FIFA 14 World Cup: Dark Horses-Part 2

Continuation of Part I

CHILE:

Sanchez and Vidal

These two hold the key for Chile!

Over the years, smaller countries have ensured that traditional powerhouses like Argentina, Brazil and the Netherlands are off their perch. Among these nations is a small country beside Argentina. Yes, it is indeed Chile. Chile qualified for the World Cup with a stunning record under new coach Jorge Sampaoli who along with the La Roja broke new records by winning 10, drawing 3, and losing only 3 of 15 games in the qualifiers for the World Cup.

Players to watch out for:

1. Alexis Sanchez
2. Arturo Vidal
3. Matias Fernandez
4. Jean Beausejour

What do they offer?

Arturo Vidal holds the key in Chile's midfield

Arturo Vidal holds the key in Chile’s midfield

Unlike the two teams mentioned in my article preceding this about the same topic, Chile do have a few players who have quality International experience to boast off. The likes of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Matias Fernandez and Marucio Isla have played in and around Europe and they have played for big clubs which gives them the cutting edge while playing in crunch situations. They have a lot of attacking options and their defence too isn’t bad either.

Strength:

Their midfield would surely be their greatest strength. In Arturo Vidal and Matias Fernandez, Chile have two world class midfielders with them. Vidal would surely one of their best players this time around and a lot of the team’s hopes depends on the way this man performs. Their defence which is often underrated has the likes
of Gonzalo Jara, Gary Medel and Marucio Isla who would surely give their opponents a run for their money.

Weakness:

Their main weakness would be as to who would be their first choice goalkeeper. With Claudio Bravo injured and Miguel Pinto not playing for the country since last year, it would be given to either Johnny Herrera, Cristopher Toselli or Paulo Gerces and with all the three not having much of international experience, it’d be interesting to see who is chosen as the first choice. Also, Alexis Sanchez has not got much help from one of his strike partners off late. And this would certainly would not be good news for him.

How far will they progress?

Alexis Sanchez Chile World Cup

Alexis Sanchez can be a tricky one for many defenders

Chile have not had a very good draw this time around. They’ve been placed in one of the two ‘Group of Death’. Along with the Spaniards and the Dutch, it is quite a formidable group. The La Roja have to play out of their skins if they want to qualify further ahead in the tournament.

Their key matches would be the ones against Spain and the Netherlands. Considering they beat Australia, Chile need to beat atleast one of the above mentioned opponents to have a fair chance of qualifying. And I would put my bet on Chile beating the Dutch as the Netherlands are not like how they were in the last World Cup and I don’t see them beating Spain either.

If Chile progress as the team that finished second in their group, they would most probably face the Selecao. If they finish first, which I think would be unlikely, they would face either Croatia, Mexico or Cameroon. And I guess we shouldn’t predict more as what we are taking into account is the country and the way they are playing. But the World Cup is known for its upsets, right?

COLOMBIA:

Columbia world cup

Columbia could be the surprise package this World Cup

One of the rising teams in the International scene, Colombia are not a team to be taken off lightly. Their performances have ensured that the Los Cafeteros are now ranked as highly as fourth in the world as released by FIFA. They are even ahead of seasoned teams like England, Italy, France, Netherlands, Argentina and Brazil. Colombia are filled with stars from all round the world. Their attacking force is one of the most potent in the world.

Players to watch out for:

1. James Rodriguez
2. Adrian Ramos
3. Luis Muriel
4. Jackson Martinez

Note: I didn’t include Radamel Falcao due to the sole reason that I don’t know whether he will feature in their team this time around. If he does make it, Falcao would no doubt be one of the players to watch out for.

What do they offer?

Rodriguez being followed closely by top clubs

James Rodriguez is one of the most exciting young talents in Europe

As said above, Colombia possess one of the best attacking outfits in the world. They are a relatively experienced team with almost every player playing more than 15 matches at least. With Inter Milan’s Fredy Guarin at the centre of the pitch, Colombia would hope he would be a his best during the World Cup. Colombia’s strikers are surely a few who would send shivers down the opposition’s spine. And not forgetting their defence who are extremely experienced.

Strength:

The experience that the players possess would surely come in handy for them. James Rodriguez, a vital cog for French side AS Monaco would be one to watch out for this time. His creativity and sharpness on the pitch is unmatched. Combined with the trio of Jackson Martinez, Luis Muriel and Adrian Ramos, they would surely be one of the most dangerous trios in the tournament.

Weakness:

Like Chile, Colombia’s weakness would also be the spot of the goalkeeper. Their first choice goalkeeper, David Ospina plays for Nice, a French club. He has played over 40 times for his national team but when it comes to the World Cup, every ounce of experience is needed.

The Colombian defence is also another hinge for the team. Although they’ve played a lot together, most of them are far too old to play with such intensity the World Cup demands. Mario Yepes and Luis Amaranto Perea are two of their stalwarts and both of them are well over 35.

How far will they progress?

With a group consisting of Ivory Coast, Greece and Japan, Colombia would be much happier than most of the other teams with their draw. I see them qualifying with the top spot from this group with rather ease.

As winners of Group C, they would face the runners up of Group D. That might be either Uruguay, England or Italy. With all the three opponents quite tricked, I give Columbia a 50-50 chance. England are known as consistent chokers so I would fancy the Colombians if they are pitted against the Three Lions.

If they do face Uruguay, it would be a tough task for their defence as they have the likes of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Forlan and Gaston Ramirez among others. And their defence too would be a tough nut to crack while you never even think about writing off the Azzuri.

If they do pass this test, it’d be a huge achievement for them and I guess we should just sit back and wait until these teams go out all guns blazing. Until then, Cheers!



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