CRO-ING FOR GOLD: Mo­dric will look to re­prod­cue his Real Madrid form when he leads out his coun­try Quar­ter-Fi­nals (2014)

16 Jose Pek­er­man Radamel Fal­cao. The for­mer Manch­ester United and Chelsea for­ward (be­low) is back on form with Monaco, rac­ing past the 20-goal mark in each of the last two sea­sons. Fal­cao’s ca­reer has been blighted by in­juries but the striker, 32, is still his coun­try’s most ex­pe­ri­enced player with 71 caps. Last 16 They have wit­nessed play­ers be­ing shot for scor­ing own goals and a goal­keeper in­vent­ing the ‘Scor­pion Kick’ – dull they are not. Colom­bia reached the Quar­ter-Fi­nals in Brazil four years ago and should progress past the group stage again. Last 16 (2002, 2010)

61 Akira Nishino Shinji Okazaki. The Le­ices­ter City for­ward (be­low) is Ja­pan’s poster boy and third all-time high­est scorer with 50 goals in 112 matches. Group The Samu­rai Blues are one of the most suc­cess­ful teams in Asia, qual­i­fy­ing for the last six World Cups and win­ning a record four Asian Cups. The play­ers have a pas­sion few can match and stars like Southamp­ton de­fender Maya Yoshida have great ex­pe­ri­ence. Third (1974, 1982)

8 Nawalka Robert Le­wandowski. A tar­get for both Manch­ester United and Chelsea, the World Cup fi­nals could be the per­fect stage for the Bay­ern Mu­nich for­ward to show why he’s in such de­mand. With ar­guably the weak­est group in the tour­na­ment, Poland and Le­wandowski should thrive. Last 16 Poland have a habit of up­set­ting the odds and are cer­tainly good enough to win their group. Quar­ter-Fi­nals (2002)

28 Aliou Cisse Sa­dio Mane. He has just fin­ished a won­der­ful, goalscor­ing sea­son with Liver­pool but you won­der how much the Cham­pi­ons League Fi­nal de­feat to Real Madrid has taken out of him. On his day Mane is a joy, a quick­sil­ver striker with a great shot, and on the big­gest stage this could be his mo­ment to shine. Group This is only their sec­ond World Cup and they man­aged to reach the last eight in 2002. But Sene­gal’s over­all record is poor and they will need Mane at his best to change his­tory.

Ver­dict: World Cup fi­nal ap­pear­ances: Best per­for­mance: World rank­ing: Coach: One to watch: Pre­dic­tion: World Cup fi­nal ap­pear­ances: Best per­for­mance: World rank­ing: Coach: One to watch: Ver­dict: Pre­dic­tion: World Cup fi­nal ap­pear­ances: Best...

Pre­dic­tion: Ver­dict: World Cup fi­nal ap­pear­ances: Best per­for­mance:

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