World Cup 2014: Predicted Starting Lineups for Each Team in Brazil

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2014

COSTA DO SAUIPE, BRAZIL - DECEMBER 06:  The World Cup trophy on stage before the Final Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil at Costa do Sauipe Resort on December 6, 2013 in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

You know the World Cup is just around the corner when you begin to seriously ponder what the starting line-ups might be for every team involved.

Each nation flying to Brazil will be going through their final preparations in training, tuning up their match sharpness in the warm-up games. But every player from every squad will be secretly battling to seal a place in the starting XI for their country’s first game of the tournament.

So with just a few days to go until the tournament kicks off in earnest, here’s a rundown of the projected starting line-ups for each of the 32 teams involved in what is set to be a gripping World Cup in Brazil.

Algeria Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKMohamed Zemmamouche
RBAIssa Mandi
CBCarl Medjani
CBMadjid Bougherra
LBFaouzi Ghoulam
RMSofiane Feghouli
CMMedhi Lacen
CMNabil Bentaleb
LMYacine Brahimi
CAMSaphir Taïder
STIslam Slimani
The Telegraph
Argentina Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKSergio Romero
RBPablo Zabaleta
CBFederico Fernandez
CBEzequiel Garay
LBMarcos Rojo
CDMJavier Mascherano
CMFernando Gago
CMAngel Di Maria
CFLionel Messi
STGonzalo Higuain
STSergio Aguero
The Telegraph
Australia Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKMathew Ryan
RBIvan Franjic
CBMatthew Spiranovic
CBRyan McGowan
LBJason Davidson
CDMMile Jedinak
CMMark Bresciano
CMMark Milligan
RMBen Halloran
LMTommy Oar
STTim Cahill
The Telegraph
Belgium Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKThibaut Courtois
RBToby Alderweireld
CBVincent Kompany
CBDaniel Van Buyten
LBJan Vertonghen
CDMAxel Witsel
CMSteven Defour
CMMarouane Fellaini
RWKevin Mirallas
LWEden Hazard
STRomelu Lukaku
The Telegraph
Bosnia & Herzegovina Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKAsmir Begovic
RBMensur Mujdza
CBEmir Spahic
CBErmin Bicakcic
LBSead Kolasinac
CDMSejad Salihovic
CDMMuhamed Besic
RMIzet Hajrovic
LMSenad Lulic
CAMMiralem Pjanic
STEdin Dzeko
The Telegraph
Brazil Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKJulio Caesar
RBDani Alves
CBThiago Silva
CBDavid Luiz
LBMarcelo
CDMLuis Gustavo
CDMPaulinho
CAMOscar
RWHulk
LWNeymar
STFred
The Telegraph
Cameroon Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKCharles Itandje
RBAurelien Chedjou
CBStephane Mbia
CBNicolas Nkoulou
LBBenoit Assou-Ekotto
CDMAlex Song
CMJoel Matip
CMJean Makoun
RWBenjamin Moukandjo
LWPierre Webo
STSamuel Eto'o
The Telegraph
Chile Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKClaudio Bravo
CBGonzalo Jara
CBGary Medel
CBJose Rojas
CDMArturo Vidal
CDMMarcelo Diaz
RMMauricio Isla
LMJean Beausejour
RWAlexis Sanchez
LWEduardo Vargas
STMauricio Pinilla
The Telegraph
Colombia Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKDavid Ospina
RBCamilo Zuniga
CBCristian Zapata
CBMario Yepes
LBPablo Armero
CDMAbel Aguilar
CDMFredy Guarin
RAMJuan Cuadrado
LAMJames Rodriguez
STJackson Martinez
STAdrian Ramos
The Telegraph
Costa Rica Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKKeylor Navas
CBJohnny Acosta
CBGiancarlo Gonzalez
CBMichael Umana
RWBChristian Gamboa
CDMCelso Borges
CDMYeltsin Tejeda
LWBJunior Diaz
CAMBryan Ruiz
CAMChristian Bolanos
STJoel Campbell
The Telegraph
Croatia Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKStipe Pletikosa
RBDarijo Srna
CBVedran Corluka
CBDejan Lovren
LBDanijel Pranjic
CMLuka Modric
CMIvan Rakitic
RAMIvan Perisic
CAMMateo Kovacic
LAMIvica Olic
STMario Mandzukic
The Telegraph
Ecuador Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKAlexander Dominguez
RBJuan Paredes
CBJorge Guagua
CBFrickson Erazo
LBWalter Ayovi
CDMSegundo Castillo
RMAntonio Valencia
CMChristian Noboa
CMFidel Martinez
LMJefferson Montero
STFelipe Caicedo
The Telegraph
England Projected Starting 11
PlayerPosition
GKJoe Hart
RBGlen Johnson
CBGary Cahill
CBPhil Jagielka
LBLeighton Baines
CDMSteven Gerrard
CDMJordan Henderson
RAMAdam Lallana
CAMWayne Rooney
LAMDanny Welbeck
STDaniel Sturridge
The Telegraph
France Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKHugo Lloris
RBMathieu Debuchy
CBRaphael Varane
CBMamadou Sakho
LBLucas Digne
CDMYohan Cabaye
CMPaul Pogba
CMBlaise Matuidi
RWMathieu Valbuena
LWFranck Ribéry
STKarim Benzema
The Telegraph
Germany Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKManuel Neuer
