Monday, June 3, 2013

3 Countries Bound for Success

This article details 3 specific countries in the footballing world that are ready to prosper and enjoy success.  The criteria for this was based on current achievements, young talent, and the decline of other players.  Here's the list:

1. Belgium

Undoubtedly the best selection to fit the criteria noted.  Most Soccer fans see the Belgians becoming prominent in the Barclays Premier League, as it is the most televised soccer to Americans.  But young talent is showcasing itself all over the world not the just in England.  In Germany Kevin de Bruyne (on loan from Chelsea) is becoming a creative, educated, and gifted player.  The skill he showed for Werder Bremen is pure class and can translate to any league.  De Bruyne played in 34 of Bremen's 35 games and scored or assisted on 39% of all goals scored by Bremen.  On the International level, de Bruyne continued his fantastic form in a friendly against the United States on May 29th.  De Bruyne's fluidity and linkage with not just his flanking right back Toby Aldedweireld but his constant success with striker Romelu Lukaku and attacking midfielder Kevin Mirallas helped contribute to Belgium's strong start in World Cup Qualification.  Undoubtedly, the speculation over de Buryne's move in the summer is justified for someone who can dismantle the likes of Jermaine Jones, Demarcus Beasley, and Omar Gonzalez in the Belgians 4-2 thrashing of the United States.

The best place to notice the Belgian success is England.  Immediately when Paul Lambert paid 7 million pounds to acquire Belgian, Christian Benteke from Genk people were skeptical.  The same applied to Romelu Lukaku, Jan Vertonghen, and Kevin Mirallas.  46 goals later and the skepticism has since dissolved.  The success has taken the league by storm and with Eden Hazard pronouncing himself as one of the worlds best after being named two time Ligue 1 player of the year and since moving to Chelsea.  In goal, Simon Mignolet and Thibaut Courtois are world class keepers who have showed there worth against Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, etc.  Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, and Jan Vertonghen are all well acclaimed and ready for glory.  Belgium is a young team looking for qualification in a difficult group with Croatia, Scotland, and Serbia all veteran sides.  However, the Belgians have strong leadership, tons of creativity, and a young team with a bright future.

2.  Venezuela

If you ask me to name one Venezuelan club team I would need a prayer, wish, and miracle to get even close.  So far Venezuela has been scraping into the play-off spot in the difficult CONMEBOL qualification group.  The victories over Argentina and Colombia have all been accompanied by grueling draws and grind-it-out type wins.  When looking at the Venezuelan squad, the youth component is massive in accordance to there success.  Roberto Rosales of Twente helped guide the Venezuelan defense and Twente's 6th place finish in the Eredivisie.  José Manuel Velázquez helped Panithinaikos to their Greek League successes at the age of just 22.  The Midfield is the most prominent part of the Venezuelan national team.  Unheard of players like Rómulo Otero and Agnel Flores provide the youth and spark while experience reigns from Juan Arango of Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hamburg's Tomás Rincón.

Yet Venezuela's results keep depending on two strikers that play in Europe.  Nantes' Fernando Aristeguieta has scored 8 goals in 17 matches for Nantes after being loaned out from Caracas in Venezuela.  At Just 21 he has scored once for the national team and his pace and height has helped him become one of the most important options.  The man of the hour for Venezuela is no doubt the Rubin Kazan striker.  Step forward Salomón Rondón.  The Russian Premier League player just finishes.  11 goals in 31 international appearances for the 23 year old and 5 goals in the 2013 Europa League as he helped Rubin Kazan knock out 2012 champions Atlético Madrid.  Rondón and the rest of the squad have an ora of patience and calmness as they methodically chip away at opponents defense and strategy.  Through a mixture of youth and a few elders sprinkled in, Venezuela is poised for success not in just in the CONMEBOL qualifications but in the World Cup as well.

3.  United States

Call me a wacko, crazy person, or lunatic.  But one thing if for sure, the United States has talent.  Not the declining Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, or Carlos Bocanegra.  In defense, Omar Gonzalez is becoming a prime Central defender who can communicate with various different defenders and still maintain a high level of play.  Geoff Cameron has produced in England for Stoke City, but the player to look for is Timmy Chandler.  Playing for Nürnberg he has achieved 10 international appearances for the U.S. and at 23, has the pace and communication skills that link well with Gonzalez.

In the attacking frame of mind, the most important person for the U.S. is Jozy Altidore.  Clint Dempsey is 31 and not progressing the same.  Landon Donovan has issues just making the team after his break away from the game.  Thus, Jozy Altidore's record 31 goals for AZ Alkmaar is most important to the success of the United States.  However Altidore isn't alone at the front of the formation.  Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi, has the technical ability to accentuate Altidore as well as the ability to play multiple positions.  Zusi's versatility was evident in the friendly against Germany as he set up Altidore's volley and allowed Dempsey to play more freely.  A move overseas is something deserved for Zusi and the opportunity has already been used by young U.S. players like Mikkel Diskerud, Joe Gyau, and Terrence Boyd.  The options for the U.S. shows that the upcoming years are important while former stars like Landon Donovan and others diminish out of the team.