Tracking Celtic Player Performance in the 2014 World Cup

Sean MartinContributor IJune 30, 2014

Tracking Celtic Player Performance in the 2014 World Cup

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    With France having secured their place in the quarter-finals at the expense of Nigeria, all four of Celtic's World Cup participants have been eliminated.

    They were the SPFL's only representatives, and their fortunes were mixed from the outset.

    Two reached the last 16 before departing, one fell at the group stage and the other didn't play at all.

    Here, using statistics compiled by Squawka, we take a look at how the Celtic players performed at the biggest competition in world football. 

Emilio Izaguirre (Honduras)

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    Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    Minutes played: 135 (two appearances) 

    Passing accuracy: 69 percent

    Defensive contributions: 8 (four clearances, one block, three interceptions)

    Offensive contributions: None (no assists or chances created)

    For both club and country, Emilio Izaguirre is a left-back.

    That's where the similarities end.

    At Celtic, Izaguirre enjoys almost constant freedom to overlap, get crosses in and join the attacking play.

    A product of being part of a dominant league-winning side, perhaps. In any case, under recently resigned Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez, he was part of an altogether more cynical style of play at the World Cup.

    It tells in his statistics.

    While Izaguirre was Celtic's most potent creative force domestically this season—registering 12 assists—his standout stats from Honduras' World Cup campaign were all defensive. 

Georgios Samaras (Greece)

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Minutes played: 398 (four appearances) 

    Passing accuracy: 78 percent

    Shots: 6 (two on target, four off)

    Goals: 1

    Offensive contributions: 8 (one assist, seven key passes)

    Strictly speaking, Georgios Samaras is no longer a Celtic player.

    Nevertheless, he is included here because he has yet to find a new club and was the only Scottish-based player to find the back of the net.

    As well as netting a last-minute winner from the penalty spot against the Ivory Coast to send Greece into the last 16, Samaras was the most creative player throughout the tournament for his side.

    He also won more aerial duels (15) than any of his teammates.

    The 29-year-old forward gained extra exposure after organising an offer for an 11-year-old Celtic fan from Northern Ireland, whom Samaras had pulled from the crowd to join in the team's title celebrations in May, to attend their match against Costa Rica in the last 16.

Fraser Forster (England)

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Minutes played: None

    It was always going to be difficult for the Celtic goalkeeper to displace Manchester City's Joe Hart as England's No. 1.

    In truth, he probably didn't do enough in the side's pre-tournament friendlies to even make it an issue.

    While he was arguably more deserving of a place in the starting line-up against Costa Rica than West Brom's Ben Foster, it simply wasn't to be for the man they call The Great Wall.

    He departed at the group stage having played precisely zero minutes. 

Efe Ambrose (Nigeria)

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Minutes played: 360 (four appearances) 

    Passing accuracy: 84 percent

    Defensive contributions: 29 (18 clearances, 11 interceptions)

    Offensive contributions: 6 (six chances created, no assists)

    Despite playing almost exclusively as a centre-back for Celtic, Efe Ambrose regularly plays right-back for Nigeria.

    It won't surprise any Hoops fans to know that he was more than comfortable offensively—creating several chances for his teammates and exiting the tournament with a dribbling accuracy of 75 percent

    Overall, the Nigerian can depart the World Cup with pride, having played every minute of his country's campaign.

     

    Twitter: @smarti51