Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: Every Team’s Best Player

2014 World Cup: Every Team's Best Player

2014 World Cup
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The World Cup is always considered one of the best showcases of the immense talent around the world. One player from each team always shows up and puts the nation on their shoulders towards World Cup glory. All 32 of these players will be the chosen ones to star in the biggest stage of them all.

Algeria - Sofiane Feghouli

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Algeria - Sofiane Feghouli

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For the last eight years, Algeria has gone through what many consider a golden generation. The African nation has footballers playing in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. And amongst this generation, Sofiane Feghouli is their brightest star. The Valencia CF winger has incredible speed and nifty dribbling abilities, and he'll be looking to ensure that Algeria have a better outing than four years ago.

Argentina - Lionel Messi

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Argentina - Lionel Messi

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Considered by many to be the best player in the world, and by some the best player in history, Lionel Messi will be looking to end the 28-year drought of Argentine gold in World Cups. Messi's form in Barcelona has been in a steady drop, but he'll be looking to turn that around in Brazil. Argentina will have to heavily rely on the speed, agility, dribbling, runs and finishing of their star player if they want to lift the Cup.

Australia - Tim Cahill

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Australia - Tim Cahill

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Australia will need 34-year-old Tim Cahill to perform at his highest level if they want to go on to the next round. Though he's certainly not as young as other stars, he still possesses an amazing goal-scoring ability and is smart enough to beat opposing defenders. The Socceroos will be looking to upset Chile, Spain and Netherlands by counting on their historic goalscorer.

Belgium - Vincent Kompany

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Belgium - Vincent Kompany

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Vincent Kompany isn't Belgium's flashiest player, but he's the irreplaceable leader of a fantastic Belgium squad. While the attacking duties will be left to Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, the defense will be held together and strengthened by Kompany's tenacious defense. While Belgium qualifying to the knockout stage seems likely, their hopes to go all the way will rest solely on Vincent Kompany.

Brazil - Neymar

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Brazil - Neymar

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While his season in Barcelona has been largely forgettable, Neymar has always played well for Brazil. At just the tender age of 22, Neymar is already No. 11 on Brazil's top goal-scoring list with 30 goals. If his performance at the 2013 Confederations Cup is any indicator, no team will be able to stop him.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Edin Dzeko

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Bosnia and Herzegovina - Edin Dzeko

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Edin Dzeko is known as one of the best strikers in the world, and he'll be looking to lead Bosnia and Herzegovina towards a great performance in Brazil. His 6-foot-4 frame always makes him a formidable aerial threat. And despite his size, he also boasts fantastic technique that helps his sublime finishing ability.

Cameroon - Samuel Eto'o

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Cameroon - Samuel Eto'o

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Cameroon's 2010 World Cup was one to forget, having lost all of their games. They'll be looking to at least win one game this year with the goalscoring threats posed by Samuel Eto'o. Despite being 33 years old, he's still playing at an extremely high quality in one of the best leagues in the world. His combined 17 goals scored for club and country this season show he can still lead Cameroon.

Chile - Alexis Sanchez

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Chile - Alexis Sanchez

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After a disastrous spell of football under Claudio Borghi, coach Jorge Sampaoili has successfully redirected the Chilean ship, highlighted by victories over England and Uruguay as well as ties against Spain and Brazil in the last year. Alexis Sanchez has been a huge part of that success, scoring eight goals in 11 appearances in 2013. When Sanchez plays at his own tempo and style, he's almost impossible to stop.

Colombia - James Rodriguez

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Colombia - James Rodriguez

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With star striker Radamel Falcao out for the World Cup, James Rodriguez will be Colombia's main focal point on offense. His stunning speed, strong finishing and fantastic dribbling coupled with his second-to-none footballing vision make him an extremely difficult opponent to guard. While Falcao normally gets all the goals, Rodriguez has always been the one to create for Colombia.

Costa Rica - Bryan Ruiz

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Costa Rica - Bryan Ruiz

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Coach Jorge Luis Pinto built a fantastic system in Costa Rica that resulted in a successful qualifying stage for the country. That system relies heavily on the technique and class on the part of star player Bryan Ruiz. The Fulham midfielder has been Costa Rica's star player for years now and will finally get to show why at a World Cup.

