World Cup Predictions 2014: Predicting Best Performers on Day 4

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World Cup Predictions 2014: Predicting Best Performers on Day 4
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Group E is under the spotlight on Day 4 of the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Looking at the talent boasted by France, Ecuador, Honduras and Switzerland, expect a pair of forwards to earn plaudits.

The day's final game sees Argentina take on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite the presence of a quartet of star strikers, the battle between two mercurial playmakers will be fascinating.

Here are the players who will deliver their best on Day 4.

 

Josip Drmic, Striker, Switzerland

Josip Drmic may not be known to many, but the exciting young Bundesliga striker won't stay hidden for long. He has too much pace, guile and finishing quality for most defences to deal with.

The 21-year-old has been in prolific form at club level this season. He found the net 17 times in the Bundesliga for Nurnberg, per WhoScored.com.

Drmic is expected to be a key figure for the Swiss. He'll be tasked with leading his nation's attack, according to BBC Sport: "Josip Drmic is likely to play as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Fabian Schaer favourite to partner Steve von Bergen in central defence."

Expect Drmic to produce a strong performance and outshine Ecuador's exciting winger Jefferson Montero.

 

Olivier Giroud, Striker, France

Olivier Giroud is a striker who often divides opinion. He is a clever and stylish link player who creates plenty of scoring opportunities for teammates. However, the towering Arsenal centre-forward can be let down by erratic finishing. It takes a brave fan to completely trust Giroud to convert whenever he's in front of goal.

Yet, even with those issues, the ex-Montpellier man scored 22 goals this season, per Arsenal.comGiroud is a confidence player, and when his mood is right, he can score in clutches.

Harry Engels/Getty Images
The French need Olivier Giroud to be more consistent in front of goal.

He is likely to receive excellent support as the focal point of a three-pronged attack for France, per BBC Sport: "Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud is expected to start as the focal point in France's three-man attack, flanked by Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena."

Flanked by real quality, Giroud will find his way onto the scoresheet against Honduras.

 

Angel di Maria, Attacking Midfielder, Argentina

If marquee forwards such as Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain are going to flourish at this World Cup, they'll need consistent supply.

As one of the best creative players in the game, Real Madrid attacking midfielder Angel di Maria can provide it. Di Maria is a technical marvel, combining blistering pace with equal speed of thought.

Once he finds space, Di Maria is proficient at splitting defensive gaps and setting forwards free. He provided an eye-popping 22 assists in La Liga and UEFA Champions League action this season, per WhoScored.com.

He has rightly been identified as the vital figure for Argentina by ESPNFC.com writer Sam Kelly:

For Argentina, Di María is likely to play a very similar role to the one he's played for Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid side this season. Starting on the left of a three man midfield (with Javier Mascherano and, assuming full fitness, Fernando Gago as his probable partners), Di María will be charged with opening up play down the left flank and joining the attack when his side get the ball.

...

With Lionel Messi starting out on the right of Argentina's front three (Gonzalo Higuain will be the centre forward reference point, and Sergio Aguero slightly tucked in on the left), and likely to be double or triple-marked in all their matches, space will open in other areas -- precisely the areas Di Maria will be given the responsibility of attacking.

Di Maria's biggest challenge against Bosnia and Herzegovina will be besting AS Roma schemer Miralem Pjanic. The Bosnia pass master is a cultured provider, but he could struggle to exert the same influence as Di Maria, especially if Argentina dominate the game.

With Di Maria in rampant form early, that's just what the South Americans will do. He'll ensure the squad makes the most use of its awesome firepower and enjoys a comprehensive first-game win.

 

This trio are all set to play vital roles for their respective nations. They are each surrounded by complementary talent and positioned to deliver big performances in their opening matches.

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