Jupiler Pro league foreigners heading into World Cup Brazil – Part 2

Besides our Belgian players, we also have a delegation of foreigners in the Jupiler Pro League who have a chance to make it into World Cup in Brazil. We’ve selected players from the Jupiler Pro League who have been called up at least once this year for their national team. Some of them have already been playing for years in the Belgian competition, while others are even new discoveries for the Jupiler Pro League.

Mathew Ryan from Club Brugge (Australia)

Here at Benefoot we’re all convinced that Mathew Ryan is a great goalkeeper. Club Brugge bought the Australian goalie last summer from the Central Coast Mariners who play in the Australian A-League. After winning the title with his former club Ryan felt he was ready to try his luck in Europe. He made a big impression in the first half of the season with Club Brugge, with some Jupiler Pro League analysts already say that he’s one of the best goalkeepers in Belgium.

The World Cup in Brazil probably means that Ryan will have three games to show the world how good he is. In a tough group with Spain, the Netherlands and Chile, there’s no doubt that the Australian goalkeeper will have the chance to distinguish himself from the other goalkeepers. Australia might fall at the first hurdle but if they qualify from the group, we’re certain that Ryan will have had a massive say in their progression.

Sacha Kljestan from RSC Anderlecht (USA)

The midfielder from the United States was an important player for Anderlecht in previous season, while Biglia was the conductor of Anderlecht’s midfield. This season, “The Moustache” is having a difficult spell to take over the role of the Argentine. Biglia moved from Anderlecht to Lazio whereafter John van den Brom and Besnik Hasi decided that Kljestan should fulfil Biglia’s role together with their new Serbian signing Luka Milivojevic. Both players struggled in the first matches of the competition and they even lost their places in the starting eleven at one point. On the flip side, his contribution to goals has dramatically risen.

Despite his recent form, Kljestan will probably fly to Brazil with the national squad of USA. He’s not a certain pick in Jürgen Klinsmann’s team but it’s likely that the German will call him up. But his current situation with his club doesn’t really help him. You could say that Kljestan is a water carrier – while he’s very useful to recover balls and has tactical intelligence, he’s not the type of player that will create chances with an ultimate killer pass.

Daniel Opare from Standard Liège (Ghana)

The defender of Standard Liège is known for his pace in Belgium, controlling his whole flank the entire match. His good stamina combined with his speed is a useful weapon for the club from Liège. He likes to attack in what sometimes results in dangerous counter-attacks for Standard’s opponents. Daniel Opare is so fast that he will always be back in time to recover the ball or shoot the ball into the stands to make it safe. In other words – a reliable defender. Daniel Opare moved in 2010 from the Real Madrid reserves to Standard, where he was highly rated at that time. But Opare wanted to play and asked for a transfer.

His first season was probably his best for Standard, with the last two campaign being more of a struggle with the Ghanian often on the bench or injured. Things didn’t became better when Israëli coach Guy Luzon arrived and started to rotate his team every week. In Brazil, Daniel Opare could maybe grab his moment of glory.

Goh Bi Cyriac from RSC Anderlecht (Ivory Coast)

The striker from Ivory Coast has had a very tough last two years, due to serious heavy injuries. Only in recent weeks has Cyriac got back in shape. Anderlecht coach John van den Brom gives him confidence and playing time, pairing him with Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has said he enjoys playing alongside the Ivorian. The Dutch coach was satisfied from Cyriac’s last training sessions and has now seen with his own eyes how important the striker could be for this Anderlecht. When Cyriac joined the club, he was one of the key players at Standard. Due to his injury troubles, Anderlecht got him fairly cheaply from their rivals. John van den Brom never saw him play beforehand but now sees all the good things people told about him.

It’s not yet certain that Cyriac will fly to Brazil in June but head coach Sabri Lamouchi called him up recently. Keeping up the good performances with Anderlecht will be crucial for him if he wants to be on the plane. With his pace, technique and jumping abilities he could be a very good partner for Aleksandar Mitrovic, the strong Serbian goalgetter who could use someone to take some weight of his shoulders. Both players in their best form could help Anderlecht to their 33th title.

Oscar Duarte from Club Brugge (Costa Rica)

Club Brugge bought the central defender in January 2013 from Deportivo Saprissa. The Costa Rican has made a good first impression in Belgium. Despite having picking up a knock, he played almost every game for Club Brugge in their run-in last season. This season a lot of things changed again at Club Brugge. The club gave their youth players a chance and also changed who would lead the club forward, with Juan Carlos Garrido departing for Michel Preud’homme. Oscar Duarte lost his place in the team, mainly due to injury but has found it hard to break back in – something nobody expected after their best defender, Ryan Donk, left the club.

Costa Rica is not the biggest football country at the World Cup so it’s still possible that Duarte will be called up to play in Brazil. The defender will have to fear the class of Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Mario Balotelli and many more. Costa Rica are in a tough group with Italy, England and Uruguay. Enjoy playing against these football stars will already be an achievement for them.

Ervin Zukanovic from KAA Gent (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Ervin Zukanovic is getting back into his best form, as following his move from KV Kortrijk to KAA Gent, the defender suffered some injuries. The last couple of weeks Zukanovic and KAA Gent have been quietly going about their business, which will satisfy the player from Bosnia and Herzegovina with the World Cup coming closer. The World Cup debutants have been drawn in a  favourable group with Argentina, Iran and Nigeria. Zukanovic is not only a very solid defender but he also has a very good cross and he’s also a free-kick specialist. Certainly in his period with KV Kortrijk he scored a lot of goals from set pieces.

Seeing his quality begin to shine through again, it’s only a matter of time before he will score some goals for KAA Gent. His new teammate at the back Ante Puljic also speaks the same language which should make it much easier for Zukanovic to communicate. Goalkeeper Matz Sels, Ante Puljic and Ervin Zukanovic are the ones who will keep some clean sheets for Mircea Rednic’s KAA Gent.

In our previous article Bjorn De Cock gave you his thoughts on Boubacar Copa, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Frank Acheampong, Eiji Kawashima, Aboubakar Oumarou and Andy Najar. Read it here:

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