World Cup 2014 team preview – Costa Rica

Captain: Mario Yepes

Manager: Jose Pekerman

Costa Rica played solid defense on its way to qualification.Not a favorable group for them having England , Italy and Uruguay in the same group.


Notable Strength –Their defense pretty held up during the qualification.  Having Bryan Ruiz  and  Joel Campbell is a strength

Notable Weakness – Overall Costa Rica is a pretty decent squad , a pretty decent squad against big teams like Uruguay , Italy and England. Costa Rica


Projected Starting XI

Goalkeeper –  Keylor Navas  will start for them.

Defenders –Johnny Acosta  Giancarlo Gonzalez  Michael Umana  will be a sturdy defense.

Midfielders –  Celso Borges will expected to lead this midfield , who will expected to pressed in this talented group.

Forwards – Álvaro Saborío will be missing for Costa Rica at the forward line , Its not 100% attack , but Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell can give threats in going forward.

Key Player –Bryan Ruiz  At his best, he is a tremendously elegant player with a refined dribbling style and cultured left-foot. 

Notable Missing Players – Álvaro Saborío will be missing for Costa Rica , and that makes Costa Rica’s attack not 100%

Surprise – Bryan Ruiz could be surprise if he performs very well/


One to Watch –  Keylor Navas might underrated , but Costa Rica , but his shotstopping ability will be needed.

Young Star – Bryan Ruiz. 

Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense) Daniel Cambronero (Herediano).

Defenders: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew), Michael Umana (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Bruges), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Heiner Mora (Saprissa), Junior Diaz (Mainz 05), Christian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls).

Midfielders: Celso Borges (AIK), Christian Bolanos (Copenhagen), Esteban Granados (Herediano), Michael Barrantes (Aalesund), Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), Diego Calvo (Valerenga), Jose Miguel Cubero (Herediano).

Forwards: Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven, on loan from Fulham), Joel Campbell (Olympiakos, on loan from Arsenal), Randall Brenes (Cartagines), Marco Urena (FC Kuban Krasnodar).


World Cup 2014 team preview – Colombia

Captain: Mario Yepes

Manager: Jose Pekerman



High calibre attacking players into a system that facilitates some enthralling play. Slowly but surely, this team have developed into a side well drilled squad.


Notable Strength –Attack Attack Attack. When you have striker as lethal as  Jackson Martinez ,Carlos Bacca , Adrian Ramos , Teofilo Gutierrez . Its really hard not the score goals through them.

Notable Weakness – Defense . How lethal the Colombia attack is , that’s kinda opposite with defense. Its not bad , but its looking to be a not a top notch defense that can stop top caliber attack.


Projected Starting XI



Goalkeeper – David Ospina  will start for them

Defenders – Italy based Mario Yepes , Cristian Zapata and  Camilo Zuniga will mostly start at defense

Midfielders – Carlos Sanchez and Fredy Guarin, who are tenacious rather than creative. So that means that creativity goes James Rodriguez and Juan Guillermo Cuadrado

Forwards –  Colombia has plenty of strikers at their disposal , despite of missing Falcao.  Teófilo Gutiérrez , Carlos Bacca Jackson Martínez and Adrián Ramos. Pick anyone , they are the most lethal strikers.

Key Player – With Falcao out , James Rodriguez  is expected to lead this team.

Notable Missing Players – Falcao .

Surprise – Well James Rodriguez is the focus of the opposing teams , but Juan Guillermo Cuadrado will play vital role for Colombia.


One to Watch –  James Rodriguez will be the focus the attack minded Colombian side. The attack will run through him.

Young Star –James Rodriguez  is the star of this team.


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

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

Midfielders: Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), Víctor Ibarbo (Cagliari), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional).

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

World Cup 2014 team preview – Japan

Manager: Alberto Zaccheroni

Captain: Makoto Hasebe


The first team to qualify. The champions of asia. They have a myriad of excellent players in midfield, but whether they’re sturdy enough to match Ivory Coast and Colombia up front remain to be seen.  Japan is a surprise package in this world cup. Not a favorable group for them. As Ivory Coast and Colombia are clearly favorites to push through , but they can defeat them.


Notable Strength –  Flying Fullbacks with Yuto Nagatomo and Atsuto Uchida. Experienced and creative Yasuhito Endo and Makoto Hasebe at the midfield . Keisuke Honda Shinji Kagawa  on the attack.

