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BRAZIL BECKONING?

10 July 2013



takes a look at those who could possibly be representing Cardiff City on the biggest international stage of all next summer. Oliver RoderickWith internationals Kim Bo-Kyung, Aron Gunnarsson and Rudy Gestede all returning to Bluebirds HQ this week - not to mention the arrival of Club record signing Andreas Cornelius at the Vale Pavilion -


With the Bluebirds about to ply their trade in the top division of the British pyramid, there has never been a stronger platform from which City players can stake their international claims in the season before football’s biggest international competition. FIFA World Cup 2014 will kick off in São Paulo on June 12th next year, which leaves just eleven months until things get under way.


Even this far in advance, fans are beginning to look forward to seeing the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi, Iniesta and Robin Van Persie duke it out in front of the worldwide audience. But each World Cup there is always a lesser-known name or two that establishes themselves on the international scene – see Landon Donovan in 2002, Franck Ribery and Lukas Podolski in 2006 and Thomas Müller in 2010.

 

GAs Sven
-Eriksson showed through his selection of the unproven Theo Walcott in his 23-man England squad for World Cup 2006, an international call-up can come right out of the blue, whether or not a player has been a part of his country’s international picture before. It wasn’t too long ago that something similar happened at Cardiff City, as Jay Bothroyd unexpectedly became City’s first full England international in 2010, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 Wembley defeat to France. öran


No Football League player has been called up since Bothroyd, though the recent inclusion of Alex McCarthy, the Reading goalkeeper, was a relative shock as the Royals had suffered relegation from the Premier League just a matter of days earlier. If a City player were to receive the call from Roy Hodgson this term it would be less of a surprise than in Bothroyd’s instance, but there are already a handful of candidates that look capable of making the step up to the highest level both with club and country.

 

faces some very stiff competition for the left-sided berth at the back, currently occupied by Ashley Cole and Everton’s Leighton Baines, both considered among the finest left-backs in the world. He does have international experience though, having represented England at every level from Under-16 up to Under-21.Andrew Taylor, are in with a chance in the middle of defence, as the Three Lions continue to seek out a consistent defensive partnership following the very public disintegration of the previous pairing of Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand and Chelsea’s John Terry. The likes of Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Joleon Lescott and Gary Cahill have been contesting the positions at the centre of defence of late, but that is not to say that they will still be come the World Cup. Matthew Connolly and Ben Turner, along with fellow defenders Mark Hudson, a likely qualifier and the country boasting the bulk of City contenders. City captain EnglandLet's start by looking at

 

has famously made a rapid rise from non-league football to the Premier League, and an international call-up for him would cap one of the most dramatic ascensions up the football ladder ever seen in the game.Craig Noone, who got his England experience while at Villa’s West Midlands rivals Birmingham City. Jordon Mutch is the obvious candidate for a wildcard midfield place, and he too represented England at youth level. Three goals in seventeen Under-21 appearances for England was Whitts’ output as an Aston Villa player, but as yet he has still to make the final step up to the first team. Considered as one of the finest players outside the Premier League for some time now, City’s number seven may be given that opportunity now that he is a top division player. In a similar position is Peter Whittingham

 


is another Bluebird who might fancy a trip to Brazil if he can replicate his lower level talent in the top flight. Nicky Maynard It came in February of last year as a replacement for Danny Welbeck, his former teammate at Manchester United, but it was a baptism of fire as Holland’s Arjen Robben scored a late winner at Wembley, just as he would in the Champions League Final for Bayern Munich against Borussia Dortmund at the same venue in 2013. Hopefully Campbell will add to his tally this season, although his strike partner Fraizer Campbell.But the only player in City’s ranks that currently boasts a full England cap is striker


of the number one jersey before qualification for Euro 2016 gets under way in late 2014.  now unable to catch runaway leaders Belgium and Croatia. It’s not all bad news though – Cardiff’s goalkeeper, having kept eighteen clean sheets in the Championship last season, appears to have ousted Allan McGregor as Gordon Strachan’s first choice between the sticks going forward. With McGregor joining fellow Premier League new-boys Hull City this summer, this will be a competitive rivalry to watch over the coming season as both seek possessionDon Cowie and David Marshall, Kevin McNaughton, Craig Conway of Scotland and the WalesEuropean Qualifying Group A has been a disappointment for the Home Nations, with Craig Bellamy’s

 

Denmark would need a huge swing in Group B in order to book a plane to South America - although the senior call up of City's new 6'4" forward last season and his burgeoning goal-scoring talent will no doubt boost their outside chance. Head Coach Morten Olsen’s 'De Rød-Hvide' (the red-and-whites) have underperformed so far, but with twelve points left on offer, qualification is still possible. Italy top the group with fourteen points to Denmark’s six, but deposing Bulgaria from second looks a lot more achievable for the Danes, especially if Cardiff’s new striker can emulate his Copenhagen form at international level.Andreas Cornelius’

 

dfield is one of the strongest in Europe. captained the Slovakia Under-21 team but has yet to traverse the gap into the first team. That’s no knock on him though – with competition from Napoli playmaker Marek Hamšík, Dušan Švento, the Red Bull Salzburg midfielder whose only international goal as yet came in the 5-1 2006 demolition of John Toshack’s Wales at the Millennium Stadium, and Miroslav Stoch, the former Chelsea and FC Twente player now at Fenerbahçe, the Slovak miFilip Kiss has not figured for Slovenia since the 2-1 Oslo defeat to Norway in November 2012, but, having got just six points in qualifying so far, it will take something special for new head coach Srečko Katanec to lead his team toward the Maracanã next summer. Etien Velikonja, Iceland have enjoyed three wins out of six in Group E, and, currently in third, still have a good chance of qualifying as group winners. In the same group, Aron GunnarssonMeanwhile, under the leadership of captain and City midfield


, scoring twice in two 3-1 defeats to runaway group leaders Algeria and also playing a part in last month’s 2-2 draw in Bamako against Mali. With every nation in Africa contesting just five places of the thirty-two at the finals, Benin are no longer able to progress, but Rudy’s newfound experience on a global stage can only be a good thing for Cardiff City.Benin who, not content with starring in Cardiff’s blistering nPower Championship title win, also managed to collect his first three caps for Rudy Gestede,2012-13 was some year for


became the first Cardiff City player to know that he needs to buy himself a beginner’s guide to Portuguese in preparation for his trip to Brazil next summer. Kim’s two international goals to date came in the same match of the qualifying campaign, the first two goals of a 3-0 defeat of Lebanon. After such an impressive performance at the Olympics last year, should Kim earn himself another bronze medal or more next July it would represent a tremendous achievement for the midfielder whose performances City fans are eagerly anticipating in the Barclays Premier League.Kim Bo-Kyung place at the finals was confirmed last month thanks to group winners Iran’s 1-0 defeat of third-placed Uzbekistan. Of course, this meant that South Korea’sBut one thing is for certain.


Football is an unpredictable game, and in eleven months’ time the international landscape may have been completely shaken up. With places for teams and players at the World Cup in Brazil still on the whole yet to be determined, not to mention the tendency for big players to find themselves on the injury list in the weeks leading up to the tournament, it can’t be said for sure just who will be collecting the air miles that a trip to the most expansive nation would bring.


But a Cardiff City involvement would be hugely exciting for everyone associated with the Welsh capital's top-flight club.

 


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