Xavi eyes World Cup contenders

Barcelona's Xavi has begun the job of highlighting the teams which might threaten Spain in South Africa next summer.

To nobody’s great surprise the 29-year-old has picked out Brazil, Italy and Germany. He also believes England and the Ivory Coast are potential dark horses.

“We have a superb generation of players, we have already qualified for South Africa and also have the experience of playing there,” Xavi told Reuters.

England, says Xavi, “appeared to have found a new swagger and a solid foundation for possible success”.

He also likes Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, and said a defence including captain John Terry and Rio Ferdinand would be hard to penetrate.

“England were the big absence from Euro 2008 and I expect they are itching to show they can win the World Cup.”

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