Notable Weakness – Excellent Attackers , but a striker who can convert goals ? sure Kagawa can score , Honda can score . but neither is playing as a striker.


Projected Starting XI



Goalkeeper – Eiji Kawashima  starting for Blue Samurais

Defenders – Attacking fullbacks  Yuto Nagatomo  and Atsuto Uchida  will be expected to start for japan. With Yasuyuki Konno and Maya Yoshida will be at the center back.

Midfielders – Yasuhito Endo And Makoto Hasebe will as the engine for the Japanese midfield. Expect them to provide useful balls to Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa   who will be playing a more attacking role.

Forwards –  Shinji Okazaki can Start , Hiroshi Kiyotake is there also , Yoichiro Kakitani can also . Who will start ? who knows.

Key Player – Keisuke Honda is expected to lead this team. especially having a good cover from midfield for him.

Notable Missing Players – Hajime Hosogai is not the final 23 . The Defensive midfield could provide good cover for Endo and Hasebe

Surprise –  Yoichiro Kakitani ! Could be a surprise for Japan. A foreign club move for him is possible if he performs well in this world cup.


One to Watch –  Shinji Kagawa , He’s the one to watch. How he can play well with Honda who theoretically has been playing the same role as his.

Young Star -Hotaru Yamaguchi will provide cover in the veteran midfield , but Gōtoku Sakai will surely have his chances on that high flying fullback of japan



Making it out of the Group Stages , is not a easy task them for them . but they should because they have the capabilities to do it. Making it to the round of 16 is not a bad finish.

Complete Squad


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

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

Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Makoto Hasebe (Nuremberg), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United)

Forwards: Yoshito Okubo (Kawasaki Frontale), Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nurnberg), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F-Marinos), Yuya Osako (1860 Munich)

World Cup 2014 team preview – Ivory Coast

Captain: Mario Yepes

Manager: Jose Pekerman


Probably have the best talents from big clubs. But that doesn’t translate into country. This world cup , they have in the same group with Colombia , Japan and Greece. Its a more favorable for them than the previous ones.


Notable Strength –  Physically superior defense , Didier Drogba and Wilfried Bony are all very difficult to play against. Yaya Toure is in the midfield .Playing solid but fluid attacking play It seems to be very difficult when the opponents face them.

Notable Weakness – Chokers tag. It’s no doubt that they have the biggest stars in the squad , their group draw last world cup was quite unlucky for them .


Projected Starting XI



Goalkeeper – Boubacar Barry will start for Ivory Coast.

Defenders – Serge Aurier  , Kolo Toure , Souleman Bamba  ,Arthur Boka  this defense is very imposing . If they can gel together , they are very difficult defense to break.

Midfielders – Besides Chile Arturo Vidal , maybe one of the most complete midfield in the world is Yaya Toure. He can what he do in the midfield , and he’s very difficult to match.   Cheik Tiote  is also another to force in the midfield

Forwards –  Ivory Coast will have Didier Drogba , Wilfried Bony  , Salomon Kalou  and the rejuvenated Gervinho. And they are capable of making a difference in the attack.

Key Player – Yaya Toure is the key player them . If can make dominate that midfield (which surely he can) and create plays for the attack.

Notable Missing Players – Sure they got plenty of attacking talent , but Seydou Doumbia and Lacina Traoré are notable omissions.

Surprise –  Didier Drogba  is still playing , not the same as its heydays , but can still dominate the opposing defenders. But  Serge Aurier could a surprise package for them and he’s bound for big club move next season.


One to Watch –  While Serge Aurier is the one to watch for Ivory Coast. Its difficult not to notice  how crucial  Yaya Toure is to the team.

Young Star –Serge Aurier ! He’s a defender now , maybe he can move to a more advance midfield role next time.



Getting out of the Group Stage should be a good start for them. As a powerhouse squad they should be playing at the Quarterfinals.

