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

In our analysis of some of the biggest competing countries in this summers 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.

Now let us take a look at Group C.

GROUP C SQUADS IN FULL

Colombia:

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Independiente Santa Fe).

Defenders: Mario Yepes (AC Milan), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Pablo Armero (West Ham, on loan from Napoli), Camilo Zuniga (Napoli), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo).

Midfielders: Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Carlos Carbonero (River Plate), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional).

Forwards: Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate).

STAR MAN: James Rodriguez
The former Porto star has set Ligue 1 alight with dazzling performances for club side Monaco and will could arguably do the same in a group that Colombia should coast through.

HOT PROSPECT: Eder Alvarez Balanta
After springing up from out of nowhere in the 13/14 season for River Plate, the young central defender will look to make a name for himself should he receive any game time throughout the tournament. A wise head on young shoulders, the future is bright for Balanta.

DARK HORSE: Carlos Bacca
Although Falcao (before his injury) and Jackson Martinez are looked at the preferred strikers to lead the line, Carlos Bacca comes into the World Cup after a storming end to the season for Sevilla and could prove to be Colombia’s biggest attacking threat.

WHERE WILL THEY FINISH IN GROUP C? 2nd Place

Greece:

Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis (Granada), Panagiotis Glykos (PAOK), Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos).

Defenders: Kostas Manolas, Giannis Maniatis, Jose Holebas (all Olympiakos), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Giorgios Tzavellas (PAOK), Loukas Vyntra (Levante), Vasilis Torosidis (Roma), Vangelis Moras (Verona).

Midfielders: Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor), Andreas Samaris (Olympiakos), Kostas Katsouranis (PAOK), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Torino), Ioannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Bologna), Panagiotis Kone (Bologna).

Forwards: Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK), Giorgios Samaras (Celtic), Konstantinos Mitroglou (Fulham), Theofanis Gekas (Konyaspor)

STAR MAN: Sokratis Papastathopoulos
After filling in for the injured Subotic and Hummels during the 13/14, Sokratis is still looked upon as one of the best young defenders in the game and his presence for a side known largely for being difficult to beat will be key to their success.

HOT PROSPECT: Ioannis Fetfatzidis
In a relatively up and down career to date, Fetfatzidis is still looked upon as a player who is yet to fulfill his full potential, and perhaps this World Cup could be the right platform for him to do so? We’ll have to wait and see

DARK HORSE: Theofanis Gekas
As one of the oldest players not just in the Greek side but in the whole competition, Gekas looks set to star as a substitute with both Mitroglou and Samaras taking centre stage. However as an impact sub, his experience could make him one of Greece’s most influential players this summer.

WHERE WILL THEY FINISH IN GROUP C? 3rd place

Ivory Coast:

Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe Sport), Sayouba Sande (Stabaek).

Defenders: Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Sol Bamba (Trabzonspor), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor), Serge Aurier (Toulouse), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba (Caykur Rizespor), Constant Djakpa (Frankfurt), Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro (Toulouse).

Midfielders: Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle), Serey Die (Basel), Max Gradel (Saint Etienne), Diomande Ismael (Saint Etienne), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover), Mathis Bolly (Dusseldorf).

Forwards: Gervinho (Roma), Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Salomon Kalou (Lille), Wilfried Bony (Swansea), Giovanni Sio (Basel).

STAR MAN: Didier Drogba
In what Drogba will hope is his swansong, Drogba is the leader of the pack for the Ivory Coast and is ultimately my star man. Yaya Toure is clearly the most talented and in-form player they acquire this summer but without Drogba, for me, there is no Ivory Coast.

HOT PROSPECT: Serge Aurier
Recently linked with Arsenal following a fantastic season in Ligue 1, the exciting Aurier can not only defend with an unrivalled maturity at the age of 21 but attacks with a no-fear attitude, one which is missed in modern day football.

DARK HORSE: Wilfried Bony
To those who don’t follow the English premier league, Bony may seem like his there to make up the numbers and the likes of the experienced Kalou and Gervinho will chip in goals when necessary. However Bony’s league form for both Vitesse and Swansea has been impeccable and if he can find his feet during the World Cup, he will certainly be attracting some of the European elite.

WHERE WILL THEY FINISH IN GROUP C? 1st place

Japan:

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo).

Defenders: Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96), Gotoku Sakai (VfB Stuttgart).

Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Makoto Hasebe (FC Nuremberg), Hiroshi Kiyotake (FC Nuremberg), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F Marinos).

Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Yuya Osako (TSV Munich 1860), Yoshito Okubo (Kawasaki Frontale).

STAR MAN: Keisuke Honda
The former CSKA Moskva man currently playing in Serie A for Milan will prove to be Japan’s star player. His goals will be vital as will his link up play with both Kagawa and Endo, and without Honda, Japan simply don’t look as dangerous as they do with him in the side.

HOT PROSPECT: Gotoku Sakai
Sakai may not get much game-time but it will be interesting to see whether the once promising defender can re-find his best form and help solidify the Japanese defence in times of need.

DARK HORSE: Yasuhito Endo
A player who attracted suitors from all over the world after South Africa 2010, Endo certainly has what it takes to cause an upset this summer. Not only a dead-ball specialist but a creative midfielder who offers something different to the pace and flair of both Honda and Kagawa, yet can still influence the game just as much, if not more.

WHERE WILL THEY FINISH IN GROUP C? 3rd place

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