RBPhilipp Lahm
CBPer Mertesacker
CBMats Hummels
LBErik Durm
CDMBastian Schweinsteiger
CDM Sami Khedira
RAMThomas Mueller
CAMMesut Ozil
LAMMarco Reus
STMiroslav Klose
The Telegraph
Ghana Projected Staring 11
PositionPlayer
GKAdam Kwarasey
RBSamuel Inkoom
CBRashid Sumalia
CBJonathan Mensah
LBDaniel Opare
CDMMichael Essien
CDMSulley Muntari
RM Andre Ayew
CMKevin-Prince Boateng
LMKwadwo Asamoah
STAsamoah Gyan
The Telegraph
Greece Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKOrestis Karnezis
RBVasilis Torosidis
CBSokratis Papastathopoulos
CBKostas Manolas
LBJose Holebas
CDMAlexandros Tziolis
CDMGiannis Maniatis
RMDimitris Salpingidis
CMGiorgos Karagounis
LMGiorgos Samaras
STKostas Mitroglou
The Telegraph
Honduras Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKNoel Valladares
RBArnold Peralta
CBOsman Chavez
CBVictor Bernardez
LB Maynor Figueroa
RMOscar Boniek Garcia
CMWilson Palacios
CMRoger Espinoza
LMEmilio Izaguirre
STJerry Bengtson
STCarlo Costly
The Telegraph
Iran Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKRahman Ahmadi
RBPejman Montazeri
CBSteven Beitashour
CBMohammad Khanzadeh
LBHashem Beykzadeh
RMKhosrow Heidari
CMAndranik Teymourian
CMJavad Nekounam
LMEhsan Hajsafi
CAMAshkan Dejagah
STReza Ghoochannejhad
The Telegraph
Italy Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKGianluigi Buffon
RBIgnazio Abate
CBLeonardo Bonucci
CBGiorgio Chiellini
LBMattia De Sciglio
CDMAndrea Pirlo
CMMarco Verratti
CMDaniele De Rossi
CAMClaudio Marchisio
STMario Balotelli
STAntonio Cassano
The Telegraph
Ivory Coast Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKBoubacar Barry
RBSerge Aurier
CBKolo Toure
CBSouleyman Bamba
LBArthur Boka
CDMDidier Zokora
CDMCheick Tiote
CMYaya Toure
RWSalomon Kalou
LWGervinho
STDidier Drogba
The Telegraph
Japan Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKEiji Kawashima
RBAtsuto Uchida
CBMaya Yoshida
CBYasuyuki Konno
LBYuto Nagatomo
CDMYasuhito Endo
CDMMakoto Hasebe
RAMKeisuke Honda
CAMShinji Kagawa
LAMYoichiro Kakitani
STShinji Okazaki
The Telegraph
Mexico Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKGuillermo Ochoa
CBRafael Marquez
CBFrancisco Rodriguez
CBHector Moreno
RWBMiguel Layun
LWBAndres Guardado
CMHector Herrera
CMCarlos Pena
CMMarco Fabian
CFGiovani dos Santos
STOribe Peralta
The Telegraph
Netherlands Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayers
GKMichel Vorm
CBStefan de Vrij
CBRon Vlaar
CBBruno Martins Indi
RWBDaryl Janmaat
LWBDaley Blind
CMJordy Clasie
CMJonathan de Guzman
CMWesley Sneijder
STArjen Robben
STRobin van Persie
The Telegraph
Nigeria Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKVincent Enyeama
RBEfe Ambrose
CBGodfrey Oboabona
CBJoseph Yobo
LBElderson Echiejile
CDMOgenyi Onazi
CDMJohn Obi Mikel
RMVictor Moses
CMMichael Babatunde
LMAhmed Musa
STEmmanuel Emenike
The Telegraph
Portugal Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKRui Patricio
RBJoao Pereira
CBPepe
CBBruno Alves
LBFabio Coentrao
CDMWilliam Carvalho
CMJoao Moutinho
CMRaul Meireles
RWLuis Nani
LWCristiano Ronaldo
STHelder Postiga
The Telegraph
Russia Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKIgor Akinfeev
RBAndrey Eshchenko
CBVasili Berezutskiy
CBSergey Ignashevich
LBDmitry Kombarov
CDMIgor Denisov
CMRoman Shirokov
CMVictor Faizulin
RAMAlan Dzagoev
LAMAlexander Kokorin
STAlexander Kerzhakov
The Telegraph
South Korea Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKJung Sung-ryong
RBKim Chang-soo
CB Kim Young-gwon
CBKwak Tae-hwi
LBYun Suk-young
RMLee Chung-yong
CMKi Sung-yueng
CMPark Jong-woo
LMJi Dong-won
CAMSon Heung-min
STPark Chu-young
The Telegraph
Spain Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKIker Casillas
RBCesar Azpilicueta
CBGerard Pique
CBSergio Ramos
LBJordi Alba
CDMXabi Alonso
CDMSergio Busquets
CMXavi
RAMDavid Silva
LAMAndres Iniesta
CFCesc Fabregas
The Telegraph
Switzerland Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKDiego Benaglio
RBStephan Lichtsteiner
CBFabian Schaer
CBSteve von Bergen
LBRicardo Rodriguez
CDMGokhan Inler
CDMValon Behrami
RAMXherdan Shaqiri
CAMGranit Xhaka
LAMValentin Stocker
STJosip Drmic
The Telegraph
United States Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKTim Howard
RBGeoff Cameron
CBMatt Besler
CBJohn Brooks
LBTimmy Chandler
CDMMichael Bradley
RMGraham Zusi
LMFabian Johnson
CAMJermaine Jones
STJozy Altidore
STClint Dempsey
The Telegraph
Uruguay Projected Starting 11
PositionPlayer
GKFernando Muslera
RBMaximiliano Pereira
CBDiego Lugano
CBDiego Godin
LBMartin Caceres
RMChristian Stuani
CMNicolas Lodeiro
CMAlvaro Rios
LMCristian Rodriguez
STEdinson Cavani
STLuis Suarez
The Telegraph

