World Cup, Group C from the Chelsea angle: Players to watch

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

For the next month, much of the world will be wrapped up in the World Cup. Here are some players to keep an eye on from Group C.

COLOMBIA

Jun. 14:  vs. Greece
Jun. 19:  vs. Ivory Coast
Jun. 24:  vs. Japan

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: Despite Radamel Falcao missing through injury, there are still the likes of Fredy Guarín, Jackson Martinez, and James Rodríguez, all of whom have been linked with Chelsea at one time or another.

Others: There's the Colombian Messi, Juan Quintero, who at 21 is poised to be Porto's cash machine at some point in the next few years.  Cagliari's Víctor Ibarbo, 24, has been turning heads for the last 12 months or so as well.  Teófilo Gutiérrez has the unenviable task to fill Falcao's shoes, though at 29, he's unlikely to ever move across the Atlantic again.  Lovingly named 42-year-old goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón (dragons!) has been playing for Colombia since time immaterial.

GREECE

Jun. 14:  vs. Colombia
Jun. 19:  vs. Japan
Jun. 24:  vs. Ivory Coast

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: We're not Fulham, so none.

Others: I must confess, ever since Euro 2004, I've despised no national team more than Greece.  So, once again, I hope they lose all their matches 12-0.  And if any of their players ever ends up playing for Chelsea... well, I guess I survived all those months with The Interim One, so I can handle anything... but please no.

IVORY COAST

Jun. 14:  vs. Japan
Jun. 19:  vs. Colombia
Jun. 24:  vs. Greece

Chelsea players: Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou... oh.  :(

Potential transfer targets: Drogba has been linked back to Chelsea fairly regularly, though perhaps not in a playing capacity.  Wilfried Bony and Cheick Tioté also made the rumor rounds not too long ago, but for better (Tioté) or worse (Bony), we ended up signing neither.

Others: Gervinho is a man reborn, while Kalou was the second leading scorer (tied with five others, including Edinson Cavani) in the French league this season.  SPIDAH!  (Meanwhile, something something Yaya Touré.)

JAPAN

Jun. 14:  vs. Ivory Coast
Jun. 19:  vs. Greece
Jun. 24:  vs. Colombia

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: A couple years ago, when we were looking for a new right back, Hiroki Sakai's name was bandied about for a while.  Not that we'd need him now, but he's still just 24.  Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda are familiar names as well; many have advocated their signatures over the last few years.

Others: Dynamic full back combo Yuto Nagatomo (Inter) and Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04) should be fun.  Some also like this Yoichiro Kakitani kid, apparently.  Well, "kid" - he's 24.  He's been linked with Arsenal and Galatasaray before, but so far has yet to move beyond dominating the J-League.

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