National Treasures - Vital Players in the World Cup
Thiago Silva ( Brazil )
As talented as Neymar is for Brazil, the loss of captain Thiago Silva would be far more damaging to their World Cup chances. His reading of the game, leadership on the field and his defensive discipline are hugely important in a back line where the attack minded Alves, Luiz and Marcelo tend to get caught out at times. Heavily regarded as the best centre half in world football, Brazil have a great platform at the back on which to attempt to win a sixth World Cup.
Dario Srna ( Croatia )
One of the most consistent players in the world, Srna’s performances largely go under the radar. He is extremely important to Croatia’s team as his versatility will allow Kovac to adopt to the challenges that will face them in Group A. His delivery from set-pieces is excellent so expect him to gather a few assists.
Sergio Ramos ( Spain )
You could make a case for any Spanish player and their importance to La Roja and you wouldn’t be wrong but I chose Ramos based on the season he’s had with Madrid. He has developed into a true leader at Madrid and in a squad which can be susceptible to getting caught on the break, Ramos will be vital to ensuring La Roja keep up their impressive defensive record in major tournaments. More importantly, he also offers a huge threat at set pieces in a squad with few tall players and is arguably the best defender in world football at attacking set pieces.
Emilio Izaguirre ( Honduras )
In a squad desperately short on quality, Izaguirre is an important player for Honduras. Many will be familiar with his performances at Celtic and several top clubs are said to be interested. Honduras defence will play a big part with Izaguirre set to line up at left back where they will look to defend deep and counter which is where Izaguirre’s pacey runs from left back will be key.
Robin Van Persie ( Netherlands )
Having been installed as the Oranje captain late last year, Louis Van Gaal sees RVP as his most important player. The success of the Netherlands rests on how fit Van Persie is having endured a difficult season with injuries at Manchester United. However, his international form over the last year cannot be overlooked. With 11 goals in 9 games during qualifying, he surpassed Patrick Kluivert to become the all-time leading scorer for his country. The Dutch fans will hope that form continues as Van Persie bids to steer his team through a difficult group.
Oribe Peralta ( Mexico )
With Javier Hernandez desperately struggling for form, many Mexican fans will be hopeful Paralta can continue his goalscoring form. He was Mexico’s top scoring in qualifying with 5 of their 9 goals as they struggled through qualifying. Much was expected of Peralta but at 30, he is only living up to his true potential in recent times much to the delight of Mexican fans.
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