Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: Every Team’s Worst Player

2014 World Cup: Every Team's Worst Player

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While one would assume that everyone playing in the World Cup is objectively good, there are players who are either undeservedly selected to their nations, or show how weak their nations are. Whether one wants to admit it or not, every team has their weak link, and this World Cup is no different. Here are every team's worst players in this year's tournament.

Algeria: Hassan Yebda

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Algeria: Hassan Yebda

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At 30 years old, Udinese midfielder Hassan Yebda seems like an odd choice for a squad brimming with youth and energy. The defensive midfielder has bounced around Europe in multiple clubs like Portsmouth, Udinese and Napoli, never being good enough to stay in a team. He will be a weak point for Algeria during the World Cup.

Argentina: Jose Maria Basanta

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Argentina: Jose Maria Basanta

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Finding a bad player on a 23-man squad of Argentina's best is hard. Unfortunately for Jose Maria Basanta, as decent a defender as he is, he's also the worst player in Argentina's squad. Basanta plays against lesser competition in Mexico as opposed to those who play in Spain, Italy or Portugal. And although he's a mainstay for Monterrey, he will be the fourth choice center-back for Argentina.

Australia: Matthew Špiranović

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Australia: Matthew Spiranovic

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Matthew Spiranovic has drifted from club to club for years now, donning the uniform of eight different teams. One would think that someone with a history of eight clubs would be in their 30s, but Spiranovic is only 25 years young. That only speaks to his inability to play consistently enough for any team. The 6-foot-4 defender will suffer against the quality forwards he'll face in the World Cup like Alexis Sanchez and Robin van Persie.

Belgium: Laurent Ciman

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Belgium: Laurent Ciman

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Belgium's Laurent Ciman will go to the World Cup likely as one of the backups. Although he's 28, he's actually only played for his nation a total of eight times, which is a good indicator that while he's good enough to be called to the World Cup, he's not good enough to enter the pitch. This will surely continue with a Belgium squad that has talent in every position.

Brazil: Jo

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Brazil: Jo

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When coach Luiz Felipe Scolari revealed his 23-man roster for the World Cup, many fans immediately put down the list, citing the refusal to call up players like Robinho, Ronaldinho and Lucas Moura. Many targeted Jo as the weak link, shouting for his removal. Though he has a good size for a center forward, he's only scored five goals for the national team. Many would argue the Brazilian jersey is too much pressure for Jo.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Muhamed Besic

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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Muhamed Besic

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While Muhamed Besic isn't a bad player at all, his youth, inexperience and attitude are indicative that he simply isn't ready for World Cup level soccer. The 21 year-old defensive midfielder has had many behavioral issues in his clubs, which even led to him being suspended from Hamburg SV. He might be a bad mix in the Bosnian locker room during a time when all the players need to focus on the games at hand.

Cameroon: Dany Nounkeu

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Cameroon: Dany Nounkeu

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Dany Nounkeu was on a good path to a good career before taking a disappointing turn in his form after his transfer to the Turkish side, Galatasaray. Since then, the Cameroonian defender has been loaned to Besiktas, where he's only used sparingly. As a result, Nounkeu probably won't see much playing time for Cameroon.

Chile: Jose Rojas

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Chile: Jose Rojas

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Universidad de Chile defender Jose Rojas was chosen to be a part of Chile's 23-man squad in front of better, taller defenders like Marcos Gonzalez or Enzo Andia. This surprised Chilean fans and press alike, and they see Jose Rojas as a liability on the left side. Chile already has a relatively weak defense, and Jose Rojas' call up only confirms the weak pool of defenders in Chile.

Colombia: Mario Yepes

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Colombia: Mario Yepes

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Some might be surprised by his inclusion in this list, seeing as how he is the Colombian captain, but Mario Yepes simply isn't as good as he once was. While he is tank, a leader and an enforcer, he was constantly taken by faster, smarter and better forwards in the South American qualifiers. He poses a huge liability in the back-line for a Colombia squad that can't take too many risks considering Radamel Falcao's injury.

Costa Rica: Johnny Acosta

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Costa Rica: Johnny Acosta

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Costa Rica was handed a tough group in the draw, so they'll need an extremely strong defense to get past the group. While goalkeeper Keylor Navas is at a world-class level, his defenders aren't quite there. Perhaps the worst of the bunch is Johnny Acosta. He's already aging with 30 years old, and at 5-foot-9, he is too small for his position. He's too slow for the speedsters, and not tall enough for the tanks.

