World Cup 2014: Roster roundup

CBC soccer expert Nigel Reed offers his instant analysis on some of the recent World Cup roster announcements.

It's nail-biting time for some of soccer's superstars

CBC soccer expert Nigel Reed offers his instant analysis on some of the recent World Cup roster announcements.​


Roy Hodgson made it known, he had known from some time. In all likelihood, so had the players.

The 30 names unveiled by the England manager for the FIFA World Cup produced few surprises — in part because he had a limited number of names from which to choose.

Jermain Defoe let his feet do the talking. Insisting all along he had nothing to prove to the England boss, the Toronto FC striker made the first cut but remains on the standby list. The British tabloids were quick to write off his international prospects when he left England for Canada in March but Hodgson was unswayed.

Defoe could still go to Brazil -- but only if one of England’s four forwards is forced to withdraw through injury.

Ashley Cole’s decision to retire after being left out brings to an end an international career which spanned three World Cups and more than 100 caps for his country. It opens the door for 18 year old Luke Shaw who will go to Brazil as understudy to first choice left back LeightonBaines.

Shaw is merely one of a crop of youngsters to turn Hodgson’s head. Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling enjoyed a breakout season at club level as did Everton midfielder Ross Barkley. With one eye on Euro 2016, the new generation must be exposed to major tournaments in order for them to gain the necessary experience.  

All teams have until June 2 before naming their final 23-man rosters.


Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari didn’t waste any time and named his 23-man squad last week. His young guns, led by Neymar and Oscar, will lead the charge on home soil. Scolari believes the team that won the Confederations Cup in 2013 is now ready to take on the world.  


When it comes to the World Cup there are horses for courses. None more so, perhaps, than Miroslav Klose. The German striker has starred at three editions of the tournament but it seemed the soon-to-be 36 year-old would be too old for Brazil.

German coach JoachimLoew believes age is not a factor -- even in the heat of Brazil. Loew reckons Klose finds an extra gear when the World Cup rolls around -- 14 goals between 2002 and 2010 supports the claim and two more in Brazil would make Klose the World Cup’s all time leading scorer.


Steven Beitashour was once courted by the U.S. national team. The 27-year-old defender, who is from San Jose, Calif. (but both his parents were born in Iran), was invited to join a U.S. training camp but didn’t get on the field. Nonetheless, he is going to the World Cup. The Vancouver Whitecaps full back will represent Iran in Brazil after being spotted by Iranian head coach Carlos Queiroz.


Finally a story about family ties. Bosnia-Herzegovina coach Safet Susic raised a few eyebrows when naming a 24-man squad for his country’s World Cup debut. The list includes young midfielder Tino Susic, who has virtually no international experience.

The two Susic’s are uncle and nephew and Susic Senior can only take 23 to Brazil. It begs the question: who will be the final cut? If Tino doesn’t make it, how does Safet explain it to his older brother, Tino’s father? That could be awkward over dinner.