FIFA World Cup 2018: 5 lowest ranked teams and their respective key players
The sensation that is the FIFA World Cup 2018 kicks off in under a week. All the 32 participating teams are quickly wrapping up the preparation phase while some have already landed in Russia to continue training in their respective base camps.
FIFA recently released the final world rankings before the showpiece, and there weren’t many changes at the top. Germany, Brazil, Belgium, Portugal and Argentina all remain unchanged in the top 5, while Chile is the only side from top 10 that will not feature in Russia.
Now, let’s climb down the table and dwell on the World Cup teams languishing well below the charts. According to the latest rankings, only 5 of the 32 qualified teams don’t fall within the top 50. And there are some real shockers here.
So who are these five teams? Let’s rank them in descending order and also identify the key player in each of these sides:
Key Player: Blas Perez
Los Canaleros are set to participate in their first ever World Cup, and having been drawn in a tough group alongside Belgium and England, would be handed a baptism of fire. But for a team of their ilk, with all due respect, mustering even a single point or scoring a goal would be a success.
The road to Russia was nothing short of a fairytale, defeating Costa Rica on the final matchday with a winner 8 minutes from time that knocked USA out.
Not much is expected from Panama in Russia, but after Costa Rica’s heroics in 2014, there’s optimism in this CONCACAF outfit.
At 37, an outfield player normally retires from national duty. In some rare cases, he’ll be active but used mostly from the bench. But in Blas Perez’s case, he’ll lead the line at the World Cup! You read it right.
The Panama veteran is set to spearhead the vanguard in Russia for the minnows at the ripe old age of 37 and would try to open their account in the World Cups with a goal or two.
Perez is the joint-most prolific in the history with 43 goals, and also the senior-most member of the current squad. Now here’s another interesting point to know - in his career that has spanned 2 decades, Perez has plied his trade with as many as 19 different clubs! Beat that, Zlatan.
Perez is a revered figure in the Panama side, representing the team since 2001, and becoming the first-ever player from the side to score at the World Cups would be a fairytale end to his illustrious career.
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