The 2014 FIFA World Cup is all set to get kicked off later tonight and all eyes are on the hosts Brazil to win their sixth World Cup. Brazil has the strongest defence among the 32 teams out of which we have drawn the top ten defenders to watch out for in this world cup. Usually teams play with four defenders among whom two play as a full back and two play as a centre back. So it won’t be fair enough if we give more importance to central defenders when compared to the full backs. So while compiling the top ten defenders to watch out for in the 2014 World Cup, we have given equal weightage to full backs as well. Here is the list of top ten defenders to watch out for in the extravaganza.
1. Thiago Silva
Captain of both the Brazilian National team and his club Paris St. Germain, Thiago Silva is a commanding presence at the back. Combining his positional awareness with his superb tackling skills he is an asset to the team. He can lead the side well from the back. He along with David Luiz post a nightmare to the opposition. He is also very good in scoring goals through set pieces.
2. Phillip Lahm
Being hailed as the greatest full back of his generation, Phillip Lahm leads Germany into the FIFA World Cup. He primarily plays as a right back but he is a versatile player who could play on both sides of the pitch and also as a defensive midfielder. He usually cuts from the flank to the inside to either shoot or pass. He is renowned for his pace, dribbling and tackling abilities.
3. Sergio Ramos
A mainstay of the Champions Spain, Ramos is one of the most accomplished centre backs in the world. A versatie character, Ramos is equally good as a right back. He is a target man during set pieces and has the ability to add goals to his team’s tally. He is also a fine free kick taker and he will hold the responsibility to take free kicks from short distances as he did during the warmups. His defensive pair remains a huge question mark as Vincente del Bosque has preferred Javi Martinez ahead of Gerrard Pique in the recent past.
4. Vincent Kompany
After leading his club Manchester City to the Premier League title, Vincent Kompany’s next aim will be the World Cup where he represents the Belgian Red Devils. He is a well-built defender who is rock solid at the backline. He has the ability to rise above all the players during set pieces which adds more value to his team. He is the backbone of the Belgium defence that has the likes of Thomas Vermaelen in it.
5. Giorgio Chilleini
Giorgio Chilleini is one of the most under rated defender in the world at the moment. Like Ramos, he is also very versatile as he began his career as a left back. Over the years, he has made himself a consistent and hard tackling centre back who has the ability to gain control during the set pieces. He has been the reason behind Juventus’ amazing defensive records in the past two seasons.
6. Dani Alves
The Brazilian is one of the best right backs in the world. A highly aggressive defender, he is comfortable with the ball at his feet. An excellent crosser of the ball, he is known for his long range shooting. He is one of the reasons for Lionel Messi’s exceptional performance for Barcelona. His presence gives Brazilian Hulk an opportunity to drift in from the right side.
Hailed by Roberto Carlos as the best left back, Marcelo will add both defensive steel and attacking intent to the dream team. With his excellent defending and superb dribbling abilities, he will be looking to aid the Selecaos in their bid to win their sixth World Cup crown. Like his compatriot Dani Alves, Marcelo provides Neymar a chance to drift into the middle.
8. Raphael Varane
The youngest defender in this list, Raphael Varane is one of the emerging players taking part in the tournament. The 21 year old Frenchman is a lion hearted defender who is more matured as a footballer than his age suggests. He has a good defensive reading, well-built and has pace in his armoury which makes him one of the defender to watch out for in the future. He has also had Lionel Messi under check when his team Real Madrid faces Barcelona. He along with Laurent Koscielny holds the fort for France in the wold cup.
9. Per Mertesacker
Known as Big F*****g German, Per Mertesacker is one of the disciplined defenders around the world at the moment. With an imposing figure with a height of 6 feet 6 inches, Mertesacker is a commanding force in the air and also is sound in defending on the ground. Even though he does not have enough pace, he is extraodinary in positional play and anticipation. He along with Mats Hummels guard the backline for Germany.
10. Leighton Baines
Leighton Baines is considered as one of the bright spots for England in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. A natural left back who can attack and defend equally holds key for England in the tournament. He has the ability to drift down from the flanks and is very good in providing crosses. He is also a long range shooter who has both power and accuracy.