Top 10 Defenders in The World Cup 2014

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It is often said that if a team has to win a game then it must have a sound base of defenders so that no goals are conceded and although the job of a defender is far from glamorous he is as important a member of a team as the goalscoring striker or the creative midfielder. The World Cup in Brazil in 2014 would feature plenty of fine defenders from all across the world and this article would present to you a list of the 10 of the best defenders who would be on show in showpiece event.

10. Per Mertersacker

Starting off these rankings is the German giant Per Mertersacker who has improved by leaps and bounds since making his debut for the German national team back in 2004. Mertersacker is an old fashioned central defender who might not have a lot of pace but has outstanding positional awareness that allows him to track the runs of faster opponents with ease or catch them offside. He has also had an excellent season with Arsenal in the English Premier League and you can expect him to be a vital part of the German team that would do battle for their 4th World Cup crown.

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9. Pepe

The only reason the Portuguese defender comes in at number 9 rather than higher up the list is because of the fact that he is always a moment of madness away from a red card offence and that is something that often makes him a liability, although he is undoubtedly one of the most gifted defenders in the world. Pepe is primarily a man marking defender who makes sure that he is always on the back of the striker that he has been asked to keep quiet and in addition to that he makes regular forays into midfield in order to break up play so that the opponents are not able to build anything threatening.

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8. Dante

Dante, who will represent hosts Brazil in the 2014 World Cup and plays club football with Bayern Munich, has grown in stature over the past two seasons. The most important attribute about him is that he is an extremely versatile defender, who is equally at ease at central defence as also in the left back position and that is something that allows the manager to be a bit flexible with his team. Watch a highlight of his performance for Bayern in the game against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions’ Leage last year to get an idea of his abilities. On the other hand, he is a tough tackler and hardly lets anything pass irrespective of his position. Brazil will surely benefit a lot from the talents of this excellent defender.

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7. Gerard Pique

FC Barcelona has not had the best of seasons in 2013-14 and their defence has looked quite wobbly at times, however Spain international Gerard Pique has remained the only stabilising influence in the defensive set up. Pique is a clean tackler who has the ability to smell danger quite early and usually he manages to snuff out opposition attacks before they can become dangerous. In addition to that, he is also responsible for directing the play from the back since he acts as the defender who is responsible for distributing the ball to the midfielder who will take the attack forward. He was at the peak of his powers in the 2012 European Championships and turned in outstanding performances in every game.

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6. Laurent Koscielny

The Frenchman used to ply his trade in the French second division till 2010 but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger plucked him out of obscurity and has now made him into one of the most reliable defenders in the game. After his performances for Arsenal, Koscielny has now become a regular in the French national team and is expected to play a pivotal role at the heart of their defence. Koscielny is probably one of the fastest moving defenders in the world who can stifle even the swiftest of wingers and strikers, however over the years he has also fine tuned his tackling technique that has made him into a well rounded central defender.

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5. Philip Lahm

The German captain has been hailed by none other than Pep Guardiola (Bayern manager) as one of the ‘most intelligent players’ that he has worked with, which goes to show the sort of skills he brings on to the field of play and it is no wonder that he is regarded as one of the most tactically astute players in the world. In addition to the fact that he patrols the left side the German defence with unbelievable zeal, he also provides an attacking outlet to the left winger by making impressive runs on the left flank. Philip Lahm is the complete package.

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4. Vincent Kompany

The Belgian team that would be on show in the 2014 World Cup would be an extremely talented one and their captain Vincent Kompany would be the defensive bulwark that would try to ensure that the team concedes as few goals as possible. Kompany is an old fashioned central defender who can come up with crunching tackles, track runs and can also clear any aerial ball that might turn out to be dangerous; as a result he is often regarded as the perfect central defender. Expect him to have a major say if Belgian go into the knockout stages.

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3. Giorgio Chiellini

Now, you really did not expect to have a list of the best defenders without an Italian in it did you? If you didn’t then you are not mistakes since Italy’s rock in defence Giorgio Chiellini comes in at number 3 due to his outstanding man marking capabilities and a penchant of anticipating the moves of the opposition a split second earlier than most. Chiellini has had an outstanding season with Juventus in the Serie A and would most certainly carry that form into the World Cup, in which he would try to make the Italian defence as stereotypically mean as he can. Last year in the Confederations Cup Chiellini probably delivered the finest performances of his career when he managed to keep the Spanish midfielders in his back pocket.

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2. Leonardo Bonucci

At number 2 is another Italian and Chiellini’s central defensive partner Bonucci who would try to recreate the same magic for Italy as he has done for Juventus during the 2013-14 season. Bonucci is the typical big, hulking central defender who protects the penalty box like a lion and more often than not he marks the opposing strikers like their shadow. In addition to that, he is extremely good in the air and it is rare to see him coming out second best from out of an aerial duel. Watch out for this beast of a defender in the World Cup when he takes on Uruguay and England in the first round.

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1. Thiago Silva

The top spot goes to Brazil captain and PSG central defender Thiago Silva, who has over the years succeeded in cementing his reputation as the most complete defender. There is not a single aspect of defensive play that he is not good at. He can tackle anyone, chase almost any attacker, head everything away and on top of that he has excellent ball control as well, which enables him to come out on top in tricky situations. Although Brazil is known for its attacking artists, it is their top central defender and captain who could well prove to be the star.

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Conclusion

Hopefully you have enjoyed this list. If you feel any player has been missed out or you disagree with the ranking; feel free to let everyone know in the comments section below.

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