Ranking the Chelsea Players on Their Likely World Cup Impact

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2014

Ranking the Chelsea Players on Their Likely World Cup Impact

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    The deadline for all 32 teams at this summer's World Cup in Brazil to name their provisional 30-man squads is this Tuesday, May 13.

    Four weeks later on June 2 those squads will need to be reduced to 23 players, with some stars suffering the heartbreak of missing out on the biggest event in the football calender.

    Of Chelsea's current first-team squad, around 11 players are expected to be traveling to South America this summer, with David Luiz, Oscar, Willian and Ramires already confirmed in Luis Felipe Scolari's Brazil squad.

    The other players predicted to join them are Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill, Andre Schurrle, Cesar Azpilicueta, Samuel Eto'o, John Obi Mikel and Eden Hazard.

    But who will shine brightest and make an even bigger name for himself?

    Bleacher Report ranks the likely World Cup impact of those Chelsea players we expect to see in Brazil.

11. Frank Lampard

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    Similarly to Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard's aging years mean the Chelsea midfielder will be used more on the substitutes bench at the World Cup.

    This summer's tournament is being billed as one of development for Roy Hodgson and England, with the Three Lions' boss looking to blood some younger players with the view to major tournaments in years to come.

    There's a debate as to whether Lampard will even make the plane, especially with the likes of Adam Lallana coming through recently and appearing to be ahead of him in the pecking order.

    Lampard is an experienced head, however, so that alone may be enough to sway Hodgson in his decision making.

    Despite featuring at two World Cups with England—and scoring that disallowed goal against Germany in South Africa four years ago—Lampard has never officially found the back of the net in the tournament.

    With limited game time in Brazil, the 35-year-old may find his goal return just as frustrating.

10. Andre Schurrle

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    It says much for the strength of German football that a player of Andre Schurrle's talents may struggle to be a regular at this summer's World Cup.

    With so much attacking talent, the likes of Mesut Ozil and Marco Reus will be expected to start ahead of Schurrle, with cameo appearances from the bench his best opportunity to impress.

    Schurrle did score a hat-trick against Sweden last October, showing his international pedigree, but this could be a competition that has come too soon for him.

    At 23 years old, he has at least two more World Cups in him, so Brazil 2014 is looking more like an opportunity to gain experience before making a bigger impression in Russia in four years' time.

9. Willian

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    Having spent six years in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk, Willian has had to be patient for his chance in the Brazil setup.

    It's taken his move to Chelsea last summer, where he has impressed considerably, for his national team to take him seriously, with Willian forcing his way into Luis Felipe Scolari's World Cup plans.

    Willian is in the 23-man squad, but he isn't going to be a first-choice player.

    He will need to rely on injuries and suspensions for his chance, but the further Brazil go in the competition, the less likely Scolari is to change a winning formula.

    A regular at Stamford Bridge, Willian will need to be patient this summer and even that might not prove enough.

8. Cesar Azpilicueta

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    Cesar Azpilicueta made it into Spain's 30-man squad ahead of the 2010 World Cup, but he was eventually given the chop when Vicente del Bosque named his 23 players who would go on to lift the famous trophy.

    It will be different this time out, especially after the excellent season Azpilicueta has enjoyed at Stamford Bridge.

    Azpilicueta was a part of Spain's Confederations Cup team last summer—an experience that will ensure he is well prepared for all that Brazil has to offer.

    Again, like his teammates we have already discussed, the impact Azpilicueta makes in South America will be largely dented by the time he has on the pitch.

    The Spanish back line has long been established, with Jordi Alba and Alvaro Arbeloa strong candidates for the wide berths.

    Ateltico Madrid's Juanfran is another contender, too, so Azpilicueta has his work cut out to make it among the starters.

7. Samuel Eto'o

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    Samuel Eto'o has shown at various times this season that he remains capable of producing the goods.

    He's done it a little too inconsistently, though, a fact outlining his waning powers.