Croatia - Luka Modric

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Croatia - Luka Modric

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When Luka Modric moved to Real Madrid in 2012, many thought of him as a backup and insurance to the already established Real Madrid midfield. Fast forward two years and Modric has become an immovable piece of the star-studded team. His vision, technique and willingness to defend will be a huge factor in Croatia's chances. Add his class next to Ivan Rakitic, and Croatia might boast the best center midfield pair in the world.

Ecuador - Antonio Valencia

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Ecuador - Antonio Valencia

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Antonio Valencia is the fastest player in the world. That's an actual FIFA-endorsed fact. If he didn't have any technique, strength, or vision, then that speed would go to waste. Unfortunately for opposing defenders, Valencia has it all. Ecuador's hopes will rest upon Valencia's quick feet, and if his time at Manchester has taught us anything, it's that Valencia can handle the pressure.

England - Wayne Rooney

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England - Wayne Rooney

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Though many have considered Rooney's time as best English player in the world a fluke and a disappointment for the actual English team, no one can deny his individual class and talent. He's a prolific goalscorer who can also drop back and create for everyone else. And although England hasn't had much success in years, Rooney will try to make sure this World Cup will be different.

France - Franck Ribery

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France - Franck Ribery

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Bayern Munich's amazing form for the last couple of years have been a direct result of Franck Ribery's ascension into super-stardom. Though he's always been extremely talented, he's gone into another level as of late. Ribery coupled alongside France's blooming generation that won them an U-20 World title in 2013 will make the French a formidable opponent.

Germany - Mesut Ozil

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Germany - Mesut Ozil

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After an inspiring and bright start to the season, Mesut Ozil's performances have fallen in Arsenal. Many German fans have raised concerns over Ozil's current form, but coach Joaquim Low will stick to his star midfielder. "Avatar Eyes", as Ray Hudson affectionately calls him, will look to bounce back in Brazil and show off his amazing passing abilities that made him a star in Real Madrid.

Ghana - Kevin Prince Boateng

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Ghana - Kevin Prince Boateng

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Kevin Prince Boateng is quite the enigma. After retiring from the national team following an amazing performance at the 2010 World Cup, he retired due to fatigue from traveling. A three-year hiatus from Ghana finally ended with a call-up in October 2013. The coach has slowly been easing Boateng back into the formation, but all signs point to the former AC Milan player to regain his starting spot.

Greece - Sokratis Papastathopoulos

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Greece - Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Sokratis Papastathopoulos
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After an injury to Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotić, Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos filled in perfectly as the new starting center-back for one of the best teams in the world. "Papa", as he is known by his teammates, is a world-class defender who combines the tenacity and strength of an old-school defender with the ball-playing ability and speed of a more modern defender.

Honduras - Wilson Palacios

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Honduras - Wilson Palacios

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Honduras will be hoping to upset all three teams in their group, and the first building block in that process starts with a firm defense. Wilson Palacios, a defensive midfielder for Stoke City, can either be deployed in the defense or midfield. Wherever coach Luis Fernando Suarez deploys him, he will be the key to their defense. And in the right circumstance, he can also initiate the offense.

Iran - Reza Ghoochannejhad

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Iran - Reza Ghoochannejhad

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Very few outside Asia are familiar with Reza Ghoochannejhad, but he's done more than enough to prove that he's a star player. The 26-year-old Iranian striker has passed through a number of European clubs like Heerenveen and Standard Liege, while currently playing for Charlton Athletic. His nine goals for Iran in 13 appearances make him a player to watch for in Brazil.

Italy - Andrea Pirlo

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Italy - Andrea Pirlo

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Your average soccer player takes a dip in quality after 30, but Andrea Pirlo isn't your average soccer player. At 35 years old, Pirlo has only gotten better with every season played. He's arguably the best midfielder in the world, and he can take the reigns of a team and lead them with his excellent technique, passing and knowledge. Though Italy has faster, stronger and younger players, Andrea Pirlo will be their leader.

Ivory Coast - Yaya Toure

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Ivory Coast - Yaya Toure

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Yet another case of a quality player getting better with age, Yaya Toure is one of the best central midfielders in the world. His performances at Manchester City have led to the Premier League championship in 2014, and there's little doubt that he can lead the Ivory Coast to an upset championship at the World Cup. The 31-year-old will give Ivory Coast the necessary boost to make it the best African team in Brazil.

