Goal selects the standout performers on the road to Brazil, with Philipp Lahm, Mathieu Valbuena and Mesut Ozil among those to make the cut
Igor Akinfeev didn’t concede a single goal in Russia’s first five World Cup 2014 qualifiers and has only been beaten five times since, which earns him our goalkeeping slot. His presence between the posts is one of the major reasons Russia beat Portugal to top spot in Group F.
Philipp Lahm may well have operated in a central midfield role for Bayern Munich this season but he is a shoe-in for our right-back berth after another typically consistent qualifying campaign for Germany. Meanwhile, Dmitriy Kombarov lines up on the opposite flank – despite occupying a more offensive role for Russia under Fabio Capello.
A Belgian duo form our defensive base. Vincent Kompany – who made an impact in the attacking third with goals against Wales and Scotland – partners Jan Vertonghen, with the Tottenham defender featuring in every single one of the Rode Duivels qualifying fixtures.
Italy have been less than spectacular in World Cup qualifying but they were still first past the finishing post in Group B. Key to their success has been the form of Roma’s Daniele De Rossi, whose experience and know-how has seen the Azzurri remain unbeaten on the road to Brazil, so the versatile 30-year-old sits at the base of the midfield.
Two diminutive playmakers complete our trio in the middle of the park. Mesut Ozil has been Germany’s outstanding performer in qualifying, netting eight goals to become die Mannschaft’s top scorer and their match winner en route to topping Group C. Mathieu Valbuena, meanwhile, has come of age for France, even if his enterprising displays haven’t been enough to give les Bleus automatic qualification in Group I as they get set for the play-offs.
Goals are the dish of the day when it comes to our front three, with our forward line of Pedro, Edin Dzeko and Robin van Persie having racked up 25 between them.
Dzeko struck 10 times to fire Bosnia to the top of Group G, while Pedro’s eye for goal has been key for a Roja side who have proven quite profligate, having struck just 14 times in nine games. Van Persie rounds off our dream team having topped the qualification goalscoring charts and surpassed Patrick Kluivert’s all-time goals record in the process.