World Cup 2018: Introducing the captains
The World Cup is finally here, and on June 14 the biggest spectacle in world football will be kickstarted. 32 teams have fought their way into this (31 really, as Russia didn't lift a finger) and over the course of a month, we will find out who really deserves the trophy.
Despite being a team sport, a captain is very important to the team as they guide them through the highs and the lows of the game.
We have seen Buffon scream his lungs out; we have seen Gerrard kiss his badge; we have seen Puyol take everything but a bullet for his club.
This WC too, the teams have announced their respective captains, who they count on to lead them in Russia. Let us take a look at the captains of the sides competing:
Igor Akinfeev - Russia
Possibly the legendary keeper's last World Cup with the national team, and there is no surprise that he is leading the team in home soil. With over 106 caps for them, he has been a staple of Russia for several years now and was handed the captaincy in 2017.
Playing for CSKA Moscow, Akinfeev has over 500 official appearances and has kept a staggering 245 clean sheets across his entire career. Akinfeev will play a vital role for the hosts in defense as well, considering how shaky the defenders in front of him are.
Osama Hawsawi - Saudi Arabia
The 34-year-old Centre back has been chosen to lead the Saudi Arabian national team, and rightly so. With 135 caps to his name, he is the most experienced player in the squad and their most solid defender as well.
As part of Al-Hilal, the winners of the Saudi Professional League for the last two years, he has more than a 100 caps as well, and an essential part of their defense. At 6'2", he is a threatening presence in the air as well both defending and attacking - and has 7 international goals to his name.
Essam El-Hadary - Egypt
The 45-year-old keeper is the oldest player to be selected for the tournament and is certain to break the record for the oldest player to play in the WC, when he features in goal for the Egyptian national team (currently held by Faryd Mondragon of Colombia).
El-Hadary has over 150 caps for the national team, having won the AFCON 4 times and winning the best goalkeeper award thrice. After a temporary retirement in 2013, he returned to the fold and guided Egypt to one more AFCON final.
Currently, he plays for Al-Taawoun in the Saudi Professional League, becoming the first foreign keeper to play in Saudi Arabia. Egypt owes a lot to him for his leadership, and will rely on his experience heavily in Russia.
Diego Godin - Uruguay
Not just one of the best centre-backs in world football at the moment, Diego Godin has also been the blood and sweat of the Atletico Madrid and the Uruguayan national team for the last few years.
The Uruguayan brings both determination and organization to the defense, and is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve when it comes to the big moments.
With over 100 caps for Uruguay and more than twice that for his current club, he has more than enough experience in dealing with major tournaments.
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