Croatia: Danijel Pranjic

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Croatia: Danijel Pranjic

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The 32-year-old left winger was once considered a world-class player, even playing for Bayern Munich. However, at his advanced age, Danijel Pranjic has proven to be a bit of a liability at times. And while there are worse players than him in Croatia technically, he nabs the award for chemistry issues. He had retired from the national team for some time after Sammir, a Brazilian-born Croatian, was called up to the team.

Ecuador: Oscar Bagui

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Ecuador: Oscar Bagui

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The Ecuadorian left-back, Oscar Bagui, has been called up to Ecuador for a number of years on a consistent basis. However, he only ever gets a chance on the pitch when the game is decided or if the B teams are playing. Now that he's 31 years old, he isn't as fast as he used to be, so don't expect to see him get much playing time in Brazil.

England: James Milner

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England: James Milner

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James Milner is yet another example of a good player in a star-filled team. He's got great vision and is a simple player, but England already has a number of players who can pass the ball around the field with class. What England needs on the wings is someone who can make a difference. Milner isn't that player, and he won't make an impact in Brazil.

France: Rio Mavuba

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France: Rio Mavuba

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French defensive midfielder Rio Mavuba is a very talented player. His reputation in the French league is built around him breaking up plays through his tenacious pressing and tireless efforts . However, when it comes to controlling and initiating the offense, he's one of France's weaker players. That's what makes him France's worst players. He pales in comparison to players like Paul Pogba or Yohan Cabaye.

Germany: Miroslav Klose

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Germany: Miroslav Klose

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It only speaks to the talent of the German squad that Miroslav Klose is considered their worst player, but the fact remains that at the age of 35, one of the top goal-scorers in World Cup history simply isn't as good as he once was. He scored seven goals this season in 24 appearances for Lazio, a low number in comparison to seasons past. Regardless, he's the only forward coach Joaquim Low called up, and is called to be the goalscorer yet again.

Ghana: Rashid Sumaila

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Ghana: Rashid Sumaila

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Ghana's 23-man roster is one filled with stars and quality. And in that sea of stars, Rashid Sumaila is the least bright. The 21-year old defender is relatively untested, having only played for his national team a whopping four times. He also plays in South Africa, where the competition isn't exactly world-class. Don't expect to see Sumalia get any playing time.

Greece: Loukas Vyntra

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Greece: Loukas Vyntra

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On a Greek team that has historically prided itself upon its Spartan style defense, Loukas Vyntra is a far departure from the great defenders that Greece has produced. He was a better defender in his younger days, but at 33, he's way past his prime. He currently plays for an average Levante team where he fits in well.

Honduras: Juan Pablo Montes

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Honduras: Juan Pablo Montes

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Of all the defenders competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Juan Pablo Montes just might be the worst. Of course, the Honduran coach doesn't have a huge pool to select from. While Montes has a good size for a defender, he just doesn't have the skills required to play a World Cup. He lacks the speed, discipline, timing, strength and communication that builds a good defender.

Iran: Amir Sadeghi

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Iran: Amir Sadeghi

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Iran isn't a team that has stars at every position like Spain or France, and their defense is proof of that. Amir Sadeghi is a 32-year-old center-back that has played for a number of different teams throughout Asia without ever leaving a mark. His 6-foot-1 frame is formidable, but he doesn't have the necessary skills to stay in front of his man.

Italy: Gabriel Paletta

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Italy: Gabriel Paletta

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After a stellar couple of seasons in Parma, the Argentine-born Gabriel Paletta was finally called up the Italian squad. Of course, his first choice would have been Argentina, having been born and lived there his whole life, but he simply wasn't good enough. So Italy decided to get sloppy seconds and called up Paletta as their fourth-choice center-back. His strength and size are his pros, while speed and technique are his cons.

Ivory Coast: Didier Zokora

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Ivory Coast: Didier Zokora

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Didier Zokora was once considered a star defensive midfielder, but as time goes on, his skills have diminished. Now 33, Zokora lacks the speed he once had and seems a step below the competition at all times. However, his strength and tenacity were enough to convince the coach to give him a starting spot. If opposing forwards are smart, they'll go straight at Zokora to take advantage of the mismatch.