Complete Squad


Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe San Pedro), Sayouba Mande (Stabaek), Badra Ali Sangare (ASEC Mimosas)

Defenders: Serge Aurier (Toulouse), Benjamin Angoua (Valenciennes), Brice Dja Djedje (Marseille), Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro (Toulouse), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor), Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Souleman Bamba (Trabzonspor), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Constant Djakpa (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ousmane Viera (Rizespor)

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

Forwards: Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Wilfried Bony (Swansea), Gervinho (Roma), Salomon Kalou (Lille), Lacina Traore (Everton), Giovanni Sio (FC Basel), Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow)

World Cup 2014 team preview – Greece

Captain: Mario Yepes

Manager: Jose Pekerman


Analyst call them the weakest side from Europe, But hey they won Euro 2004 when no one is expected them to. But Not this time I think.


Notable Strength – Kostas Mitroglou if he can score a bunch of goal , its good thing for Greece. And team spirit ! Even limited resources , it seems that Greece can find a way through.

Notable Weakness – Missing midfield creativity .


Projected Starting XI



Goalkeeper – Orestis Karnezis can start for Greece

Defenders – Starting at Greece defense could Sokratis Papastathopoulos  , Kostas Manolas , Jose Holebas  ,   Vasilis Torosidis  

Midfielders –  If Greece can make a difference , it will depend on their midfield Giorgos Karagounis is the main man the midfield for them ,  Giorgios Samaras could also help from the midfield position. Kostas Katsouranis is on that midfield mix

Forwards –  Kostas Mitroglou struggle at fulham , if he can changed that , he could make a difference for greece. if he score lots and lots of goal.

Key Player – Kostas Mitroglou  will likely be the key man for victory for greece , but Giorgos Karagounis is also very crucial for them.

Notable Missing Players – Kostas Fortounis could contribute to that midfield , but he’s not included in the final 23.

Surprise –  If Greece , can surprise , it can be cruising out of the group stages and upset a favorite team.


One to Watch –  Kostas Mitroglou if he deliver goals for greece or not.

Young Star – Greece selected a experienced squad , but 22 year old Kostas Manolas might be starting at the defense for them.



Getting out of the Group Stage is excellent finish for them.

Complete Squad


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

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

Midfielders: Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor), Andreas Samaris (Olympiacos), 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), Kostas Mitroglou (Fulham), Theofanis Gekas (Konyaspor)

World Cup 2014 team preview – Spain

Captain: Iker Casillas

Manager: Vincent Del Bosque


Title defense , Tiki – Taka. That’s how they should play. Spain is still a solid squad. They will be bring almost the same squad from 2010. They have 2 minor changes in defense. Sergio Ramos will the relocated to center. The midfield will be the same , the forward line will have additional strength.

Notable Strength – Ball position and Tiki Taka. that’s their strength.

Notable Weakness – Ball position and Tiki Taka. That’s their weakness. ? no its not necessarily a weakness but Football has change rapidly , ball positions does not translate into winning games nowadays.


Projected Starting XI



Goalkeeper – Iker Casillas will start! most definitely.

Defenders – Sergio Ramos will relocated from right back to center back , fill in the void left by Carlos Puyol. He will be partnered with Gerald Pique. Now the right and left blank will be the new additions to the set up (not new new , but the theoretically the replacement for Puyol and Joan Capdevila. Jordi Alba will replace  Capdevila at left back. While Cesar Azpilicueta will replace Ramos at right back.

Midfielders – Midfielders will be the same for spain , but as usual Iniesta and Fabregas will not be playing the heart of midfield. Even though they could slide back if they are needed. Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets will be the pivot for spain  , and they should support Xavi Hernandez who’s been a little out of touch or not the usual Xavi 4 years ago.  Koke is also available for the kind of midfield spain wanted to play.

Forwards –  Well No David Villa Starting , but Spain uses false 9 anyway . Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta will spearhead the attack for the La Furia Roja. Completing the forward line will David Silva , who will serve as the “unlocker” of  defense if Tika Taka doesn’t work. Also the disposal is a number 9 striker Diego Costa , not literally but could be useful for them.

Key Player – 2010 world cup , Xavi is the key player , spanish midfield revolve around him , this world cup his partner in barca will be the key man for Spain. The one that scored the world cup winner. Andres Iniesta can unlock anyteam with his skillset.

Notable Missing Players – Thiago , Carvajal , Valdes , Asier Illarramendi , Gabi , Alberto Moreno , Álvaro Negredo ,  Gerard Deulofeu and lots more ,. Lots of missing big names , but  one squad could only occupy 23 players.

