England fans have cause to celebrate, as Roy Hodgson’s players dominate a squad of the best 23 players at the World Cup. Our data reveals that England captain Steven Gerrard and his Liverpool team mate Daniel Sturridge both make the all-star squad. Everton’s Leighton Baines is also included alongside the Premier League’s break through player, Adam Lallana. The inclusion of those four players means England has more representatives in the squad than any other nation.
To identify the players set to light up football’s biggest stage, we took data from all the world’s top leagues and developed a statistical model that scores player performance in areas related to their position on the pitch. The data was then crunched to put together the ultimate 23 player squad at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. We’re revealing the 23 per position, and putting two of the England players in the squad under the spotlight…
While the squad is no doubt impressive, it’s the four forwards that will whet the appetite of football fans the most. There are no surprises in the first three, with Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo amassing 90 league goals between them this season and averaging pretty much a goal a game. However, the exciting news for England fans is that they are joined by Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, who comes into the World Cup in incredible form, with 22 league goals this season at a rate of one every 103 minutes 24 seconds.
|Name||Nation||Club||League||Goals||Minutes per goal||Assists|
|Luis Suárez,||Uruguay||Liverpool||Premier League||31||95 mins 37 seconds||12|
|Lionel Messi||Argentina||Barcelona||La Liga||28||89 mins 25 seconds||11|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Portugal||Real Madrid||La Liga||31||81 mins 56 seconds||9|
|Daniel Sturridge||England||Liverpool||Premier League||22||103 mins 24 seconds||7|
One of Roy Hodgson’s newer recruits breaks into the squad among the World Cup’s best wide players. Adam Lallana has enjoyed a sensational Premier League season and comes into the tournament as its second most in form winger with 69 successful dribbles and 26 successful crosses this season. Antonio Candreva in the Italy side will be a tough test for England as he is in form with 12 goals, 99 completed dribbles and 38 successful crosses this season.
|Name||Nation||Club||League||Goals||Minutes per goal||Assists|
|Antonio Candreva||Italy||Lazio||Serie A||12||38||6|
|Adam Lallana||England||Southampton||Premier League||9||26||6|
|James Rodriguez||Colombia||Monaco||Ligue 1||9||32||12|
|Kevin Mirallas||Belgium||Everton||Premier League||8||21||8|
England captain Steven Gerrard may have suffered heartbreak at the end of the Premier League season, but his incredible form for Liverpool sees him selected in our Best 23 Players at the World Cup squad. His match up with Italy’s Marco Parolo on Saturday promises to be a great battle, with Gerrard leading on goals, assists and passes, while Parolo is the better defensively with 56 interceptions this season.
|Ivan Rakitić||Croatia||Sevilla||La Liga||12||63||818||10|
|Steven Gerrard||England||Liverpool||Premier League||13||48||969||13|
|Marco Parolo||Italy||Parma||Serie A||8||56||730||6|
|Miralem Pjanic||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Roma||Serie A||6||43||1253||6|
While Portugal fans will look to Ronaldo to score for them this summer, the form of Real Madrid’s towering defender Pepe will be just as important to their progress. Meanwhile, reigning World champions Spain have their only representative in our 23 man squad in versatile defender Sergio Ramos. Having made his senior Spain debut at 18 and amassing 116 caps since, Ramos is as integral to his national side as he is to Real Madrid, and comes in to the World Cup in great form, with an incredible tackles won percentage of 88.24%.
|Name||Nation||Club||League||% Tackles Won||Clearances||Interceptions||Blocks||Goals & Assists|
|Nicolas N'Koulou||Cameroon||Marseilles||Ligue 1||86.59||253||74||23||2|
|Pepe||Portugal||Real Madrid||La Liga||81.48||152||76||25||7|
|Lauren Koscielney||France||Arsenal||Premier League||83.08||236||90||23||2|
|Sergio Ramos||Spain||Real Madrid||La Liga||88.24||143||71||16||5|
He may have had to wait a long time for his first major tournament as England’s starting left back, but Leighton Baines is set to grasp the opportunity with both hands as he goes into the tournament as one of its most in form full backs. Baines has impressed both offensively and defensively this season, with 82.46% of his tackles won, and 844 passes in the opposition half. Bacary Sagna is also included, along with a name mentioned as his possible replacement at Arsenal this summer, Ivory Coast and Toulouse star Serge Aurier.
|Name||Nation||Club||League||Tackles Won %||Clearances||Passes in opposition half||Crosses||Goals & Assists|
|Bacary Sagna||France||Arsenal||Premier League||80.28||174||854||18||4|
|Serge Aurier||Ivory Coast||Toulouse||Ligue 1||80.87||99||714||35||12|
|Leighton Baines||England||Everton||Premier League||82.46||77||844||25||10|
Sturridge and Lallana will be desperate to score in the World Cup, but they may find that task even harder than they thought, as two of the three goalkeepers in our squad are in England’s group. Ranked on saves made per goal conceded, Italy’s most capped ever player Gianluigi Buffon is ranked second with 4.3 saves per goal, and Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas is a surprise inclusion in third with 4.1 saves per goal. Meanwhile Ajax’s Jasper Cillessen pips Premier League goalkeepers Michel Vorm and Tim Krul to the number one jersey for Holland, and is the top performing goalkeeper at the World Cup.
|Name||Nation||Club||League||Saves per goal conceded|
|Gianluigi Buffon||Italy||Juventus||Serie A||4.3|
|Keylor Navas||Costa Rica||Levante||Spain||4.1|
The Best 23 Players At The World Cup
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Jasper Cillesen (Holland), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica), Bacary Sagna (France), Leighton Baines (England), Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast), Daryl Janmaat (Holland), Pepe (Portugal), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Laurent Koscielny (France), Nicolas N’Koulou (Cameroon), Ivan Rakitić (Croatia), Steven Gerrard (England), Marco Parolo (Italy), Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Antonio Candreva (Italy), Adam Lallana (England), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Kevin Mirallas (Belgium), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Daniel Sturridge (England)