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| November 14, 2018

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Meet the Brighton and Hove Albion Players Gracing the World Cup

Meet the Brighton and Hove Albion Players Gracing the World Cup
Jack Mitchell-Charman
Albion are also looking to add further World Cup stars to their squad.

Following the success of their debut Premier League season, Brighton have established themselves alongside some elite footballing outfits.

It seems like an age ago now that Albion suffered Championship play-off heartbreaks.

A true indicator of their newfound status is their representation at the 2018 World Cup.

The tournament showcases the very upper echelons of footballing talent.

Three Albion players are set to take the World Cup stage.

Matt Ryan

Ryan became a fan favourite in his debut Albion season

Brighton’s attack struggled hugely last season.

They hit the net a mere 34 times, with only 3 teams showcasing a worse record.

Champions Manchester City, by contrast, scored 106 times.

However, what saw Albion escape the drop was their impressive, resolute defence.

Ryan’s 10 clean sheets was the leagues 8th best tally.

Albion also only shipped 54 goals, a better record than 11 other league sides, and the best in the bottom half of the table.

The consistent keeper has ingratiated himself into the Australian starting 11, where he played each game of the last World Cup.

José Izquierdo

Izquierdo’s tweet translates to: “Persist, resist and never give up. Dream it so passionately until it becomes a reality. Happy and proud to represent my Country.”

The dynamic winger is another player who fast become a fan favourite in the 17/18 season.

His fearless, explosive playing style saw him gain major plaudits and a World Cup place.

His 5 goals and 3 assists were vital in seeing Albion scrape through last season.

Ryan’s Australia are not favourites to progress in their group comprised of France, Peru and Denmark.

However, Izquierdo’s Colombia are a dark horse at this years tournament.

They face a difficult, but beatable group, playing Poland, Senegal and Japan.

However, Colombia have a deceptively strong squad.

They possess the likes of Arsenal’s David Ospina, AC Milan’s Cristian Zapata, Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez, and Sevilla’s Luis Muriel.

Alongside these solid players are two world-class footballers, Bayern Munich’s James Rodriguez – scorer of the 2014 goal of the tournament – and Monaco’s Radamel Falcao.

Colombia reached the last 8 in 2014, narrowly missing out 2-1 to Brazil.

This attacking side could yet again impress, with Izquierdo hoping to contribute to any further Colombian success.

Leon Balogun

Balogun playing for the Nigerian national side

Leon Balogun is actually yet to touch a ball for Albion.

When Albion stole away Balogun on a free transfer it represented a major coup.

The highly regarded defender will further shore up an already solid defence.

While he only managed 14 Bundesliga appearances with Mainz in 17/18, he is a mainstay of the Nigerian defence.

The defender featured in the recent 2-1 friendly loss to England.

Nigeria, as well as having the best kit at the World Cup, are another side touted as a potential dark horse.

While their squad is not comprised of superstars, they play direct attacking football, the kind that can blow teams away.

This fearless, youthful squad, have a high concentration of quality in attack.

The likes of Leicester’s Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho, Chelsea’s Victor Moses, ex-Watford man Odion Ighalo, and Arsenal starlet Alex Iwobi all head to the 2018 World Cup.

They face one of the toughest groups in the tournament, playing a Lionel Messi fronted Argentina, Luka Modric’s Croatia and Euro 2016’s success story Iceland.

Albeit, with the formidable Albion man Balogun in defence, and a blistering attack, they could yet cause a few shocks.

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