    At his last World Cup for his country, do not write him off just yet, however.

    There haven't been many players better at arriving on the biggest stage to cause an upset in recent years and when it comes to Cameroon, Eto'o has often been the man to do it for them.

    This team is still very much about him and that alone could spell trouble for Mexico, Croatia and Brazil, who they face in Group A.

6. John Obi Mikel

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    Seeing John Obi Mikel on international duty with Nigeria must make his performances all the more frustrating for Chelsea fans.

    The 26-year-old has rarely lit up Stamford Bridge during his eight years with the Blues, yet put him in the green of Nigeria and it's a different story.

    Mikel has been the talisman for the Super Eagles for some time and we can expect much of the same in Brazil.

    If Nigeria negotiate safe passage from Group F, he may well have more suitors this summer if Chelsea decide to sell him on.

5. Ramires

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    Everyone is expecting big things from Brazil at this World Cup.

    Playing on home soil for the first time since 1950, the Samba Boys will have the support of a football-mad country behind them.

    In the unlikely event they're found to be lacking a little inspiration, Ramires is a player more than capable of bringing it.

    He is athletic with a tireless work rate, not to mention having a knack for arriving at the right time to score vital goals. Chelsea fans need only point to his strike against Barcelona in the 2012 Champions League semi-final for evidence on that front.

    He will enter the World Cup on the back of an indifferent season by his own standards, though. Has that had anything to do with a home World Cup being on the horizon? We've seen it before, yet for his struggles this term, expect Ramires to come alive on the big occasion.

4. Gary Cahill

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    Since joining Chelsea in January 2012, Gary Cahill has blossomed into one of his country's best defenders.

    When England travel to Brazil, the Chelsea centre-back is going to be a significant figure for Roy Hodgson.

    Should he have a good competition, England may go further than many are predicting.

    It says a lot that England's hopes are more focused on what their back line can offer, but in Cahill they have a man at the peak of his powers and his form this season has been an indication of how important he is going to be.

    Expect big things.

3. David Luiz

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    At the Confederations Cup last summer, David Luiz had the look of a man possessed—a man overtaken by the sense of occasion of playing such a significant competition in his homeland.

    It was a great taster for what to expect this summer and with the World Cup replacing the Confederations Cup that precedes it every year, we can expect David Luiz to crank it up somewhat.

    His partnership with Thiago Silva has been excellent and continues to flourish into one of the strongest we're going to see at this World Cup.

    If his form is repeated from last year, David Luiz's impact on Brazil's fortunes will be considerable.

2. Oscar

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    Chelsea fans are wondering where Oscar has been these past few weeks.

    The Brazilian has been regularly turning out for Jose Mourinho's side, but he has been missing.

    When the World Cup kicks off on June 12 with Brazil's match against Croatia, we can expect a renaissance of sorts.

    Oscar is one of Brazil's most vital talents and for all the ability he has, there's no way he is going to allow his form to suffer on the greatest stage of them all.

    Luis Felipe Scolari needs the likes of Oscar to be firing come the World Cup and if the Chelsea midfielder is, this summer could be all about him.

1. Eden Hazard

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    The 2013-14 season at Chelsea has been all about Eden Hazard. If he repeats his form for the Blues in Brazil, the World Cup could be all about him, too.

    Belgium have a wonderful group of players right now, their very own Golden Age, and Hazard is at the forefront of it.

    He is a majestic talent and with an opportunity to impress for his country with the whole world watching, it's difficult to imagine him not rising to the occasion in the way he does every week at Stamford Bridge.

    Belgium are going to have a major say in deciding where the World Cup trophy resides come July 12. For some, they are among the favorites to go all the way.

    That remains a big ask, especially as the Rode Duivels haven't competed at a World Cup since 2002.

    Hazard was aged 11 back then and now he is giving his country a significant chance to ruffle the feathers of football's traditional giants.


    Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes