|Image Credit: Newscom|
With Chelsea being the multicultural hub of players that it is, it comes as no surprise that the reigning Premier League champions will have several representatives at this summer’s FIFA World Cup.
The final 23 member squads for each team were announced today (June 1). Barring Group F and Group H, every other World Cup group has a Chelsea player in it. In all, there are 12 Chelsea players who will be on
their respective national team’s flight to South Africa. If German skipper Michael Ballack and Ghana star Michael Essien and Portuguese right back Bosingwa had not been injured, we would have had fifteen Chelsea players at the World Cup.
Chelsea players at the 2010 World Cup:-
|England||John Terry, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole|
|France||Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda|
|Ivory Coast||Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou|
|Portugal||Deco, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira|
Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, John Terry (England) – It should come as no surprise that the nation in which the maximum number of Chelsea players are involved is England.
Joe Cole was a surprise inclusion on the Capello bus to South Africa. And given his ongoing contract saga, the former West Ham star is going to the World Cup as a Chelsea player, but might not return as one.
Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry are expected to start every game for the Three Lions should they be fit. This will probably be the last World Cup for vice captain Lampard and for skipper JT too. Lampard goes into the World Cup with two penalty misses. Will he be confident to take the next penalty?
Florent Malouda, Anelka (France):- Malouda had an excellent 2009/10 season for the Blues, scoring fifteen goals and providing twelve assists. He did not make it to the Premier League Team of the Season, but could be in the World Cup All Star Team if France ends up going the distance.
Anelka played second fiddle to Drogba throughout the season, but he is expected to be the first choice for France with Raymond Domenech opting to play him as the lone striker in a 4-3-3 formation.
Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou (Ivory Coast):- The Elephants have again been drawn in the Group of Death, but they certainly have the talent to progress to the next round.
At 36, Drogba will be too old for the next World Cup. The reigning African Footballer of the Year will be keen to make a big impression in South Africa.
UPDATE : Drogba is a major doubt for the World Cup after fracturing his arm
UPDATE: Drogba has recovered and is expected to start in the opening match.
John Obi Mikel (Nigeria):- The Super Eagles are in a tricky group that also includes mighty Argentina, 2002 semi-finalists South Korea and Euro 2004 winners Greece.
This will be the young midfielder’s first World Cup- Nigeria did not qualify for the last World Cup in Germany.
UPDATE: Mikel will not take part in the World Cup after failing to recover from his knee injury.
Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Deco (Portugal):- After narrowly making it into the World Cup due to a poor qualification campaign, the trio of Paul Ferreira, Carvalho and Deco, who will be competing against Drogba and Kalou in Group G.
Deco will be retiring from international football after the World Cup. Carvalho will be a key figure for Portugal, given that both Brazil and Ivory Coast have plenty of talent upfront.
Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia):- There could have been three Chelsea players in the Serbian squad, but Slobodan Rajkovic and Nemanja Matic failed to make the cut. The versatile Ivanovic’s partnership with Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic is expected to be one of the stingiest at the World Cup, just as it was in European qualifying.
Miroslav Stoch (Slovakia):- After an impressive loan spell in which he helped FC Twente to their first league title and scoring 10 goals in the process, Miroslav Stoch will be hoping the he can do the same for Slovakia.