How will Roma be represented at the World Cup?

Posted by Julian De Martinis

With the World Cup 2014 draw revealed Friday and the schedule for the group stage matches detailed, the involvement of Roma’s players in next year’s tournament just became much clearer. There is a near-certainty of two teammates facing off in the group stages, with another pairing possible as well. Overall, don’t be surprised to see quite a few familiar faces in Brazil next summer.

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Roma, of course, have several Brazilian players who will hope to get a call-up to represent their country in Group A. Douglas Maicon has been recalled to the team due to his good performances in the red-and-yellow kit, and Leandro Castan has been a regular face in the Brazil backline for a few years now. Both will face stiff competition from others -- David Luiz, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Dante, Maxwell and of course Marquinhos, just to name a few. Dodo and Marquinho are Brazilian as well, but neither Roma player realistically seems to be in the frame for a call-up. The rest of Group A -- Cameroon, Croatia and Mexico -- are all unrepresented in the squad with the exception of the Croatian Tin Jedvaj. The 18-year-old is certainly one to watch for the future and is on the U-21 side, but a leap to the senior team for the World Cup next year is probably a step too far for now.

Group B’s Spain, Netherlands, Chile and Australia is represented by a single Roma player: Kevin Strootman. Dutch manager Louis van Gaal has stated in the past that Strootman is a certainty to go to Brazil along with Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.

As for Group C, Vasilis Torosidis is a regular starter for Greece, featuring in both legs of the playoff win over Bogdan Lobont’s Romania as well as starting during qualifying against the likes of Lichtenstein, Austria, Latvia and Slovakia. He’ll find himself directly against teammate Gervinho and the Ivory Coast in a Roman head-to-head on the final day of Group C action, June 24.

Italy are the only team that could represent Roma in Group D, but Cesare Prandelli has quite a few options to consider. Daniele De Rossi is, without question, a certainty. Alessandro Florenzi is playing himself into serious contention; Federico Balzaretti was called up for the last Euros and may warrant another consideration should his play improve; Morgan De Sanctis could have potentially traveled as a backup goalkeeper but retired from international play; and Mattia Destro could well compete for a striker’s spot should he return from injury and score goals. Marco Borriello realistically has no chance of a call-up, but Francesco Totti is the name that will get most of the attention, as Prandelli has already been asked numerous times if he will take the captain.

There are no Swiss, Ecuadorian, French or Honduran players on the current Roma squad, so Group E will go without representation. From Group F, only Nicolas Burdisso is Argentinian, but looks to be on his way out of Roma since falling behind Castan and Mehdi Benatia. Should he be called up and start, the very first match of the group will see him face off against Miralem Pjanic’s Bosnia-Herzegovina. Iran and Nigeria, Group F's other teams, have no Roma players.

Group G: No players from Germany, Ghana or Portugal, so Michael Bradley and the United States won’t have a club grudge match from June 16-26.

Group H: Belgians seem to be all the rage in football currently, but that’s one train Roma has yet to board. No Russians, Algerians or Koreans on the Roma squad, either.

Expect to see: De Rossi, Florenzi, Strootman, Gervinho, Torosidis, Pjanic, Bradley, Castan, Maicon.

Long shots: Dodo, Jedvaj, Burdisso, Balzaretti.

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