Japan - Shinji Kagawa

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Japan - Shinji Kagawa

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After a hot start at Manchester United, Shinji Kagawa has fallen back down to earth as of late. Despite this, very few doubt his technique and ability. The Japanese midfielder has an amazing ability to create for other players as well as finish his own. Alongside Keisuke Honda and Yuto Nagatomo, Kagawa will look to give Japan their best performance in their World Cup history.

Mexico - Giovanni dos Santos

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Mexico - Giovanni dos Santos

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After an unfortunate Qualifier for Mexico, they'll look towards Villarreal forward Giovanni dos Santos to right their wrongs during the World Cup. His speed, agility and dribbling will be a huge factor in whether or not they can make it out of the group stage with teams like Brazil and Croatia.

Netherlands - Arjen Robben

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Netherlands - Arjen Robben

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After reaching the World Cup finals in 2010, the Netherlands will be looking to make a repeat appearance to finally win the coveted trophy. And much like 2010, Arjen Robben will once again be called upon to lead them. His form in Bayern Munich has been some of the best in his career, and he'll be looking to translate that into victories in Brazil.

Nigeria - Vincent Enyeama

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Nigeria - Vincent Enyeama

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During the 2010 World Cup, Nigerian keeper Vincent Enyeama proved that he's one of the world's best between the sticks. Boasting amazing reflexes and impressive athleticism, Enyeama will prove to be a daunting task for opposing forwards. He held Messi scoreless the last time they met in the World Cup, and if Nigeria wants to move on, he'll have to do it again.

Portugal - Cristiano Ronaldo

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Portugal - Cristiano Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the best player in the world. He's a once-in-a-lifetime player who is able to bring athleticism, speed, strength, heading, finishing, dribbling, technique and passing together at their almost perfect state. Coach Paulo Bento relies heavily on Ronaldo's magic, and his tactics for the World Cup will change very little. Ronaldo, the game-changer, will be Portugal's star.

Russia - Alan Dzagoev

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Russia - Alan Dzagoev

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After a breakout performance at the 2012 Euros, Alan Dzagoev will look to give Russia the necessary impulse to go into the next rounds. The 23-year-old winger is an important part of coach Fabio Capello's tactics. His speed, crossing and finishing will prove to be strong headaches for opposing defenders.

South Korea - Son Heung-Min

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South Korea - Son Heung-Min

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Although he's very young, South Korea will depend on Son Heung-Min if they want to give a better performance than the round of 16 finish in the 2010 edition of the World Cup. The 21-year-old forward might lack international experience, but his play and 10 goals for Bayer Leverkusen shows that he's more than ready to contribute to South Korea's chances.

Spain - Andres Iniesta

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Spain - Andres Iniesta

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While Barcelona have always been a team that relies heavily on the wonders of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta has also been a key factor in their success. Iniesta has dribbling skills that are second-to-none and an ability to find the open man at crucial times. Not to mention, he also scores goals in the most important of times. Spain will depend on Iniesta to break through opposing defenses to create chances.

Switzerland - Xherdan Shaqiri

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Switzerland - Xherdan Shaqiri

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What the 5-foot-7 Xherdan Shaqiri lacks in size, he most certainly makes up for in talent. His dribbling ability, speed and scoring ability brought the winger to Bayern Munich in 2012. And while he has a tough time cracking the starting rotation there, it's not for lack of ability. Switzerland, a defense-first team, will count on Shaqiri to take defenders and score.

USA - Michael Bradley

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USA - Michael Bradley

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In a team that lacks players who can single-handedly break down a defense, Michael Bradley will be called upon by the Stars and Stripes to initiate the offense and put in precision through-balls. Of course, that's just another day in the office of Bradley, who has been the USA's best player for years now. The Toronto FC man is considered a top central midfielder in the world who can stop the opponents and ignite the offense from behind.

Uruguay - Luis Suarez

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Uruguay - Luis Suarez

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Though it seems Luis Suarez will arrive to the World Cup coming off an injury, he will still be able to make a difference for Uruguay. After an amazing season at Liverpool, scoring 31 fantastic goals, Suarez will be counted on to replicate the performance for the country. After reaching the semifinals last time, Uruguay can no longer count on the aging Diego Forlan. It's now time for Suarez to shine.