Thursday, 12th June 2014 at 10:56 am
SPAIN | HOLLAND | CHILE | AUSTRALIA
Nickname: The Red Fury
Manager: Vicente del Bosque
Captain: Iker Casillas
FIFA ranking: 1
The defending champs have a squad so packed with artists it makes you green with envy. They press high, hog the ball and know how to win.
There is a huge Barca presence in the squad – and for the first time last season, teams found a way to stifle their play and counter against them.
Xavi, age 34: He’s got the experience to know that patience pays off. He’ll always get two or three chances per game to deliver that killer pass – but he only needs one.
2014 squad lowdown
Most capped: Iker Casillas, 153 caps
Top scorer: David Villa, 56 goals
Most represented club: Barcelona, 7 players
Likely formation: 4-3-3
Formation: 4-2-3-1 (4-3-3)
Playing style: Counter-attack
Strengths: Lethal finishers
Weaknesses: A new crop of inexperienced kids
Star man: Bayern blitzer Arjen Robben has a thing for the big stage
Formation: 3-4-1-2 (4-2-1-3, 4-3-3)
Playing style: Attacking
Strengths: Rip-roaring wingers
Weaknesses: Poor discipline
Star man: All-action megastar Arturo Vidal covers every blade of grass
Playing style: High-pressing
Strengths: Bundles of energy
Weaknesses: Changing tactics in-game
Star man: Aerial beast Tim Cahill is Australia’s all-time top scorer
For loads more World Cup gossip, exclusive interviews and expert predictions get this week’s Match of the Day magazine, in all good newsagents.