Group stage (1990)
45 Hector Cuper Mo Salah. Liverpool’s Egyptian king is the ruler of this team and the entire country is praying he can start the tournament after his shoulder injury in the Champions League Final. Egypt desperately need Salah to be at the top of his game to shoot them into the knockout stages. Last 16 Egypt can stifle teams and are well-organised defensively. But they are hugely dependent on Salah and need other players to weigh in. Fourth (1966)
70 Stanislav Cherchesov Igor Akinfeev. Captain of both his national team and CSKA Moscow, he is regarded as Russia’s only world-class talent. Akinfeev (below) dreamed of being a goalkeeper when his dad enrolled him in CSKA’s sports school at the age of four and has gone on to win six titles and six Russian cups. Group They may be hosts but they will have little to celebrate at the World Cup party. Russia go into the tournament with a lacklustre manager in Cherchesov and a below average side not capable of progressing. Round of 16 (1994)
67 Juan Antonio Pizzi Osama Hawsawi. The captain is a cool and calculated central defender for Al-Hilal. He made his international debut just after the 2006 World Cup and now has more than 130 caps. He is commanding in the air but at 34 has slowed down dramatically. Group Just there to make up the numbers. Saudi Arabia qualified in September but within two months they made two coaching changes. Could beat the hosts but will then crash to Egypt and Uruguay. Winners (1930, 1950) 14 Oscar Tabarez Luis Suarez. When he’s not in the side, Uruguay look weak. With the Barcelona genius (right) in it is a different story. He is their go-to goal man and his incredible work ethic is a massive inspiration to team-mates. Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera said: “He’s the best No.9 in the world – and our leader.” Quarter-Finals This will be a last shot at glory for many of the heroes who defied the odds by reaching the semi-finals in 2010. They will be eyeing a run to the last four but won’t get it. Should be one bust-up.
World Cup final appearances: Best performance: World ranking: Coach: One to watch: Prediction: Verdict: World Cup final appearances: Best performance: World ranking: Coach: One to watch: World Cup final appearances: Best performance: World...