The lights are on
EA Sports' World Cup title has just come out, and it's tempting to always play as heavyweights like Brazil, Spain, Germany, or Argentina, or faithfully fly the flag for your home country. However, There are other teams worth looking at that have rosters that can make some noise in the video game.
I picked these teams (listed in no particular order) after looking at their rosters in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, analyzing players' attribute ratings and skills and putting them in perspective of those that are favored by the title's gameplay (like pace or headers). I don't have thorough real-world familiarity with all of these players' ins and outs, so if you love/hate a particular player in real life or think someone's nothing but a goat, that's another matter.
What are some of the less-obvious teams that you think could have success in the game? Let everyone know in the comments section below. Thanks!
For more on the game, take a look at my review.
Note: Any future roster updates, current injuries, or Match Day form tweaks, etc. are not taken into account.
Belgium sports some impressive players throughout its ranks, from keeper Thibaut Courtois and stalwart defensive centerback Vincent Kompany up to your choice of strikers – Benteke or Lukaku. All of the midfielders have solid ratings, and some posses decent pace. Eden Hazard on the left side is particularly dangerous. He's fast with the ability to cross as well as dribble and finish on his own. He also has the Finesse Shot skill, which can be deadly in FIFA if you allow him to cut in and take a corner shot from the 18-yard box. Last but not least, strikers Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku can put the finishing touches on any service that comes their way (Belgium's default formation has a single striker up top). The former is strong, tall, and can both head and finish the ball (and has some pace too), while Lukaku isn't quite the header, but is still more than capable.
There are some holes in Poland's lineup – the only team on this list who didn't qualify for the World Cup in real life – but you could make a run with them. Right back Łukasz Piszczek has the pace and crossing ability (as well as a high defensive and attacking work rate) to provide service into the box for skilled lone striker Robert Lewandowski. Jakub Błaszczykowski – with superior 90+ acceleration and sprint speed ratings – is also an important piece in the attack.
The country hasn't qualified for the real-life World Cup since 1998, but the in-game roster has great potential. The team doesn't have a great defensive presence, but midfielder Juan Cuadrado combines blistering speed with good dribbling ability, and James Rodríguez can be dangerous on the left wing. Given FIFA's sometimes unstoppable headers (and the crossing ability of both the aforementioned midfielders), it's a good idea to make use of Columbian striker Falcao, who is an Aerial Threat as well as a 93-rated finisher.
The team's defensive core of keeper Fernando Muslera and center back Diego Godín are stronger than the midfield, and up top Uruguay has two formidable strikers. Both Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani have the Clinical Finisher skill, with the former also a 90+ dribbler and the latter possessing amazing stamina and work rate. Striker Diego Forlán is also on the bench or available if you want to insert him somewhere else in the lineup.
IVORY COAST (COTE D'IVOIRE)
In a game that values speed, Ivory Coast has it up and down its roster – including in spots outside the normal starting 11. Gervinho combines great speed with dribbling ability along the left side, and strikers like Aroune Koné and Seydou Doumbia are also fast. Centerback Kolo Touré (brother Yaya is solid in the midfield) has a decent combination of pace and defending skills to keep up with some of the lobbed through passes that will come your way if you play online. At striker the team also has Didier Drogba (a good finisher but better at headers) and Wilfried Bony.
There were lots of teams that could have gone in this slot, but I'm putting Chile here. Claudio Bravo is solid in the net, Arturo Vidal anchors the middle, and the team has two fast strikers up top with Alexis Sánchez and Eduardo Vargas. Chile also has other options here of various abilities, including Mauricio Pinilla.
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