Japan: Yasuyuki Konno

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Japan: Yasuyuki Konno

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Despite the effort put forth by Yasuyuki Konno on the defensive end, there are certain intangibles that he simply doesn't have. It seems every time he plays for Japan, he's prone to silly and unnecessary yellow cards. In a generation of quick, talented attackers, Konno is always chasing behind his man. If Japanese coach Alberto Zaccheroni decides to start Konno, forwards will have a field day with him.

Mexico: Javier Hernandez

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Mexico: Javier Hernandez

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Javier Hernandez has always been known as a goal poacher. If he's outside of the 18-yard box, he's out of position. His role is to get in position to finish, and he was great in that role for a couple of seasons. But the "Chicharito" of today isn't scoring anymore. He misses easy opportunities, seems lost on the field, and still can't control a ball outside of the 18-yard box. Unless he starts scoring, he's worthless to Mexico.

Netherlands: Paul Verhaegh

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Netherlands: Paul Verhaegh

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While Paul Verhaegh gets the job done for his club, he doesn't play as well for Netherlands. The problem has gotten so bad on the right side of the defense for Netherlands, it's been reported that they're trying out forward Dirk Kuyt in the right-back position. The hole that Gregory van der Wiel left on the right isn't being filled by Paul Verhaegh.

Nigeria: Shola Ameobi

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Nigeria: Shola Ameobi

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Here's an alarming statistic that Nigerian forward Shola Ameobi can tell his kids about: from 2010 to 2014, Ameobi has scored a whopping 18 goals. Now add this to the cauldron: From 2010 to 2014, Ameobi has played 123 games. Those statistics are beyond terrible. That means it takes Ameobi about seven games to score. In seven games, Nigeria won't be playing the World Cup anymore.

Portugal: Silvestre Varela

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Portugal: Silvestre Varela

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Portugal's Silvestre Varela has all the attributes to be a world-class player. He has a good size, is extremely quick, strong and blessed with a great right foot. But even then, one can't help but be completely underwhelmed by Varela. He's a bad decision-maker who shows a few glimpses of talent every now and then, but is all too inconsistent. Portugal's offensive players have always been very talented, but Varela is a far cry from those players.

Russia: Aleksei Kozlov

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Russia: Aleksei Kozlov

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Right-back Aleksei Kozlov will most likely start for Russia in the World Cup, but it only shows the lack of depth in that position. While he's perfectly acceptable when defending, his offensive game shows little ingenuity or creativity. His crosses aren't as precise as one in his position should be, and he is beaten off the dribble too often.

South Korea: Kim Chang-Soo

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South Korea: Kim Chang-Soo

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Kim Chang-Soo is a South Korean fullback who will likely not feature in the 2014 World Cup. South Korea is a technically sound team filled with potential and talent, but Kim doesn't quite fit into that mold. While he's a decent defender, he's never been a threat offensively when he goes up the field.

Spain: Pedro

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Spain: Pedro

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Pedro has shown to be a goal-scoring asset for Barcelona and Spain, but in perhaps the most talented squad in the World Cup, he isn't quite as good as his fellow countrymen. His biggest weakness is his inconsistency. Even in Barcelona, he's been known to score a hat-trick one day followed by three matches where he hardly shows up. However, he still manages to score a decent amount and Spain will need that.

Switzerland: Michael Lang

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Switzerland: Michael Lang

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Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has always stressed a strong defense for all his teams. Even his forwards are asked to defend well. That's why it's so surprising to see Michael Lang being called up by the experienced coach. He has very little experience in the system, having only played one international game, and lacks the defensive discipline that Hitzfeld asks for.

USA: Julian Green

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USA: Julian Green

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As the press have stressed, 18 year-old Julian Green was selected in favor of historic forward, Landon Donovan. That alone has put negative press on the youngster's selection. But if that wasn't enough, Green remains way too green (excuse the pun). His performances for the U.S. have shown that while he's talented, he's too raw for the World Cup. Hopefully, Jurgen Klinsmann uses the tournament as a teaching experience for Green.

Uruguay: Diego Lugano

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Uruguay: Diego Lugano

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Uruguay's Diego Lugano is the second aging captain to make this list. While his leadership is important to Uruguay, one can't help but feel that they can find it in other players while securing the defense. Lugano has only sparingly played for his club in the last three years, and his lack of routine is showing in his international games. Luckily, he has a world-class partner in Diego Godin. But even then, Godin can't be everywhere.