Olympic Soccer Draw: 50 Players We Can't Wait to See in London

Peter WebsterContributor IIIApril 24, 2012

Olympic Soccer Draw: 50 Players We Can't Wait to See in London

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    The 2012 London Olympics soccer draw has set the field, but the rosters are yet uncertain. We know who we'd like to see playing, though.

    So, with a little realistic speculation about who will play, it's not too early to present 50 players who will be most worth watching in the men's and women's tournaments.

    Additionally, here is Bleacher Report's overall analysis of the Olympic tournament on the heels of today’s draw. This is where you can find more detailed information on Group A, Group B, Group C and Group D. And here is our breakdown of the Group of Death.

David De Gea

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    With Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina fighting for the No. 1 goalkeeping spot on the Spanish national team, David De Gea will have to make do with being the first choice Spanish Olympian goalkeeper.

    De Gea seems to have finally overcome his Manchester United demons, but London 2012 will provide a sterner test of his nerve.

Hector Herrera

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    Hector Herrera was relatively unknown in Europe until he was linked with a move to Liverpool FC recently.

    The young winger is an exciting prospect for the Mexican side and is good friends with Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez.

Abby Wambach

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    USA's Abby Wambach should be moderately happy with their draw for the Olympics.

    The USWNT will face France, Colombia and North Korea in their group stages.

David Beckham

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    It just wouldn't be a major tournament unless David Beckham had some involvement.

    Beckham is set to feature as one of Great Britain's over-age players and has been an excellent ambassador in getting the Olympics recognized in London.

    Beckham has seen it all, done it all and won it all—almost. An Olympic gold medal might make up for a lifetime of misery with the English national side.

    .

Marco Fabian

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    Chivas striker Marco Fabian isn't guaranteed to be travelling to the Olympics, despite his contribution in getting Mexico qualified.

    Due to the age restrictions in place for participating teams, Javier Hernandez, Giovanni Dos Santos, Alan Pulido and Marco Fabian are all vying for the three spots for players over 23 years of age, which means someone will have to miss out.

    Let's hope Fabian isn't the one who stays at home when he can score goals such as the one above.

David Teixera

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    Uruguay will be hoping striker David Teixera can take his shooting boots to London in the summer.

    Teixera has managed three goals in six games for the Uruguay U20 side.

Hope Solo

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    USA goalkeeper Hope Solo will have to be at her best in the group stages.

    The shot-stopper will probably be facing the likes of Marie-Laure Delie of France, Ra Un-Sim of Korea and Lady Andrade of Colombia.

Neymar

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    Neymar is perhaps the most exciting attacking player on show in the Olympic tournament—if not the world.

    With Barcelona reportedly chasing his signature, the 2012 Olympics gives the Brazilian the opportunity to announce himself on the world stage and increase his European stock.

    Look for plenty of tricks.

Natalia Gaitan

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    Natalia Gaitan is a stalwart of the Colombian defense who will be tested to the limit in the group stages after her team was placed in the same group as USA.

Iker Muniain

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    Iker Muniain can probably consider himself one of Spain's surprise packages in terms of his advancements in the sport this season.

    The Athletic Bilbao forward has been linked to Manchester United in a £29.5 million move.

Leandro Damiao

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    Leandro Damiao is another Brazilian who is as highly rated and sought after as Neymar.

    Tottenham Hotspur are thought to have failed in a bid for the player back in January, whilst cash-rich Paris St Germain are also set to throw their hat into the ring.

    Damiao currently plays for Brazilian side Internacional.

Alex Morgan

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    Alex Morgan is the prolific US striker who plies her trade domestically for the Seattle Sounders women.

    Morgan has notched 22 goals in 38 international appearances for the USA.

    A hot tip for the golden boot, perhaps?

Gareth Bale

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    Welsh-born winger Gareth Bale is one of Great Britain's star prospects for the tournament, having accepted the position despite the vocal disapproval of the Welsh FA.

    Blistering speed is what you can expect from the Tottenham winger.

Ganso

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    This Santos midfielder was on Harry Redknapp's shopping list back in January—a list that seemed to feature a number of young Brazilians.

    Ganso is a superb player who has earned himself eight caps for the Brazilian national side.

Alex Scott

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    The Great Britain women will be pretty happy after the group draw was made.

