Monday, October 22, 2018

Top 5 Defenders to Watch at 2018 World Cup

Milos Markovic in Editorial, Soccer Specials, World Cup 31 May 2018

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SoccerNews.com continues the countdown to World Cup 2018 and adds another article to the series of pieces we already treated you with regarding the upcoming showpiece tournament.

Yesterday we took a close look at five goalkeepers that are expected to take center stage in Russia and without further ado here is a list of top 5 defenders we expect will be generating most attention at World Cup.

So let’s start with the obvious choice.

Sergio Ramos

You better hope he doesn’t run into you at the World Cup or you’ll probably end up with your shoulder dislocated. At best.

Heavily criticised for allegedly intentionally trying to injure the Egyptian king Mohamed Salah during the Champions League final in Kiev, the Spanish defender remains one of the best centre-backs there are in world football.

All drama and theatrics he is no stranger to aside, the Real Madrid captain boasts an impressive track record that speaks for itself. The 2010 World Cup winner represented Spain in two other World Cups and is expected to be the main force in the back for Julen Lopetegui.

Four-time La Liga winner and three-time Champions League title holder, Ramos is a blood-thirsty soldier who will do anything to win. And we mean – anything.

Marquinhos

Regarded by many as the natural successor for his club and national side teammate – Thiago Silva – the Brazilian professional defender Marquinhos was key to Celecao’s road to redemption following the humiliating World Cup 2014 exit at the hands of Germany (7-1).

The 24-year-old Paris Saint-Germain star defender is sure to be listed as the first-choice centre-back for Brazil as they make their way through a group which includes Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia.

Marquinhos is a classic Brazilian defender – flamboyant and stylish – but at the same time highly technically astute and disciplined. Under the guidance of Tite he emerged as the new leader of Brazil’s backline and is likely to help Brazil make their 2014 nightmare disappear.

Marquinhos will travel to Russia on the back of a fine form and 41 competitive appearances across all competitions.

Samuel Umtiti

It’s an unlikely El Clasico partnership in France defence Didier Deschamps is hoping will lead his team to glory in France.

Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane will partner Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti in a young and exciting Les Bleus backline. With Laurent Koscielny ruled out of the World Cup 2018 due to injury, Varane and Umtiti are almost certain to start.

Public attention will surely be focused on Samuel Umtiti, who had a knee problem this season. Still, the eye of the people will want to know more on his club situation amid rumours that he could be on his way out of Barcelona.

The highly regarded 24-year-old has reportedly asked for a bumper pay rise in order to sign a contract extension with his club. Former Lyon man still has two years left in his deal with the Catalans who are attempting to tie him on a new long-term deal and at the same time to get rid of a relatively affordable and accessible €60 million release clause.

Nicolas Otamendi

The reason Argentine defender Nicolas Otamendi made this list is mostly the fact his role in Manchester City’s Premier League title route ended up being diminished and demised by the football community.

Otamendi ended up with 46 competitive outings in a City shirt last season as he helped Citizens claim a Premier League medal and lift the Carabao Cup. The Argentine ended up being one of the most consistent performers in Guardiola’s team.

The experienced defender made his way through injuries to improve both tactically and positionally. Otamendi’s courage and bravery are the attributes that stand out the most, however, helping him set apart from the rest in the league.

Guardiola described him as a ‘master of build-up’ and that’s a treat Argentina could very much use to their benefit in Russia.

Joshua Kimmich

The world stopped for Germany as Philipp Lahm announced he would be retiring from international football after the World Cup 2014 triumph.

Four years onwards and Die Mannschaft have a wide smile back on their faces thanks to an emerging force of a young Bayern Munich right-back Joshua Kimmich. Brought in from RB Leipzig in 2015 and transformed into a world-class star under the watchful eye of Pep Guardiola, Kimmich stands tall – albeit a 5ft9 lad – as a highly versatile asset Joachim Low can deploy both at the back or in the midfield.

A stark difference to Philipp Lahm in terms of his impressive attacking abilities, Joshua Kimmich looks set to provide Germany with a wide option upfield in an already impressive attacking line.

His presence in the final third, however, make a clear case for 9/2 betting odds slapped on Germany to win the forthcoming World Cup.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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