World Cup 2018: 5 captains who will be crucial for their teams
Captains have always been a central part of great World Cup teams and Russia 2018 will be no different. A lot has changed in football since it became a fully professional sport nearly 2 centuries ago. However, the role of the captain has remained as constant as the Northern Star.
Chief cheerleader, on-pitch motivator, first-born in a community of brothers, the captain is usually the man who gives his team an identity.
In the long and often majestic history of the World Cup, great captains have emerged who have led their nations to do magical things on football’s greatest stage.
Examples are legion: Zvonimir Boban leading Croatia to a bronze medal in its first ever World Cup (France 1998) as an independent nation is one for the romantics to cherish. Fans of Argentina’s Albiceleste will forever cherish Daniel El Gran Capitan Passarella (Argentina 1978) and the G.O.A.T himself; Diego Armando Maradona (Mexico 1986).
Russia 2018 promises to be a showpiece tournament where captains will once again be at the centre of everything good that their teams want to do, here are 5 of these super-players who will have a major say in how far their teams go:
#5 John Obi-Mikel (Nigeria)
It is no exaggeration to say that if John Mikel-Obi does not bring his “A’ game to the World Cup, Nigeria’s chances of escaping from a very difficult looking Group D will plummet from very hard to full on impossible.
The Super Eagles may have qualified handily from a difficult looking World Cup qualifying group (included favourites Algeria and Cameroon) but the team’s performances in friendlies have raised a lot of doubt about the team’s quality.
The Eagles have looked bereft of ideas and have been very disappointing in an attacking sense. The wingers have been terrible in delivering quality; the midfield has looked slow and cumbersome while the attack has been almost non-existent.
Mikel’s ability to shield the ball and prompt attacks with his excellent range of passing will be the key for coach Gernot Rohr’s side which is expected to play a quick counter-attacking style at the World Cup.
He is the only midfielder capable of carrying the ball forward from midfield and his composure and calmness on the ball will be needed for when the team will be under pressure from the opposition’s midfield.