    Team GB will face New Zealand, Cameroon and Brazil, with the latter the most worthy opponent.

    Defender Alex Scott will have to be at her best against Brazilian forward Marta—probably the best women's player ever.

Oriol Romeu

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    Oriol Romeu had been quietly going about his business for Chelsea FC until the sacking of Andres Villas-Boas.

    The introduction of Roberto Di Matteo at the helm has resulted in a setback in pitch time for the former Barcelona player.

    Spain will be hoping he can live up to expectations.

Lucas Moura

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    Inter Milan, Chelsea and Manchester United are all reported to be chasing Brazilian international Lucas Moura, according to his agent.

    Lucas has already won 11 full caps, despite only being 19 years of age.

Jack Rodwell

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    Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell has barely featured for the Toffees this season after suffering plenty of injury setbacks.

    His latest—a hamstring injury—will hopefully give the England starlet plenty of time to recover in order to make a challenge for Stuart Pearce's Great Britain squad.

Fara Williams

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    Fara Williams is one of the more experienced players in the women's GB team, having won over 100 caps so far.

    Youth and experience is an essential blend for any major tournament success.

Ryan Giggs

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    Ryan Giggs is still wowing the Premier League at the grand old age of 38, and despite being retired from international duty for a number of years, he may yet feature in the Olympics as one of Great Britain's over-age players.

    Giggs is the most decorated footballer in England. Who better to lead a team of youngsters?

Marie-Laure Delie

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    Marie-Laure Delie is the French women's most dangerous weapon.

    The 24-year-old has scored 33 goals in 38 international appearances for Les Bleues.

    Delie vs. Solo will be a cat-and-mouse affair.

Xherdan Shaqiri

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    Swiss winger/midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri was being chased by a number of clubs throughout last summer and January.

    Shaqiri is another player with blistering pace that could potentially light up the tournament.

    Bayern Munich moved to secure his services in February.

Diego Polenta

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    Diego Polenta is currently playing on loan at Serie B side Bari in order to gain some match experience.

    The 20-year-old is a huge prospect for Genoa and Uruguay.

Caroline Seger

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    Caroline Seger of Sweden will be facing the likes of Japan, Canada and South Africa in her group stages.

    The 27-year-old midfielder will have to call upon every ounce of experience from her 81 internationals if Sweden are to progress.

Sebastian Coates

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    With Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel fighting to keep Jamie Carragher out of Liverpool's starting XI, Sebastian Coates has been a relative passenger in his Premier League debut season.

    With Liverpool supporters still keen to see what all the fuss is about, look for Coates to try and prove his worth to both club and country.

Ander Herrera

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    Ander Herrera is currently the subject of transfer speculation between both Manchester United and Manchester City.

    The Athletic Bilbao midfielder has drawn comparisons to Steven Gerrard and is valued at approximately £16 million.

    The 2012 Olympics gives him the chance to show he is worth it—if selected for Spain.

Lotta Schelin

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    Lotta Schelin should perhaps go by the name Lotta Caps after she won her 100th for Sweden earlier in the year.

    Schelin is an adaptable striker who is capable of playing out on the wing.

Cristian Tello

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    Another young Spanish player that has been subject of transfer speculation is Cristian Tello.

    Liverpool are rumoured to want the player, who is known for his electrifying pace.

    Spain just seem to brim with talent.

Philippe Senderos

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    The 6'3" Phillipe Senderos will have his work cut out keeping up with the likes of the aforementioned Javier Hernandez, Hector Herrera and Marco Fabian of Mexico.

    The Swiss international will have to bring his best if Switzerland are to survive the groups.

Nahomi Kawasumi

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    Nahomi Kawasumi is perhaps best known for her 35-yard lob against Sweden in the 2011 World Cup.

    With Japan paired against Sweden in the group stages of the Olympics, Kawasumi will be cleaning her boots with glee.

Javier Hernandez

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    Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez is set to battle it out with a few other Mexican forwards in order to earn himself a place on the Olympic squad.

    Hernandez has managed 10 goals in the Premier League this season.

Adel Taarabt

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    Adel Taarabt is one of those players who could do anything at anytime.

    The Morocco and Queens Park Rangers midfielder is slightly enigmatic to say the least, leading to spectacular moments of skill followed by rash sendings-off.

    Expect the unexpected.

