With 100 days to go until the 2014 FIFA World Cup begins, we take a look at six centurions who will be eager to make an impact in Brazil.
Each of these players has earned over 100 caps for their respective country and can be expected to put their experience to good use at the global showpiece.
Steven Gerrard (England)
At 33, Brazil 2014 looks likely to be the England captain’s last World Cup.
Premier League and World Cup medals are the only pieces of silverware missing from the 108-time international’s glittering trophy cabinet.
Expect Roy Hodgson to use Gerrard in a deep role in midfield, just as Brendan Rodgers has often done at Liverpool this season.
Gerrard has often lifted his club team-mates and will need to do the same at international level in a tough Group D, which includes Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica.
Iker Casillas (Spain)
The Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper has endured a couple of tough seasons as he battles for the starting place at the Liga giants with Diego Lopez.
But Casillas’ leadership cannot be understated, having led the all-conquering Spain team to European Championships (2008, 2012) and World Cup (2010) glory.
Casillas, 32, has represented his country on 152 occasions and expect him to add to that in what has been deemed the ‘group of death’ at Brazil 2014.
The reigning world and European champions take on powerhouses the Netherlands, South American dark horses Chile and Australia in Group B.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Ronaldo’s importance to his nation was underlined in the FIFA World Cup play-off against Sweden – a tie labelled a battle between the Real Madrid star and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The 29-year-old Ballon d’Or winner struck a second-leg, second-half hat-trick to lead Portugal to Brazil 2014.
Arguably the world’s best player, Ronaldo will be relied upon by coach Paulo Bento against Germany, Ghana and the United States in Group G.
It would take something special for the 109-time international to lead Portugal beyond the quarter-finals, but his ability to score goals at will means it is possible.
Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon)
The Chelsea striker’s relationship with the national team has been a strange one in the past year, reversing a decision to retire from internationals late in 2013.
The four-time African Player of the Year is a key man in the Cameroon squad, but gets plenty of support from the likes of Alex Song, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Jean Makoun.
Eto’o, 32, is the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer and was part of the team that won Olympic gold at Sydney 2000.
His goalscoring ability will be crucial for Cameroon against Brazil, Croatia and Mexico in Group A.
Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
The former Manchester United striker has moved to J. League outfit Cerezo Osaka ahead of what will be the 34-year-old’s last World Cup.
The only Uruguayan to represent his country more than 100 times, Forlan was also the leading national goalscorer before being overtaken by Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.
Forlan was prolific at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid after leaving the Premier League, but largely struggled to settle at Inter and Internacional.
A move to Asia could be what Forlan needs ahead of Brazil 2014, where most of his impact is likely to be from the bench, with Forlan behind Suarez and Edinson Cavani in the pecking order for Oscar Tabarez’s men.
Yasuhito Endo (Japan)
The Gamba Osaka midfielder has enjoyed a decorated career in his home country and has earned a record 140 caps for Japan.
Creative and a fine free-kick taker, Endo has a trophy cabinet that includes league titles, cups, an AFC Champions League, an Asian Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup bronze medal.
The 2009 Asian Footballer of the Year, Endo has plenty of competition for his place in a talented Japan side.
The 34-year-old and his Japan team-mates should be targeting a spot in the second round after being drawn in Group C alongside Colombia, Greece and the Ivory Coast.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!