Eevee’s Dan Pritchard gives you the low-down on all the South American teams competing at this Summer’s World Cup…
After Eevee Life’s Olamide Adeotoye gave a brilliant insight into the African teams heading to brazil, here is a review of the teams from South America that will be on our screens this summer.
Head Coach: Alejandro Sabella
Nickname: La Albiceleste
Qualifying Position: 1st
Group: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria
Not only do Argentina have a relatively short journey to this Summer’s tournament, but they also boast arguably the best player in the world. Fortunately for the Argentinians, Messi has finally been taking his near impeccable form with Barcelona onto the international stage – and the timing couldn’t be better.
However, Messi is just one of an attacking line up that includes Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria. The uncertain defence will be named as their main weakness and it’s hard to disagree. Still, with the attacking prowess that they boast it’s going to be more of a case of “anything you can do” rather than simply parking the bus.
Head Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari
Nickname: A Selecao
Qualifying Position: Hosts
Group: Cameroon, Croatia, Mexico
What more do you need to know about Brazil other than they’re the hosts – oh, and they have Neymar. It’s the latter that holds the weight of almost 200 million people on his shoulders. His impressive form in the first half of the season, after signing for Barcelona, had many whispering about the fact they’d found the successor to Pele, but after the true figures of his transfer were released, he has suffered a drop in both form and confidence. A trip back to home might be the right medicine and give the youngster a platform to show the world what he has to offer.
He also won’t be the only recognisable face heading back to Brazil. David Luiz and Oscar (both of Chelsea), and Tottenham’s Paulinho are among the many Brazilians heading home once the final game of the premier league season is over
Nevertheless, it is the home support which will be the most dangerous weapon at Brazil’s disposal – as demonstrated in the Confederations cup in which Brazil swept aside everybody, including world conquerors Spain, to show everybody they’re ready and waiting for the World Cup.
Head Coach: Jorge Sampaoli
Nickname: la Roja
Qualifying Position: 3rd
Group: Australia, Netherlands, Spain
Many England fans have already seen the damage that Chile can inflict, and back in a more recognisable climate and surroundings they definitely won’t be pushovers. With an excellent end to their qualifying campaign, in which they won 5 out of 6 games, the confidence will be flowing within this attack minded team.
The likes of Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez and Juventus’ midfield engine, Arturo Vidal in the ranks, this definitely isn’t a team to be taken lightly. However they do share the common South American problem of a lacklustre defence.
Head Coach: Jose Pekerman
Nickname: Los Cafeteros
Qualifying Position: 2nd
Group: Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
After an eventful qualifying campaign in which a change of managers saw a change of fortune, the Colombian national team are well on course to announce themselves on the biggest stage. Unlike the rest of the south American teams, Colombia are one who have managed a good balance between attack and defence – with nobody conceding less than the 13 conceded in the qualifying group
The attack can boast a plethora of attack minded players, including James Rodriguez (Monaco) and Freddy Guarin (Inter Milan) both of whom have established themselves as first team players. However, an injury to their talisman, Radamael Falcao, will surely harm their fight for world cup glory. It will be a race against time to get one of the most prolific strikers on the planet back in time and ready to play. If achieved, Colombia will be more than able to throw a spanner in the works.
Head Coach: Reinaldo Rueda
Nickname: La Tricolor
Qualifying Position: 4th
Group: France, Honduras, Switzerland
Ecuador, probably the least known team from the continent, will be looking to use the lack of knowledge to spring a few surprise on their competitors. They managed to pip Uruguay to the 1st place spot in their group due to their superior goal difference. This is only down to their near perfect record at home, which includes winning every game bar a draw against Argentina. Compare this to their away form of not a single win and starts looking bleak for the Ecuadorians.
Hopefully the familiar face of Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) will be able to turn around their away form. With the help of the powerful striker, Felipe Caicedo (formerly of Manchester city), they may just give other teams a rude awakening.
Head coach: Oscar Washington Tabarez
Nickname: La Celeste
Qualifying Position: 5th
Group: Costa Rica, England, Italy
As stated, Uruguay only managed a second place finish from their qualifying group – which was far from what was expected from a team that managed a 4th place finish back at the south African world cup in 2010 and triumphed at the Copa America in 2012.
Their recent pedigree for success at big competitions means there is going to be a lot of pressure placed upon the Uruguayans, and especially their standard bearers of Edison Cavani (Paris-Saint-Germain) and Luis Suarez (Liverpool) – with Suarez managing to be the highest scorer from the continent with 11 goals. The shame for this attacking duo will be the ageing defence, which includes Diego Lugano (West Bromich Albion) who – as any Premier League fan will tell you – is constant liability, and Uruguay’s goalkeeper, Fernando Muslera (Galatasary) who tends to be a bit hit or miss on occasions.