Aya Miyama

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    Aya Miyama is the linchpin of the Japanese women's team.

    With over 110 caps to her name, Miyama can handle anything on the pitch.

Marc Albrighton

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    Marc Albrighton hasn't enjoyed the best season with his club Aston Villa, but he possesses plenty of individual ability that could see him feature for the team GB side.

Sonia Bompastor

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    Lillian Thuram earned himself 142 international caps with France.

    Sonia Bompastor has earned 147 and counting. What more needs to be said?

Homare Sawa

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    Homare Sawa will set a record if she competes in London 2012.

    Sawa is set to become the first Japanese women's player to feature in four Olympic tournaments.

Marta

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    Marta is probably the greatest women's football player that has ever lived.

    With 80 international goals in just 72 international appearances, Marta will be making the defenders of Cameroon, New Zealand and Great Britain quiver with fright.

    Marta is a five-time world player of the year.

Fraizer Campbell

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    Fraizer Campbell has recently returned to fitness following a long-term injury.

    The former Manchester United forward will be hoping to test himself against the likes of Senegal, UAE and Uruguay's defenders in the group stages.

Cesar Azpilicueta

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    The 22-year-old Cesar Azpilicueta is already playing in one of Europe's top divisions as Marseille currently sit in mid-table of Ligue Une in France.

    The Spanish youngster will be hoping to show that La Liga side Osasuna made a mistake in selling him back in 2010.

Ryo Miyaichi

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    Japanese winger Ryo Miyaichi, who plays for Bolton (on loan from Arsenal), is one of the fastest players that could feature in the London Olympics, and I'm not just talking about in the football sense.

    Ryo—as he prefers to be known—has insane pace and energy that could unsettle some of the sprinters on show in London.

Cristiane

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    The only thing that makes Marta more scary is her attacking counterpart Cristiane.

    Cristiane has scored 31 goals in 45 international appearances, not to mention the number of assists she provides the team.

    Brazil's attack—as always—is frightening.

Jordan Rhodes

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    Jordan Rhodes doesn't even play in England's top division, but the Huddersfield Town striker has certainly turned heads with his club performances.

    Rhodes was called up to the Scotland national team last year and is sure to be the subject of a transfer bid from someone in the summer.

Christine Sinclair

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    Christine Sinclair scored nine goals in qualification for the CONCACAF campaign, finishing as top scorer along the way by a comfortable three-goal margin to her nearest rivals.

    With Canada paired with Japan, Sweden and South Africa, Sinclair will have some of the women's stricter defenses to deal with.

Tommy Smith

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    Tommy Smith graduated from the Ipswich Town academy and still plays for their first team to this day.

    Smith is a solid left-sided defender who will see this tournament as an opportunity to shine for his national side, New Zealand.

Diego Reyes

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    In no way related to Juan Antonio Reyes, Diego is a 19-year-old Mexican defender who currently plays for club team Club America.

    Reyes was part of the U20 team that won the CONCACAF Championship in 2011.

Shuichi Gonda

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    Shuichi Gonda will have to be at his very best if he expects to keep clean sheets in the group stages.

    Pitted against the World and European Champions Spain, Gonda will be kept sharp.

Valentin Stocker

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    Valentin Stocker is a left-sided winger for Switzerland and FC Basel.

    The 23-year-old has scored three goals in nine international appearances for the Swiss.

Egor Filipenko

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    Egor Filipenko is expected to be a busy man if he is selected to play at the heart of the Belarusian Olympic team.

    Belarus have the unenviable task of facing Brazil, Egypt and New Zealand in the group stages.

Maurine

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    Maurine may not be as much of a household name as Marta and Cristiane in women's Brazilian football, but she is improving all the time.

    With 48 caps to her name now, Maurine has the left-back spot all sewn up.

Christie Rampone

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    The London 2012 Olympics could be the farewell tournament for Christie Rampone should she feature for the USA.

    With an incredible 256 caps to her name, the 36-year-old central defender has a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer.

    Let's hope she bows out in style.

     

    The London 2012 Olympic football tournament runs from 26 July-11 August, with the women's competition running 25 July-9 August.

    For a full list of the men and women's group stage draws, visit BBC.co.uk.

    All statistics are courtesy of FIFA.com and Wikipedia.com.

    On Twitter? Follow me @petercwebster where I post all my B/R content.