Surprise –  Surprise , Spain still brings Fernando Torres, no not that kind of surprise , well spain is well drilled squad , its not surprise if beat opponents with ease. Well here’s the surprise , Spain’s bring a striker that can score goals with the caliber of Diego Costa.


One to Watch –  Ball passing , Iniesta unlocking other opponents , Xavi being the puppet master. No one is really one to watch with this kind system , oh there is one . Diego Costa , if he starts and the spanish midfield can give him quality balls , lets see if can score lots of goals.

Young Star -Spain brings a veteran squad. No surprise player such Gerard Deulofeu. Most of the youngsters are cut from the final line up , but maybe the 23 year old established keeper David de Gea can be , but he’s in the bottom at that Goalkeeping slot , Maybe 22 year old Koke can be added into the deep midfield mix if needed.



A Semi final Slot is the least Spain could do , but they are expected to return to the final. A semi final is not a good finish , but its not that bad finish at all.

Complete Squad


Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David De Gea (Manchester United).

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona).

Midfielders: Xavi (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich).

Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Pedro (Barcelona), Juan Mata (Manchester United), David Villa (Atletico Madrid).


World Cup 2014 team preview – Netherlands

Manager: Louis Van Gaal
Captain – Robin Van Persie (Manchester United)



Very Unusual scenario for Netherlands , they could cruise to round of 16 if they belong to other group and if they are in form. After a disastrous Euro 2012  , Netherlands is another veteran squad that has the veterans to win the world cup. But besides that experience they also included new young faces in the squad.

Notable Strength – Having one of the most lethal Strikers in modern era in your team is a strength. You add Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder , who had a fantastic outing 4 years ago. Maybe this the last time we can see the attacking three of Holland. Most of them are in the peak of their careers.

Notable Weakness – Last world cup , that midfield has been manned by Nigel De Jong and Mark Van Bommel , they seems to be old that time , but they lead Holland to world cup final appearance . De Guzman and Classie might now be slotted to the  Holland pivot positions , young and maybe untested in international waters unlike the previous one. They still have de jong the their disposal ,  Another concern is also that 5 man defense of Holland.


Projected Starting XI



Goalkeeper – Michel Vorm ideally will start for Netherlands between the sticks

Defenders – Ron Vlaar  will lead the young dutch defense that will include Daryl Janmaat  ,  Daley Blind , Bruno Martins Indi  and Stefan de Vrij , all are domestically based.

Midfielders – Jordy Clasie will team up with Jonathan De Guzman as the anchor of the dutch midfield. Also included in the midfield is last world cup’s star Wesley Sneijder

Forwards –  The dutch forward line will Robin van Persie and  Arjen Robben , that’s a force to fear if the midfield could supply quality balls into them.

Key Player – The key player of Netherlands will be Arjen Robben. The creative responsibility will now fall into Robben tricky foot.

Notable Missing Players – Rafael van der Vaart is a prominent names that has been missing on squad.  While Roma’s Kevin Strootman is also missing on the squad.

Surprise –  Well this Netherlands squad is made up young and upcoming talents such as Jonathan De Guzman, Bruno Martins-Indi Daley Blind and Jordy Clasie ready to showcase their talents in the world stage.


One to Watch –  Well that dutch 5 man defense is questionable , but it has plenty of surprise on it . One of the surprise in that defense is Daley Blind. He did have a superb season at Ajax this season , lets see if that form translates into world cup.

Young Star – No question the dutch attack is proven to be lethal , But the question is who can supply them the balls from the midfield ? While Jonathan de Guzman is some sort a established star in his own right, All eyes would be on Jordy Clasie. If he star in this world cup, He surely be relocated to big clubs. He’s one of the future of this team. Someone called him Dutch Xavi or Dutch Pirlo ! . Well if that’s true , He’s tough to handle if he plays like that.



After a dismal Euro 2012 , the Oranje are in the world cup to prove something. Getting out of the Group Stage is any easy task them if they could figure things out, A Quarterfinals  slot is least they could do , even though they expected to cruise into the Semi finals and the finals.

Complete Squad


Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle), Michel Vorm (Swansea)

Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Terence Kongolo (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Paul Verhaegh (Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord)

Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Leroy Fer (Norwich), Jonathan De Guzman (Swansea), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven)

Forwards: Memphis Depay (PSV), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Dirk Kuijt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich).