I’ll preface this by saying this… I ain’t no world football expert! Give the me the EPL and I’ll talk the back legs off a donkey but, I’ll have a crack anyway. Also similarly to Matt, I started this yesterday!
As you can see I’ve gone for a team largely based in the England, which could be a good or a bad thing but I’d prefer to go for players I’m more familiar with than go on a hunch. I’ve also swerved the big name players like your Messi’s, Ronaldo’s and Neymar’s as the big names just don’t seem to have a great record in World Cups… It may seem a risk but I see at as more risky going light in other areas and want a decent spread across the lines. And I’ve never followed the crowd! Without further ado…
Buffon – I’ve always been an admirer of the Italian defence. They just know how to get the job done and with Buffon between the sticks they have one of the best in the business. Granted they don’t have the easiest of groups but in England, Uruguay and Costa Rica they are up against a superb mixture of bottlers and show boaters so look for them to shut them down and move on to the next stage.
Guzan – Bargain basement keeper that won’t be needed in my team. I went Guzan because I know who he is…
Kompany – Belgium are one of those teams that should do well, but won’t. They’re jam packed full of young guns that will be strutting their way around the globe for the next decade, but unfortunately this isn’t their time. They do however have a pretty easy group with Korea, Russia and Algeria to look forward too. With Kompany the rock and having the ability to pop up for a goal or two he was too hard to overlook.
Koscielny – God only knows which France will turn up to this World Cup! They do feel different though, in that they don’t seem to have the big name sooky la la’s that they’ve had in the past which to me is a good omen. With a coin flip game against the Swiss, followed by much easier ones against Ecuador and Honduras there could be some defensive points to be had. Koscielny is coming off a great season and I’m hoping for it to continue.
Baines – One of the fittest full backs in the world and he’ll need to be to cope with what lies ahead of him. He’ll continue motoring up and down the left wing for England’s 270 minutes before packing up his guitar and taking a well earned rest. Owns an exquisite left foot, which hopefully gets used. Leading assister in the English qualifiers…
Lahm – Great price for a great player. He’s been played in midfield at times for Bayern but will probably go back to his old full back spot for Germany. After a tough opening game against Portugal, Germany have games against filler teams Ghana and USA… Need I say any more?
Schaer – Excellent price for Switzerland’s top scorer during the qualifiers. That’s right. He played 3 of the last 4 games and scored thrice. Not locked in to their starting line up but as my D5 it’s worth a punt.
Oscar – It feels weird saying this, but for Oscar it will feel like he’s being unshackled when he lines up for Brazil. It must be hard as an attacking midfielder playing under Jose with all the defensive grunt work required of them, but he won’t have to worry about that here. Will be spoken about in the same vein as Kaka by the end of the World Cup.
Yaya – I’d be crying myself to sleep if I didn’t pick him and ends up doing what he will do… Coming off the back of a once in a lifetime season he’s easily one of the best midfielders in the world. I doubt he’ll be a defensive midfielder in this team!
Rodriguez – Of the James variety… He’s one of the up and coming young talents in world footy after a successful first year at Monaco scoring 9 and assisting 12 (second highest in Ligue 1). Breakout watch.
Robben – Arjen has never really lit up a World Cup like his talents suggests he should. This will be his last chance to show the world what he is capable of and I’m backing him in… Overly selfish player who will take a ton of shots at goal and will force himself into set piece duties. If he gets his radar on target and avoids having his legs broken by Gary Medel he could score a few crackers.
Barkley – No real reason for picking Ross apart from a disturbingly unhealthy man crush… He’s playing with that unbridled freedom that youth brings just before the weight of expectation that the English media will inevitably dump on him squeezes every last bit of joy that football can provide. Pray for Ross… It would be nice if the gaffer stopped slagging him off in the press? Come on Woy, pick him and let him do his thing!!!
RVP – Had a horrible season but always seems to get himself up for the mighty Oranje. Fitness is always going to be an issue but has little in the way of competition for his spot and will be the focal point of a slightly less egotistical Netherlands team than we’ve seen in the past. We’ve all been waiting for him to pop and it could be now…
Benzema – Has been in good form in recent times and will spearhead a largely underrated France team who are my darkhorses to get to the semi final. Is a sneaky shout for Golden Boot if they get that far.
Costa – If he’s fit in time for the first game he could go large. Just look at the midfield who will be feeding him chances! Chelsea will want to sign him up before the Cup because afterwards he’ll be worth an extra dozen million. If he’s not fit then he will morph into Sanchez.
Best of the Rest – My 3 that were unlucky to miss out start off with a Greek rock in Sokratis. The Greek’s have always had a great defence and that may continue. In midfield I’ve gone for Candreva. Will tuck in just behind the striker/s for Italy and is coming off a great season. A lot of their attacking ingenuity comes from this guy. Lastly, Sanchez as the striker. Explosive little fella who is a serious big game player. Has scored some sublime goals for Barcelona.
That’ll do me nicely. As I said I’ve gone more little left field than Matt, and probably Nick, but that’s the beauty of this game. There’s no right or wrong answers beforehand, just afterwards…