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World Cup 2010 Players To Watch – Midfielders

Hello TFM readers. As you may already know by now, the World Cup is back and the tournament takes place in Africa for the first time in its 70-year history.

While football is a team sport, individual players can make all the difference.

We at TFM had earlier made a review on the strikers to watch at the 2010 World Cup.

We now compile for you the list of midfielders who we think will make an impact in this year’s World Cup.

Check it out.

Arjen Robben (Holland)
Age 26

Arjen Robben plays his club football for German giants Bayern Munich. He had previously played for Chelsea and Rea Madrid.

He is normally deployed behind the forwards as a winger.

Robben is an important player in the Netherlands national team and has appeared at Euro 2004, the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008.

Robben has played in 42 games for the Netherlands, scoring 11 goals. He had also scored 16 goals for Bayern Munich this season.

Nani (Portugal)
Age 23

Nani, is a Portuguese footballer who plays as a winger for English side Manchester United and the Portugal national team.

Nani made his Portugal debut in 2006, scoring his first goal in the process, and has since established himself as a key member for them.

He was heavily featured during Euro 2008 and throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification process.

Nani was influential in helping Portugal reach the 2010 Word Cup in South Africa thanks to his man of the match performance against Malta in which he opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a low, left footed volley and setting up the third goal for Portugal defender Miguel Veloso.

Nani has so far scored a total of 6 goals in 34 international matches.

Florent Malouda (France)
Age 29

Florent Malouda is a French footballer who is currently playing his club football as a left winger for Chelsea F.C. in the English Barclays Premier League and internationally for the French national team.

Malouda plays as a predominant left winger who can also play as a second striker or as a central attacking midfielder.

Malouda made his debut for France on 17 November 2004 in a match against Poland. He then became a regular for his country, scoring his first goal for his country on May 31, 2005 against Hungary.

To date, Malouda has scored three goals in 42 appearances for the French national team.

David Silva (Spain)
Age 24

David Silva is a Spanish footballer who plays for Valencia CF and the Spanish national team.

Silva is capable of playing on either wing or as a traditional number 10, and sometimes as a supporting striker.

A player of slight build, he is often compared to Pablo Aimar, the player he replaced at Valencia, also donning the Argentine’s trademark number 21.

Silva made his senior international debut in the 1–0 friendly home defeat to Romania on 15 November 2006.

Silva has so far played 33 games for the Spanish national side and scored a total of 6 goals along the way.

Frank Lampard (England)
Age 31

Frank Lampard plays his club football for newly crowned Premier League champions Chelsea.

Lampard plays most often as a box-to-box midfielder and has also enjoyed spells in a more advanced attacking midfield.

He is considered to be one of the best footballers in the world.

Lampard has been capped 77 times by England since making his debut in October 1999, and has scored 20 goals. He was voted England player of the year for two consecutive years in 2004 and 2005.

He played in Euro 2004, where he was named in the team of the tournament after scoring three goals in four games. He was top scorer for England in their successful 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, and played in the 2006 World Cup.

In the 2010 World Cup qualifiers he scored four goals, helping England qualify for the tournament proper in South Africa.

Kaka (Brazil)
Age 28

Kaká, is a Brazilian football midfielder who currently plays for Real Madrid C.F and the Brazilian national team.

Kaká participated in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, marking his first international tournament since the 2006 World Cup. His only two goals came in Brazil’s group stage opener against Egypt on 14 June, when he scored a goal in the fifth minute and then added a 90th-minute penalty in Brazil’s 4–3 victory.

He received the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament at the Confederations Cup and was also named the Man of the Match in the final after helping Brazil to a 3-2 win against the United States.

Kaka has so far played a total of 73 matches for Brazil and found the back of the net 26 times.

Franck Ribery (France)
Age 27

Franck Ribery is a French football player who currently plays for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich.

Ribéry primarily plays as a winger, preferably on the left side, and is known for “pace, energy, skill and precise passing.

Ribéry is a French International having represented his nation at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008. At the 2006 World Cup, he scored his first international goal against Spain and played in the final match against Italy.

Ribéry is a two-time winner of the French Player of the Year award and has also been named to the UEFA Team of the Year once.

Ribery has played 42 times for France and scored a total of 7 goals.

Angel Di Maria (Argentina)
Age 22

In 2007, Di María was picked to play for the Argentina Under-20 squad. He was capped for the 2007 South American Youth Championship in Paraguay. In 2007, he was called up for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. They went on to win the tournament with Di María scoring three goals in the process.

