There are 9 months left until the biggest event each four years in football begin: The FIFA World Cup. The tournament from June to July will be held in Brazil and 32 teams will participate. Every team can call up a squad of 23-players, so the fight for a place in the national team has already begun for the players, before the qualification for the World Cup have even finished.
In June this year, when the Confederations Cup 2013 started, I felt strange when I saw the squad of the Brazilian national team: Two Chelsea players were included to that squad. But wait, shouldn’t there be three players from our club in the Brazilian squad? I was very surprised when I found out that Ramires was dropped and even more when I didn’t find anything about an injury or so.
In the pursuit for the signing of Wayne Rooney this summer, Mourinho brought up a very clever and interesting argument why Rooney should have joined Chelsea: Moyes didn’t make a smart move when he claimed that Rooney will be the second-choice striker to Robin van Persie. Mourinho said: ‘For a player to be selected for his country, normally he must be first choice at his club.’ I don’t think that a player with Rooney’s quality would have been dropped from England’s squad even if he didn’t play that much this season, but Mourinho’s mind-games definitely let Rooney have a thought about his situation at Manchester United.
So, which players here at Chelsea must really impress their national coaches this season to avoid a drop? Here, I only included 4 players I think are the most on the brink to be included or dropped from the squad of their country.
Ramires: It was a huge surprise and disappointment for Ramires when it was announced that Scolari didn’t include Ramires and other big-name players to the Brazilian squad for the Confederations Cup, a tournament, which Brazil won impressively by trashing Spain in the final with 3:0.
It didn’t get easier for Ramires as Paulinho, Luiz Gustavo and Hernanes could all impress Scolari at the ConfedCup on the central-midfield position. And there is a huge competition amongst Brazilians because every player wants to have the opportunity to shine in front of their own crowd and country, so does Ramires.
A major advantage for Ramires is his flexibility that he can offer Scolari as he plays on the wings too, but I have to say that Ramires isn’t a strong player on the wing at all although he was used quite often there. His strongest position is the central-midfield because of his incredible stamina and strength in box-to-box plays.
Mourinho seems to have high trust in Ramires for this season as the Brazilian played the whole 90-minutes in the first four games of the new Premier League season.
Torres: The Spaniard has a difficult year ahead of himself. He may be relieved that Mourinho neither landed Cavani nor Rooney. However, Eto’o will bring competition too and could push Torres to a certain limit.
The recent snub for the World Cup qualifiers against Finland wasn’t the first time that Del Bosque looked for other strikers than Torres. He may as well snub Torres for the World Cup next year if he can’t improve his goal-tally and play too inconsistent with huge goal-droughts.
His competitors, Negredo, Villa and Soldado, all changed their clubs this summer and this might add extra pressure, of course if they can make an impact at their new club. Negredo and Soldado went to England and David Villa stayed in Spain to join Athletico Madrid to get more playing-time that he would have got at Barcelona.
Del Bosque could also play without a real striker and put Fabregas as forward like he did several times, not necessarily a good sign for ‘El Nino’.
Willian: As Ramires, Willian has to impress Scolari to get a spot for Brazil at the WC in his own country. However, it will get even more difficult for him to join the ‘Selecao’ as he has only played two games in 2011 for Brazil until now.
Neymar’s spot in the first-11 could only be taken by an injury as the new Barcelona signing represents the hope of the whole nation. If Willian wants to try for a role through the middle, teammate Oscar will stand in his way. Hulk on the right flank has, as Neymar, nearly a secured place in the starting-eleven. Getting a place in the starting is nearly impossible for Willian.
However, Willian’s decision to join Chelsea in the Premier League should be a first sign to Scolari that he wants a place in the World Cup squad, he could continue to catch Scolari’s attention with a strong season.
Schürrle: The Germans are huge title-favorites for the World Cup 2014 as Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund both showed their strength against the Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final last season, making it an all-German final at the Wembley stadium.
Schürrle established himself as a player of the German national team with 26 games for his country already. Things are looking very good for Schürrle in case of a place for the World Cup 2014. Mourinho also shows confidence in our new signing.
However, Schürrle could sit on the bench for the next few weeks as fast as he gained his place in the starting eleven. Signing Willian and Eto’o create new competition, and with Mata slowly returning from his break Mourinho given to him because of the bad fitness, Schürrle might sit more often on the bench the next few weeks.
I don’t think Löw will drop Schürrle as he has already often played with him, but the competition in the German national team is really high. Götze, Müller, Podolski, Kroos, Draxler, Özil or Reus; the attacking midfield is brilliantly covered and it will be difficult for Löw to choose a balanced squad, and he might drop Schürrle from the WC squad if he looks at the other names.
Which players do you think will also struggle for a place at the World Cup with their country likely to qualify/already qualified? Jonny (@jonny9fan)