The World Cup Group Stage Shop Window: Week One

The World Cup Group Stage Shop Window: Week One
By Mikey Traynor Updated

We are one week into the 2014 World Cup and already we have had some notable performances from superstars and unsung heroes alike. The World Cup can be a stage for the game’s best to flaunt their undoubted skills and talents, but it can also be a showcase for those who haven’t had the chance to shine on the biggest stage before.

We here at Balls took a look at some of the notable performances from players who are out of contract or looking for a new club this summer, and how they may be tempting potential suitors. We’ll update you after the second and third round of group matches so be sure to keep an eye out.

Guillermo Ochoa – Mexico

By now you will be aware than Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa put in a heroic display to secure a 0-0 draw with Brazil for Mexico, and if you are not, well… Ochoa is a ‘keeper who has been talked about as a potential star for some time since his arrival on the international scene in 2005 at just 19 years of age, and yet, he has never been given a chance at a really big club. In 2011 Ochoa moved from Club America in the Mexican league to French Ligue 1 outfit Ajaccio. The Mexican stopper caught the eye of many when he single handedly denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic and PSG a win by pulling off a string of amazing saves in a 0-0 draw which was strikingly similar to his performance against Brazil. Now interest in Ochoa seems to be very high, with even the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool being linked with his services, and it is believed that AC Milan are very keen.

Ivica Olic – Croatia

Ivica Olic is an odd member of this list in that everybody already knows who he is and what he has done in the past, but his inclusion is based on his need to prove that he can still do it. The journeyman striker has been banging in goals in the Bundesliga for ages, but he is believed to be looking for a new challenge at this late stage in his career. Olic had a good first half against Brazil and was involved in everything Croatia did well (including putting in the cross that lead to Marcelo's OG.) With reported interest from Stoke City, Olic will be hoping to have more joy against the perceived weaker opponents in the group.

Pablo Armero – Colombia

Pablo Armero is almost certainly looking for a new club after the World Cup, after Rafa Benitez made it clear the Colombian left-back does not feature in his plans for Napoli by loaning him to West Ham for the end of last season. Armero had an unspectacular time in East London but his goal, Colombia’s opener against Greece, will have put him on the radar of a few clubs who are looking to strengthen their options at full-back.

Chung Young Lee – South Korea

South Korean attacking-midfielder Chung Yong Lee has found himself in a difficult position after a good start to his Premier League career. His decision to stay at Bolton after their relegation in 2012 has not worked out as he would have hoped, and now Lee needs to prove that he can play at the highest level. A good shift against Russia will certainly have helped, and with the Korean out of contract at Bolton, surely someone will give him a chance to prove his worth.

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The Entire Costa Rican Team – Costa Rica

The first big upset of the 2014 World Cup was Costa Rica coming from behind to beat Uruguay. For a team whose only well-known players are Arsenal youngster Joel Campbell and Fulham flop Brian Ruiz, the Costa Ricans dominated Uruguay and earned a historic three points. Surely now some of these boys will get a chance in the major European leagues?


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