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Ten Latin American Soccer Players to Have The Strongest Impact in Russia 2018 World Cup

Ten Latin American Soccer Players to Have The Strongest Impact in Russia 2018 World Cup

Posted by Miguel Ernesto on March 15, 2018

Eight Latin American teams will fight for the Soccer World Cup, to be hosted by Russia. One of them, Brazil, has played in all the editions of the event and it is the team which has won more titles, five; Argentine and Uruguay have won two titles, while Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Costa Rica have never reached a semifinal and Panama will have its debut this year. In the long list of world soccer legends there are several Latin Americans, going from the big Pelé, who obtained three titles; Diego Armando Maradona, owner of a magical left leg with which he made unforgettable moments; and Ronaldo, second best scorer in history; till the formidable Peruvian Teófilo Cubillas, author of ten goals.

Latin America and Europe have kept a strong rivalry for maintaining the cups in their continents; however, in the last editions there has been a well-defined trend to go to the so called Old Continent, because since 1990 to the moment, in five occasions European selections have lifted the cup: Germany (1990 and 2014), Italy (2006), France (1998) and Spain (2010); meanwhile, only Brazil (1994 and 2002) has broken the supremacy.

What would happen in Russia 2018 World Cup? Two Latin American teams, Brazil and Argentine, are considered to be among the favorites to fight for the title and in another group where Colombia and Uruguay are, there are also real possibilities to be included in the eight best. Soccer, as we know, is a collective sport, but individualities are the ones who decide in the matches. Which are the Latin American players who will impress the most in the coming cup? PanamericanWorld proposes to get closer to ten stars of our area that will have in their legs the future of their teams in Russia 2018. 

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

The world´s best soccer player knows that this could be his last real chance of having in his brilliant history the so beloved title of world champion. He has participated in three world cups (2006, 2010 y 2014) and he has scored five goals all in all; although only in Brazil he could show part of his beautiful way to play. “La Pulga” had his debut in Germany 2008 World Cup, but he was regular in only one match, under the direction of José Pékerman. In that cup, he scored once playing versus Serbia and Montenegro. Four years later, Maradona trusted him more and always put him to play as regular; however, he could not score even one goal and Argentine was humiliated by Germany in quarter finals (4-0). In Brazil World Cup, Messi was the big star in the Argentinian selection and FIFA granted him The Golden Ball of that cup, maybe the most polemic prize he has received in his successful career. What has the fate reserved for Messi in Russia 2018? 

Neymar (Brazil)

Not a few Brazilians requested the ex-trainer, Dunga, to include the youngest star in the list for South Africa 2010 World Cup; however, the always conservative technical director did not listen to the people´s claims and left Neymar out. That is why; the debut of the talented player in world cups was first shown to his public in 2014. The event started the best possible way for Ney, but ended up the worst possible way. The Brazilian scored four goals and had a service; but he could not help his team anymore, because in quarter finals he had a strong collision with the Colombian Camilo Zuñiga and the injury put him out of the event.

Luis Suárez (Uruguay)

The history of this formidable forward in the world cups has been very polemic. He scored three goals in South Africa 2010 and serviced the ball twice; although, probably, his most remembered moment in that appointment was not precisely about his feet, but about his hands in the last minutes of the quarter finals match versus Ghana, when the head stroke of Dominic Adiyiah was going straight to become a goal. Suarez was the last player in the line and he decided to stop the ball with his hands, as the last possible resource to avoid it to score. The referee, of course, sent the player out and shouted penalty; but the African failed to shoot and sometime later, the Uruguayans were luckier in the penalties so they went into semifinals. Later, in Brazil 2014, Suarez was essential in his team´s victory versus England, scoring two goals; however, the final match in that cup was terrible because when playing versus Italy, he bit Giorgio Chiellini and that provoked that FIFA fired him from the Cup. Now Suarez seems to be a more mature player and Uruguay will need that this center forward arrives in Russia in the best physical and mental conditions.

James Rodríguez (Colombia)

This Colombian´s career had an after and a before the 2014 Brazil World Cup. In that cup Rodriguez showed a formidable way to play and he got the Bota de Oro prize (Golden Shoe) because he became the most scorer of the cup. Many things changed for him after that: he signed a contract of millions with Real Madrid and after that he was transferred to Bayern de Munich. Colombia keeps the fingers crossed so its best soccer player gets to Russia in the best of the shapes.

Sergio “Kun” Agüero (Argentina)

Agüero has been brilliant in Manchester City Club, where he has scored more than 200 goals; however, he has not been able to shout a goal in his two opportunities in world cups. He played three matches in South Africa, and five in Brazil, without goals or services. Now, having Jorge Sampaoli as Technical Director, he could be in the regular team.

Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)

This is going to be the first World Cup for one of the best soccer players at the moment. Barcelona paid a big fortune to get him come from Liverpool and, undoubtedly, Coutinho will be among the regulars Tite will have in Russia. Notwithstanding, he will have much to demonstrate , because his performances cannot be classified as outstanding so far in “La Canariha”, in Cup of America 2015, and Cup of America Centennial in 2016, with the exception of the hat-trick which scored versus Haiti.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (Mexico)

This Mexican will take part in his third World Cup and, for sure, like the million fans of the Mexican Team, he will try to reach the hard-to-get fifth match, that is to say, enter the quarter finals. Since 1986, the Mexican team does not happen to get into the eight best of a World Cup. “Chicharito” was in South Africa 2010, where he scored twice in four matches, later on, in Brazil 2014; his performance was a little more discreet, because he only scored once. His playing time in West Ham United Club of the Premier League has not been much and that is a matter that worries Trainer Osorio. Will the shortage of time influence the shape “Chicharito” gets into the Cup?

Keylor Navas (Costa Rica)

The brilliant performance of Navas in the Brazil 2014 World Cup opened his doors to enter Real Madrid. In that World Cup, this Costa Rican was the goal keeper who got scored less, only two, and his 21 stops in five matches were really decisive for Costa Rica to make history, when entering quarter finals. Navas was nominated for FIFA Golden Glove, and although he did not finally get it (it was obtained by the champion Manuel Neuer), he caused a very good impression. Costa Rica will need very much that Navas repeats the same performance as in Brazil to try to progress to the second phase in Russia World Cup.

Paolo Guerrero (Peru)

After 36 years, Peru is back in the World Cup and the captain, and best goal scorer of all times from this country (with 32 goals), was about to miss the Russian appointment. That of being positive an anti-doping test applied to Guerrero caused a national shock, but an appeal got to reduce the sanction to its half and if everything keeps like it is, then the forward could play his first (and probably only) World Cup.

Román Torres (Panama)

This central defense entered the Panamanian sports history when scoring the decisive goal that allowed the country selection to classify for Russia World Cup. Torres has played in several clubs: Atlético Nacional (National Athletic) and Millonarios (Millionaires), from Colombia, and since 2015, he plays for Seattle Sounders, of the MLS. Many people consider Panama as the World Cup’s “Cinderella” , but Torres and his colleagues will try to demonstrate that their first participation in this event is not a matter of casualty.

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