Top 5 Defenders Going To The World Cup
Often very cagey affairs, World Cup games are regularly settled by the defence of each side. A slight mishap or lapse in concentration can decide group games, knockout ties, and even the World Cup Final. The eventual winners of the tournament have historically been those who can grind out a victory at the most crucial time, even when not at their best. With that being said, here are the top 5 defenders who will be crucial for respective nation in Brazil.
Thiago Silva is a rarity in the current football world in that he seemingly went under the radar for a long time until he was signed by a top club. As a former winger, Silva was converted into a Central Defender by Juventude in Brazil, a decision which has ended up becoming a masterstroke through time. Brazil’s Captain and talisman has gone on to make 45 appearances for his country, and leads his nation into a home World Cup on the back of a Confederations Cup win only a year ago. At 29 years old and at the peak of his powers, Silva is widely seen as the top Centre Back in football. It remains to be seen whether Brazil can cope with the colossal weight of expectation in the tournament, but there is no question that Silva will give his heart and soul in the cause.
If any single player epitomises the resurgence of Belgian football, it is Vincent Kompany. As a shining youngster with Anderlecht, a move to Hamburg came before Manchester City, and served as a great stage to showcase his abilities. Kompany is another player who is right in the peak of his career aged 28, and comes into the World Cup full of confidence on the back of winning the Premier League title with Manchester City. His leadership qualities, physical prowess, and composure on the ball make him one of the top defenders in world football, and his performances will be crucial in deciding how far the fancied Belgians can progress.
All-conquering centre Back Diego Godin has had a career best season by a long way with Atletico Madrid this season in their surprise resurgence into the limelight. While his consistent defensive displays particularly caught the eye, the Uruguayan chipped in with crucial goals for his club side too. He scored a header against Barcelona in the final game of the league season which gave Atletico the league title, and also opened the scoring in the Champions League Final that left his side a minute away from lifting their first Champions League trophy. It is testament to Godin’s ability that he is seen as a key player in the Uruguay team despite being among some of the best attacking talent in football. Whether Simeone and his club tactics played a big part in Godin’s best ever season or not, he will go to Brazil with a greatly enhanced reputation – something that will bring added pressure in itself.
Highly experienced Defender Philipp Lahm has had yet another sparkling club season with Bayern Munich – but not always from the Right Back position where we are so accustomed to seeing him. At the start of the season, Bayern’s new manager Pep Guardiola surprised us all when he began fielding the 30 year old in the Defensive Midfield position. A fantastic season from Lahm in all competitions peaked in the game against Hertha Berlin in which Bayern sealed the league title in record breaking style. Lahm finished the game with a staggering 100% pass accuracy from 134 attempted passes, and in turn sent social media into overdrive. While we will see the Germany Captain playing back in his old Right Back slot in Brazil, his know how and reading of the game will be a crucial ingredient in the otherwise youthful German squad.
Real Madrid’s fiery vice captain Sergio Ramos is yet another player to have one of his best seasons in recent memory. Still only 28, Ramos is looking for double cup glory this summer, after leading Real Madrid to a breath-taking comeback win in the Champion League Final against local rivals Atletico. Although a world class operator, there remains a question over Ramos’ discipline after his record breaking 19th red card came in La Liga back in March. With La Decima still fresh in the memory, Ramos revealed this week that he got the Champions League trophy and the World Cup trophy tattooed on each of his calves, ahead of the World Cup which he can win for the second time. While he can be a liability at times with his rash decision making and tackling, Sergio Ramos is certainly a player who you would rather have on your team than face on the opposition.