2014 World Cup: One Last Hurrah for Veteran Footballers
by Strike Point Sports - 5/5/2014
The World Cup features not only the best soccer nations in the world, but this sporting event also plays host to some amazing individual talents. This summer in Brazil will undoubtedly showcase several greats likely to call this their last World Cup tournament. The World Cup takes place once every four years. Thus it is pretty easy to forecast which experienced superstars are likely participating in their last tournament. We point out a few notables to keep an eye on in Brazil.
Iker Casillas (32) and Xavi Hernandez (34) - Spain
La Furia Roja 's main two leaders are getting ready to join select company, among the likes Pele, Maradona and Cafu, as they get to participate in their fourth World Cup. With over 280 caps combined, Casillas and Xavi have displayed great success in helping to redefine Spanish greatness on the big stage, claiming titles at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 as well as the World Cup in 2010. It is also worth noting that Casillas, who has impressively capped 153 times for his country (as of March 2014), is only two matches short of equalizing German keeper Sepp Maier for the most capped goalkeeper to play in the World Cup.
Gianluigi Buffon (36) and Andrea Pirlo (34) - Italy
For the last 12 years, Buffon and Pirlo have been the heartbeat for the Azzurrias. On European soil this vaunted duo helped lead Italy to its fourth World Cup trophy in 2006, and their experience will be again key to guide Italy past a difficult group stage that includes both England and Uruguay. Buffon is still regarded as one of the top in the world at his position, and he has been a regular between the posts for Italian champions Juventus. Likewise, the masterful free-kick artist Pirlo and his exploits have been clutch as well for Juve. Surely the pair will aim to carry over their club success to the international stage as they link up with the rest of their compatriots.
Tim Howard (35) and Landon Donovan (32) - USA
How shocked would you be if I told you Landon Donovan has played in only 12 World Cup games yet has scored more goals (five) than Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Cristiano Ronaldo (three) combined in 31 total matches. Numbers perhaps lie, because Donovan isn't on the others' level. However, his production certainly counts for something, and his leadership is even more vital for the Stars and Stripes. It is no surprise for those who follow Donovan to expect him to show up on the big stage. He is the all-time leading goal scorer for his country with 57 goals, and his play has also yielded another impressive statistic: he being the only player for his country to amass 50 goals and 50 assists on the international level. However, the success of the USA in Brazil will surely rest more on the shoulders of Howard, who has experienced success in England with Everton for the better part of the past decade. Howard was the starting keeper for his country at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a tournament that saw the USA reach the knockout stages and Final 16. With more the 250 caps between the two veterans, this experience will be imperative for another run past the group stages and potentially further than four years ago.
Strike Point Sports has established themselves as one of the top soccer handicappers with their success on the big tournament stage. From the 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008, 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, SPS earned $100 clients over $8,200 in profit from these four major events. This summer's World Cup is going to be another moneymaking opportunity, and they are looking forward to their soccer selections and another winning tournament.
Visit Doc's Sports for coverage of the 2014 World Cup and more articles leading up to this summer's major soccer tournament.
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