 

Strongest XIs

The favourites for the competition are naturally the hosts, Brazil. When you take a look at their starting XI, it is easy to see why. There is so much experience, so much athleticism and so much quality in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team that it’s hard to see past a deep run in the tournament in front of their fervent supporters.

Brazil's defence will be vital to their chances.
Brazil's defence will be vital to their chances.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Quite remarkably for a Brazil team, the main strength looks to be in the defensive areas. In Marcelo and Dani Alves, the Brazilian team have two of the most vibrant full-backs on the planet, while Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Silva is arguably the best centre-back in world football at the moment.

Further forward, the creative burden looks likely to fall primarily on the shoulders of Chelsea playmaker Oscar, whilst Neymar will be tasked with adding a little stardust to proceedings. Of the two prodigious aforementioned attacking talents, BBC’s South American expert Tim Vickery thinks it’s the former who will be most vital to Brazilian hopes:

The holders Spain also boast a stunning array of talent in their likely starting line-up. For Vincent del Bosque’s team, the major question is whether they will use an orthodox forward or a false nine.

Cesc Fabregas has been used as a centre-forward regularly by the Spain manager, but Diego Costa is set to make his major tournament bow for La Roja this summer. The Atletico Madrid man enjoyed a wonderful campaign with the Spanish champions, but he has been suffering with fitness concerns of late.

You can see why Del Bosque will be desperate to have Costa fit when you compare him to Spain's other forward options:

Argentina will be hoping to win their first World Cup in 28 years when they take to the field on their home continent. They too have a stellar first XI, with a formidable forward foursome of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria.

You suspect Alejandro Sabella’s team will play to their strengths and look to outscore the opposition in Brazil, and the wealth of firepower they have at their disposal far surpasses that of any team in the competition.

Argentina have the best forwards in the competition.
Argentina have the best forwards in the competition.Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

Argentina have a nice balance in midfield too, with the legs of Fernando Gago and Javier Mascherano likely to provide an ample foil for the forwards. But the defence and goalkeeper can admittedly be gotten at. If someone like Messi does catch fire, however, the Albiceleste could be difficult to stop in Brazil.

Overall, the strongest first XI belongs to the holders, who will be going in search of their fourth consecutive major tournament win when they take to the field in South America.

But it’s not only the strength of their first team that makes this Spain outfit so formidable, it’s the riches they have in reserve, too. Del Bosque can call upon players like Pedro, Juan Mata, David Villa and Santi Cazorla if required, giving their bench just as intimidating an aura as the first team.

Spain's strength in depth will see them triumph again.
Spain's strength in depth will see them triumph again.Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Spain do have a difficult group—where they will be pitted against Chile, Netherlands and Australia—but some tough, yet winnable games there will see them battle-hardened for the latter stages of the tournament. Expect this wonderfully talented Spanish group to triumph in Brazil and in doing so, cement their legacy as the greatest international team of all time.