08/06/2010 08:02,
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Red head-to-heads

The big kick-off in South Africa is almost upon us and United have a plenty of stars vying for glory. But to lift the famous gold trophy, they might have to get past their fellow club-mates along the way. Here, we look at when Red loyalties could be pushed aside for national honour… it’ll be just like at Carrington – only with the world watching!

Group stages
Patrice Evra (France) v Chicharito (Mexico) (Group A)
The pressure is on Les Bleus in South Africa after a dismal Euro 2008 campaign and scraping through the World Cup qualifiers (with a helping hand from Mr Henry). But United’s new hotshot striker from Chivas Guadalajara could be just the kind of Senegal-shaped banana skin (remember World Cup 2006?) they don’t want to step on. A forward who comes in from the wing, 'the little pea' could give United’s French full-back something to really think about. That said, is there anyone who is anyone in World football who Evra hasn’t faced? In fact, Patrice will no doubt relish coming up against his new team-mate - and he'll provide a stern test of the standards expected of Chicharito in Manchester next season when they meet on Thursday 17 June (19:30 BST).

Second round
Rooney (England) v Vidic (Serbia)
These two must have given each other a few lasting bruises in training games before now, but they have yet to face each other in serious competition, either internationally or for their club sides. But if the World Cup groups go according to seeding, with England winning their group and Serbia finishing second in theirs, this combative pair will lock horns in Rustenburg on the evening of June 26. How will Vida deal with Wazza’s non-stop movement and bustling runs? He will need eyes in the back of his head to stop England’s talisman peeling off him in the box and finding space for headers. Closing down gaps for Rooney’s shots from around the box will also be a challenge and a half. But Rooney couldn't come up against a more rock-solid opponent. Let’s hope we get to see it unfold.

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