WORLD CUP 2014: Group A confirmed runners, riders & predictions

In our analysis of some of the biggest competing countries in this summer’s world cup, we have focused mainly on those in the top 10 of the current FIFA World rankings. However as we are now less than 24 hours away from the start of the biggest tournament in world football, treat this as your full list and reference point for the 23 man squads for every single country playing in this summer’s competition. Alongside the squad listing, @93elby will also be posting his star man, his hot prospect, his dark horse and where he thinks each team will finish this summer.

Firstly we focus on Group A.

GROUP A SQUADS IN FULL

Brazil:

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC, on loan from QPR), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atlético Mineiro).

Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (AS Roma), Maxwell, Thiago Silva (both Paris St-Germain), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Henrique (Napoli).

Midfielders: Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Ramires, Willian, Oscar (all Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City).

Forwards: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Fred (Fluminense), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg).

STAR MAN: Thiago Silva
The rock of the Brazilian defence who impresses week in week out for Paris St.Germain. A born leader and will prove to be a calming influence on what can be a very exuberant and attacking side.

HOT PROSPECT: Bernard
Although Neymar could still be classed as a hot prospect, with a pricetag like his he is expected to shine. As for the Shakhtar Donetsk attacker Bernard, he will most likely provide an attacking spark of the bench and take teams by surprise.

DARK HORSE: Fernandinho
After achieving his aim and earning a call-up to the national side following a great season for Manchester City in the Premier League, I am confident Fernandinho will build on his good league form and provide a different central midfield option as opposed to the likes of Ramires, Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo.

WHERE WILL THEY FINISH IN GROUP A? 1st place

Croatia:

Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov), Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Oliver Zelenika (Dinamo Zagreb).

Defenders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Gordon Schildenfeld, Danijel Pranjic (both Panathinaikos), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Genoa).

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Ivan Perisic (Wolfsburg), Mateo Kovacic (Inter Milan), Marcelo Brozovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Sammir (Getafe), Ivan Mocinic (Rijeka).

Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich), Ivica Olic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica Jelavic (Hull City), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina).

STAR MAN: Luka Modric
The heart and soul of the Croatian national side who has excelled for both club and country in recent years. Will definitely be the cog which helps the team run smoothly this summer.

HOT PROSPECT: Ante Rebic
A much needed option out wide for a croatian side with a wealth of talent in the centre of the park and could be the impact player which helps change the game in Croatia’s favour.

DARK HORSE: Mateo Kovacic
Arguably a strong contender for my overall hot prospect selection. But after making a name for himself in qualification, Kovacic should be seen as one to watch with his bursting runs from midfield and is perhaps a yard or two quicker than both Rakitic and Modric.

WHERE WILL THEY FINISH IN GROUP A? 2nd place

Mexico:

Goalkeepers: Jose de Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca).

Defenders: Miguel Layun (America), Carlos Salcido (Tigres), Paul Aguilar (America), Andrés Guardado (Bayer Leverkusen), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Francisco Javier Rodríguez (America), Diego Reyes (Porto), Rafael Márquez (León).

Midfielders: Miguel Ángel Ponce (Toluca), José Juan Vázquez (León), Luis Montes (Leon), Hector Herrera (Porto), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Marco Fabián (Cruz Azul), Carlos Pena (Leon).

Forwards: Oribe Peralta (Santos), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Raul Jimenez (America), Alan Pulido (Tigres).

STAR MAN: Giovani Dos Santos
After an impressive season for Villarreal, it looks like former Spurs and Barcelona forward Giovani Dos Santos is fulfilling his potential and may be their most dangerous attacking threat.

HOT PROSPECT: Diego Reyes
The promising young centre back Diego Reyes may struggle to get much game time in Brazil but given the opportunity, he may shock Mexican fans with his maturity at such a young age.

DARK HORSE: Javier Hernandez
Perhaps Mexico’s star man in 2010, Hernandez has struggled to get much playing time for Man Utd this season. However if he can recapture his form, he could prove to be Mexico’s dark horse this summer.

WHERE WILL THEY FINISH IN GROUP A? 4th place

Cameroon:

Goalkeepers: Loic Feudjou (Coton Sport), Charles Itandje (Konyaspor), Sammy Ndjock (Fethiyespor).

Defenders: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (QPR, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Henri Bedimo (Lyon), Aurelien Chedjou (Galatasaray), Cedric Djeugou (Coton Sport), Nicolas Nkoulou (Marseille), Dany Nounkeu (Besiktas), Allan Nyom (Granada).

Midfielders: Enoh Eyong (Antalyaspor), Jean Makoun (Rennes), Joel Matip (Schalke), Stephane Mbia (Sevilla, on loan from QPR), Benjamin Moukandjo (Nancy), Landry Nguemo (Bordeaux), Edgar Salli (Lens), Alex Song (Barcelona).

Forwards: Vincent Aboubakar (Lorient), Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting (Mainz), Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea), Fabrice Olinga (Malaga), Achille Webo (Fenerbahce).

STAR MAN: Samuel Eto’o
Eto’o for me must be the standout star man for Cameroon. Not only does he boast a wealth of experience, but Eto’o is a born winner and his influence both off and on the pitch will be vital for some of Cameroon’s young and upcoming players.

HOT PROSPECT: Fabrice Olinga
The Malaga man has blistering pace and is inevitably a polar opposite to Samuel Eto’o. Quick down either wing, Olinga could quite possibly be one of the best impact subs in Group A.

DARK HORSE: Vincent Aboubakar
After impressing in Ligue 1, Aboubakar may provide more than simply a supporting role for Eto’o and I tip him to chip in with a goal or two as he has done for Lorient in the 2013/14 Ligue 1 season.

WHERE WILL THEY FINISH IN GROUP A? 3rd place

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s