker currently playing for Juventus in Italian Serie A. The Swedish multi-million pound striker was voted the 8th best player in the world last year! He is easily the main player in the Swedish squad and if Sweden are to go far then a lot is expected from Ibrahimovic. He will be facing England so he's definitely one to watch out for. England manager Eriksson rates him highly saying: “If Zlatan Ibrahimovic goes on like he does at the moment, he will be the best in the world.”
Khalid Boulahrouz -HOLLAND
Another Muslim in the Dutch squad! Plays for Hamburger SV and is a major part of Netherlands national football team . His nickname in Hamburg is Khalid der Kannibale (“Khalid the Cannibal”) for his ability to “eat up” the opposition. He moved to Hamburger SV at the start of the 2004/05 season and his impressive displays made Marco van Basten pick him for the Netherlands national football team.
Ali Daei – IRAN
Iranian legendary striker who will be leading the line at the world cup. Daei is most noted for being the world's all-time leading goal scorer in international matches. Daei ran many charitable organisations and used a great deal of his money in support of the less fortunate. He has made very significant charitable donations and has made appearances in charitable football matches world-wide including featuring in the World vs. Bosnia match with Roberto Baggio and other football legends.
Hatem Trabelsi- TUNISIA
The 25-year-old defender, got his dream move when top Dutch side Ajax came in for him at the start of the 2001/02 season. The defender began his career as a right-sided forward and can provide a useful ball into the opposing penalty area. He recently made his debut at the 2002 African Nations Cup. His attacking prowess may give Tunisia an added dimension at the World Cup finals.
He may not be Muslim but Wayne Rooney is already being tipped to be the World Cup hero, and the 20 year old undoubtedly has the potential to be one of footballs greats. Lionel Messi, one of Argentina's tidiest players (geddit?!), is already a Barcelona regular and he is tipped to be the new Maradona. All eyes will be on Ronaldiniho, Thierry Henry, United's Ronaldo and Van Nistelroy and Germany's own world star Michael Ballack.
Who's gonna win it? The Muslim countries of Saudi Arabia, Tunisia or Iran? Nah, Brazil or England of course!