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The Best Players At The FIFA World Cup

Posted June 12th at 12:00am.

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.

Use these handy infographics on all 32 teams taking part to let us know who you think will be the players to watch out for in Brazil. Join the debate on Facebook and Twitter.

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


Centre Midfielders

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.

Name Nation Club League Goals Interceptions Passes Assists
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


Centre Backs

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


Full Backs

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
Dary Janmaat Holland Feyenoord Eredivise 85.87 89 723 25 7
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
Jasper Cillessen Holland Ajax Eredivise 5.23
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)

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