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What if we were the Coach? - Group A

With the World Cup starting to take shape and rosters beginning to pour in, we thought it interesting to take our own look at each Group in the World Cup through a different lens – what if we were the coach?


With so many supporters debating for the next few weeks on who should start for what nation, WeAreHooligan’s co-editors Drew and Young have stepped into the hot-seat as if they were the coach of each national team.  Who would they prefer, and why?  What formations would they use?  Come find out!


Group A:  Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon


First up, Young;

Brazil – When it comes to the Brazilian national team, on-field chemistry is the key ingredient to unleash, their “joga bonito”.  After demolishing Spain 3-0 in the 2013 Confederation Cup final, Brazil should hold onto old Bert Lance saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  If I were Felipe Luis Scolari, I’d keep the 4-2-3-1 formation with a few upgrades from the 2013 team. This starting XI shouldn’t be of surprise (unless you’re a Chelsea fan)

GK: Julio Cesar

DF: Marcelo (LB), David Luiz (CB), Thiago Silva (CB), Dani Alves (RB)

MF: Luis Gustavo (CDM), Paulinho (CM), Oscar (CAM)

FW: Neymar (LW), Fred (ST), Bernard (RW)


Croatia – Despite having a suspect backline, Croatia boasts a strong enough team to finish second in their group. Blessed with the feet and vision of Luka Modric and the finishing ability of Mario Mandkuzic, Croatia should have no trouble defeating the likes of Mexico and Cameroon.  In order to maximize the talent they have on their roster, Croatia should opt for a 4-4-2 formation.

GK: Stipe Pletikosa

DF: Ivan Strinic (LB), Dejan Lovren (CB), Gordon Schildenfeld (CB), Darijo Srna (RB)

MF: Ivan Perisic (LM), Ivan Rakitic (CM), Ognjen Vukojevic (CDM), Luka Modric (RM)

FW: Ivica Olic (ST), Mario Mandkuzic (SS)


Mexico – Recently hired head coach, Miguel Herrera, is opting to make his native country play the 5-3-2 in this year’s edition for the World Cup. Although his selections have been controversial (omitting Javier Aquino), Herrera been enforcing his Club America tactics onto the national team for cohesion sake.  However, if Mexico wants to play in a way that fully utilizes the talent on their roster, they should have went for a 4-1-2-1-2 formation. It’s a darn shame Carlos Vela is taking a pass on this World Cup though.

GK: Guillermo Ochoa

DF: Andres Guardado (LB), Hector Moreno (CB), Rafael Marquez (CB), Paul Aguilar (RB)

MF: Hector Herrera (CDM), Marco Fabian (CM), Luis Montes (CM), Giovani Dos Santos (CAM)

FW: Javier Hernandez (ST), Oribe Peralta (ST)


Cameroon – Without any creative midfielders on their roster, Cameroon is forced to utilize high defensive pressure from the entire team and counter-attacks to break down the opposing defenses. With attacking players that boast tremendous athleticism and a rich pool of defensive midfielders, Cameroon might have what it takes to upset their group. That is if they play the 4-3-3.

GK: Charles Itandje

DF: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (LB), Aurelien Chedjou (CB), Nicolas N’Koulou (CB), Allan Nyom (RB)

MF: Jean Makoun (LM), Stephane Mbia (CDM), Alex Song (RM)

FW: Vincent Aboubakar (RF), Samuel Eto’o (CF), Maxim Choupo-Moting (RF)


And now, it’s Drew’s turn;

Brazil – Young-Kim and I certainly agree in our assessment of Brazil.  Their biggest strength is their passion for the game, which shines through in the style they love to put forth on the pitch.  To add to the allure, Brazil will be hard pressed to play a certain way to make sure they not only win the World Cup but do so in a fashion that pleases the home support.  For me, Brazil are a better counter attacking side than a possession side – with so much attacking talent who shine with the ball at their feet while being blessed with athleticism, this set up would fit the bill and a 4-2-3-1 would be a must.

GK: Julio Cesar

DF: Marcelo (LB), Thiago Silva (CB), Dante (CB), Dani Alves (RB)

MF: Fernandinho (DM), Luiz Gustavo (DM); Neymar (LAM), Oscar (CAM), Willian (RAM)

FW: Hulk (CF)


Croatia – Not since the brilliance of the 1998 side led by Davor Suker has Croatia impressed at an international tournament.  That is not to say that Croatia do not boast the talent to quietly be a threat, but they have lacked the right players in key areas to help lift them to another level.  Their midfield is their strongest asset by far, and this would be where I focused my efforts to help Croatia get over the hump – unable to truly control a match, as coach I would opt for a 4-3-3 built to break on the counter and use the midfield as the launching pad.

GK: Stipe Pletikosa

DF: Ivan Strinic (LB), Dejan Lovren (CB), Gordon Schildenfeld (CB), Darijo Srna (RB)

MF: Ognjen Vukojevic (DM), Luka Modric (CM), Ivan Rakitic (CM)

FW: Ivan Perisic (LW), Mario Mandzukic (ST), Ivica Olic (RW)


Mexico – They are no where near the level they once were and it’s not for a lack of talent.  For whatever reason you personally take to as to what the cause is, Mexico has had a revolving door with it’s national team over the past few years in regards to its coach, as well as it’s personnel.  They key here for sure, must be that Mexico find their rhythm as a cohesive footballing unit – all else can take shape from there.  Despite not being utilized at club level, Javier Hernandez must be the focal point for them but able to drift as needed, so as coach I would opt for a 4-3-3 similar to the one used at Liverpool.

GK: Guillermo Ochoa

DF: Andres Guardado (LB), Hector Moreno (CB), Rafael Marquez (CB), Paul Aguilar (RB)

MF: Hector Herrera (CM), Marco Fabian (CM), Giovani Dos Santos (CAM)

FW: Javier Hernandez (LW), Oribe Peralta (ST), Isaac Brizuela (RW)


Cameroon – When you consider African football, usually the first thing that comes to mind is their athletic ability and strength – in this instance, Cameroon is no different.  They will not be able to count on many talented players to pull the strings or break  a side down, but their defensive ability is strong, and given the nature of their athleticism, they may be able to hit their opponents on the break.  Naturally, Samuel Eto’o will be the focal point, but as coach a 4-3-3 with three interchangeable forwards could be successful.

GK: Charles Itandje

DF: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (LB), Aurelien Chedjou (CB), Nicolas N’Koulou (CB), Allan Nyom (RB)

MF: Joel Matip (CM), Stephane Mbia (CM), Alexandre Song (CM)

FW: Eric Choupo-Moting (LF), Samuel Eto’o (CF), Vincent Aboubakar (RF)


As stated before, Drew and Young will be giving their best shot at a coaching role for each and every country at the World Cup on a group by group basis.  Stay tuned for further editions of “What if we were the Coach?” on a daily basis!


Tags: 2014 World Cup Brazil Cameroon Croatia Mexico Soccer

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