On 28 January 2008, Di María and some of his U-20 teammates were called up for the Argentina squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He scored the extra-time game-winning goal on a pass from Lionel Messi in the 105th minute of his team’s 2–1 quarter-final win over the Netherlands.

On 23 August, in perhaps the best moment of his career so far, Di María scored the game-winner, a chip over the keeper from the edge of the area in the 57th minute of Argentina’s 1–0 victory against Nigeria to capture their second straight Olympic Gold Medal in the final game of the Olympic tournament.

Di María has so far earned 7 senior caps for Argentina.

Ramires (Brazil)
Age 23

On July 21, 2008, Ramires was named the replacement for Robinho on the Brazil U-23 team for the 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing.

He appeared four times at the Olympics, as Brazil went on to achieve bronze medal.

On May 21, 2009, he was called up for the first time to the Brazilian national team for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

He played his first game for the national team on June 6, 2009, a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification game against Uruguay, in which he came as a substitute for Elano.

Ramires has so far played 10 times for the senior Brazil squad.

Yoann Gourcuff (France)
Age 23

Yoann Gourcuff is a French professional football player who currently plays for Ligue 1 club Bordeaux and the French national team.

He operates mainly as an attacking midfielder, but can also be utilized as a withdrawn striker.

Gourcuff earned his first call up to the senior team on 11 August 2008 for the team’s friendly match against Sweden that was played on 20 August.

Manager Raymond Domenech has installed Gourcuff in the attacking midfield position, just behind the striker, a position that some believe has yet to be filled since the retirement of Zinedine Zidane following the 2006 World Cup.

Adam Johnson (England)
Age 22

Adam Johnson is an English footballer who plays for Manchester City as a winger and is known for his pacy dribbling and is a skilled set-piece and corner taker.

A former under-19 international, Johnson was called-up for the under-21 team at the 2009 UEFA U21 Championships in Sweden.

In late February 2010, Johnson was named in the senior squad for the first time in Fabio Capello’s 30-man shortlist for the upcoming March friendly against Egypt in May but did not make the final 23.

In May 2010, Johnson was named in Capello’s preliminary 30-man World Cup squad.

Wesley Sneijder (Holland)
Age 25

Wesley Sneijder is a regular player for the Dutch national team, having made his debut in April 2003, and having represented his country at the 2006 World Cup and at two European Championships (2008 and 2004).

Sneijder debuted with the Netherlands under-21 side against the Czech Republic on 28 March 2003. His first game with the senior Dutch side was against Portugal on 30 April that same year, when he became the eighth youngest player to play for the Netherlands in the first team’s history.

Sneijder started all four games for the Netherlands at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. He received one of the record 16 yellow cards doled out during the infamous Round of 16 clash with Portugal (titled the “Battle of Nuremberg”); Portugal went on to win 1–0.

Sneijder has so far played a total of 56 times and scored a total of 12 goals for the national side.

Cesc Fabregas (Spain)
Age 23

Francesc “Cesc” Fàbregas is a Spanish footballer who plays as a central midfielder. He captains the English Premier League club Arsenal and plays for the Spanish national team.

The Spaniard’s national career began when he represented the Under-17 side at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland. As a result of his club performances, he was called up to the senior squad in 2006. He has played in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2008, where he helped Spain to become eventual winners in the latter.

Fabregas has been included in the Spanish squad for the 2010 World Cup even though he is suffering from a broken leg.

Mesut Ozil (Germany)
Age 21

Mesut Özil is a German footballer of Turkish descent who plays as an attacking midfielder/winger for Werder Bremen and the German national team.

In September 2006, Özil was called up for the Germany U-17 team. Özil has been a member of the German U-21 team since 2007. On 29 June 2009, Özil was the catalyst in a 4–0 win over England during the U-21 European Championship final.

He made his debut for the Germany national football team during a friendly match against Norway on 11 February 2009.

He scored his first goal for the senior team in his third appearance, another friendly, against South Africa on 5 September in Leverkusen.

Sotiris Ninis (Greece)
Age 20

Sotiris Ninis is a Greek footballer currently playing for Panathinaikos. Ninis is Albanian-born but of Greek descent.

Ninis was officially called up by Greece coach Otto Rehhagel on May 16, 2008 for the game against Cyprus on May 19.

On his debut Ninis scored the opening goal of the games versus Cyprus in the fifth minute, after a solid pass by Panathinaikos striker Dimitris Salpigidis, Ninis slotted the ball underneath Antonis Georgallides and into the back of the net making the perfect debut and start for his country and becoming the youngest ever scorer for Greece with 18 years and 46 days, breaking Kostas Eleftherakis’ old record by 244 days.

Ninis also won the Man of the Match award for his performance.

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