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Road To Russia 2018: World Cup Team Profiles (Part 3)

Road To Russia 2018: World Cup Team Profiles (Part 3)

by | 12th June 2018

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is just about a week away and with international warm-up friendlies underway over the next few days, we’re looking at the profiles of all 32 nations playing in this year’s World Cup.

 

This list is a continuation from the World Cup Team Profiles (Part 2)

 

 

• Iceland (Debutants)

 

Iceland qualified for the World Cup for the first time in history. They also are the smallest nation ever to qualify. A record that may not be broken in a long time. They qualified top in their group above teams like Turkey, Ukraine, and Croatia. Iceland grew prominence in Euro 2016 reaching the quarterfinals with their famous 2-1 win against England. Their star man is Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson whose creativity is important for a team that plays compact.

 

Captain: Aron Gunnarsson

 

Star Player: Gylfi Sigurdsson

 

Predictions: Group Stage

 

 

• Japan (Round of 16 ’02, ’10)

 

The ‘Samuari Blue’ have become regulars since they first qualified in 1998 and grew in 2002 when they co-hosted the tournament reaching the Round of 16. Japan have a number of experienced players in their squad like Keisuke Honda, Shinji Okazaki and Yuto Nagatomo whom have experience degrees of success in Europe. Their main man is Shinji Kagawa. A Bundesliga and Premier League winner, the attacking midfielder has scored 29 goals in 90 caps and is important if they can go through.

 

Captain: Makoto Hasebe

 

Star Player: Shinji Kagawa

 

Predictions: Group Stage

 

 

 

• Korea Republic (4th Place ’02)

 

South Korea are the most successful nation in World Cup history finishing fourth in 2002 co-hosting the tournament and having the likes of Park Ji-Sung in their ranks. South Korea qualified second in their group behind Iran. ‘The Reds’ have Swansea’s Ki Sung-yeung but Son Heung-min is their biggest asset. The Tottenham attacker enjoyed a fine season and will be looking to replicate that for the “Taegeuk Warriors”.

 

Captain: Ki Sung-yeung

 

Star Player: Son Heung-min

 

Predictions: Group Stage

 

 

• Iceland (Debutants)

Iceland qualified for the World Cup for the first time in history. They also are the smallest nation ever to qualify. A record that may not be broken in a long time. They qualified top in their group above teams like Turkey, Ukraine, and Croatia. Iceland grew prominence in Euro 2016 reaching the quarterfinals with their famous 2-1 win against England. Their star man is Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson whose creativity is important for a team that plays compact.

Captain: Aron Gunnarsson

Star Player: Gylfi Sigurdsson

Predictions: Group Stage

 

 

• Mexico (Quarter-Finals ’70 & ’86)

 

El Tri qualified with ease finishing top of the North American qualifiers. Meico has struggled in past tournaments unable to reach the quarter-finals since 1986. With an ageing squad, they have the likes of Rafael Marquez, Giovani dos Santos, Hector Moreno possibly playing in their last World Cup. Javier Hernandez is the source of inspiration. He is Mexico’s all-time goalscorer with 49 goals in 101 caps. Another asset they have is Hirving Lozano who plays in PSV in the Netherlands.

 

Captain: Rafael Marquez

 

Star Player: Javier Hernandez

 

Predictions: Round of 16

 

 

 

• Morocco (Round of 16 ’86)

 

Morocco qualified for the World Cup for the first time since the 1998 edition. They placed their place beating Ivory Coast 2-0 in Abidjan. The ‘Atlas Lions’ have the likes of Medhi Benatia, Younes Belhanda and Aziz Bouhaddouz. With Sofiane Boufal left out, their prized asset is Ajaz’s Hakim Ziyech whose creativity is important for them as they don’t have an attacking threat.

 

Captain: Medhi Benatia

 

Star Player: Hakim Ziyech

 

Predictions: Group Stage