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

David Ramos

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 B.

AUSTRALIA

Jun. 13:  vs. Chile
Jun. 18:  vs. Netherlands
Jun. 23:  vs. Spain

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: none

Others: Tempted to say none because the Socceroos' squad is just incredibly uninspiring.  They are easily the worst team in this group and one could argue the worst at the entire World Cup.  Captain Mile Jedinak was fun at Crystal Palace sometimes, in that classic "if he made it as a professional player, I probably could've had a chance, too if I really tried" way.

CHILE

Jun. 13:  vs. Australia
Jun. 18:  vs. Spain
Jun. 23:  vs. Netherlands

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: Arturo Vidal, though he may be harder to prise away from Juventus than even Paul Pogba (not more expensive necessarily, just harder).  Alexis Sánchez may be on the move as well, though the years at Barça have really taken the shine off the former Udinese winger.

Others: Chelsea were once in for Eduardo Vargas, but he chose Napoli instead.  So far, it's not been a big loss.  Wingers Mauricio Isla and Jean Beausejour always make Chile fun for the neutrals, while defenders Gary Medel and Gonzalo Jara keep things interesting at the back.

NETHERLANDS

Jun. 13:  vs. Spain
Jun. 18:  vs. Australia
Jun. 23:  vs. Chile

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: none?  Wait, surely that can't be right, can it?  Well... it's not looking good.  We did have those stupid Wesley Sneijder rumors last summer, I suppose.

Others: Beyond the big names, this looks like a fairly underwhelming Dutch squad.  Memphis Depay (PSV, 20) is possibly someone to watch for in the future.  I've heard good things about Feyenoord's young midfielder Jordy Clasie (the new Paul Pirlo Xavi Scholes III).  Georginio Wijnaldum was a wonderkid back in FM 2007.

SPAIN

Jun. 13:  vs. Netherlands
Jun. 18:  vs. Chile
Jun. 23:  vs. Australia

Chelsea players: Fernando Torres (107), César Azpilicueta (6)

Potential transfer targets: Diego Costa and perhaps Cesc Fàbregas, too, have been confirmed, signed, medical'd, signed again, and confirmed again as Chelsea players at least seven times each, though officially neither of them have joined or are set to join just yet.  But you do get the feeling that it's just a matter of time, especially with Costa.

Others: Most of Spain's players are firmly entrenched at their respective clubs (yes, including Torres), but one of the hottest transfer targets this summer is Atlético's Koke, the youngest player in a national team of vast experience.  Chelsea could do a lot worse than going after the 22-year-old.  Similar sentiment applies to Javi Martínez, who may or may not be entirely happy with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.

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