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RBM's World Cup Roundtable - Part 2

The writers of Royal Blue Mersey sit down to discuss their winners, losers, dark horses and more at the upcoming FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Clive Rose

In part 1 of the Royal Blue Mersey World Cup Roundtable we discussed the teams that will feature in this summers' tournament, so part 2 sees us focusing solely on the players that will grace the pitches in Brazil.

Which player do you think will make this his tournament?

Adam - Before Romelu Lukaku hurt his ankle, I would have picked him. I think the Belgian midfield is going to create chances for Lukaku, and he has a ton to play for with his club future on the line. In case he cannot go though, I'll take Thomas Muller. I think he may see some time at striker, given that Miroslav Klose turned 36 this week. He is an expert creator and sound finisher, and if Germany's midfield can dominate (as I expect them to), he will have chances to do both.

Alex - If Argentina play Lionel Messi in a free role and feed him the ball early in the group stages, I think he has the biggest opportunity above all to take some leaps above the rest in terms of confidence and once you get him started he won't stop. If Argentina strangle Messi of possession like they so often do playing him in a central attacking midfield role with only two wide players and one central defensive midfield, then Messi will drop. In that case I can't look past Mario Gotze in the Germany team or Neymar in the Brazil squad although the latter of the two can be pretty weak at times.

Brian - I'm really interested in seeing what Kevin Mirallas does. I feel like he is one of those players on the cusp of doing some great things, but he needs to develop that consistency. The World Cup could be a great springboard for that.

Calvin - Lionel Messi will finally get the World Cup monkey off his back as he gets Argentina to the semis. He has many points to prove after previous WC failures plus a disappointing season for Barcelona, by his standards. 

Darren - I can see Sergio Aguero having a great tournament and that's because of the team which he is a part of. Full of talented forward players, as well as being one himself, I think this could be a big tournament for him.

Sean F - As far as individual accolades, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to re-write their World Cup record with neither having scored in the competition. If Brazil are to go all the way, the likes of Oscar, Neymar and Thiago Silva will have to perform. Given the sweltering temperatures in Brazil, possession will be vital and pass masters such as Andrea Pirlo, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Xavi may all have a big say as the tournament progresses. On the other hand, the hot climate may open the door for younger legs to rule in Brazil; with Paul Pogba, Angel Di Maria, Mario Gotze and maybe even Ross Barkley, if he's given the chance, coming to mind.

Sean L - I think it's probably going to be Neymar. His international record is fantastic and he's in a Brazil squad that's full of talent. However, should he fail to deal with the pressure he will undoubtedly be under, then I expect Messi will be the one to watch.

Tom - Neymar. It is all set up for him to become a national hero for the hosts.


Who is the player you're excited to see but fear will disappoint?

Adam - I love Arjen Robben, but I just don't see the team around him giving him enough of a chance to shine. Holland's defense is suspect, I don't expect their midfield to possess the ball well, and Robin Van Persie is ever unpredictable. Robben will do his best to carry the team, but a tough group will be too much for him to overcome.

Alex - The player to disappoint has to be Ronaldo. Unfortunately for him he is surrounded by a mainly Championship team bar the odd few. It is going to make it hard for him to get the ball, to score goals and to cover other plays. Saying that I'd like him to do well.

Brian - Ross Barkley. Not necessarily because of anything he does, but after his play in recent friendlies, I don't think he's going to have as exciting of a World Cup as we would want. I'd be surprised to see him start any matches, and with the group England has his effectiveness might be limited.

Calvin - As much as I love the player, I think Andrea Pirlo is going to have a hard time living up to his billing. People know now how to focus on him and shut down the Italian midfield, and this will lead to a less than stellar performance from him.

Darren - This is perhaps unfair, but I think Cristiano Ronaldo will disappoint and that's purely because I think Portugal will too. It isn't an individual game; it's a team effort. Of course I'm excited to see him, definitely. But I think his team will disappoint and because of that we won't get to see enough of him.

Sean F - The pressure on Neymar's shoulders to do well is unbelievable and could possibly be too much. In contrast, it seems as though most of the English media are waiting with steak knives and drooling mouths for Wayne Rooney to fail. Either player could disappoint depending on the progression or lack of progression of their respective teams, the latter being the most likely.

Sean L -Wayne Rooney. While I maintain he's one of the best players in the world, he's stifled in an England shirt where everything is expected to go through him. When he was 17 in the Euros, he had a spark and excitement about him that seems to have been trained out at Manchester United, and I think that's why he struggles at major tournaments with England.

Tom - Wayne Rooney has done nothing for England since he left Everton - 10 years ago. I can't see that changing here.

And that is that, our in-depth selections for the World Cup are complete! Agree? Disagree? Comment below and share your thoughts. Don't forget to see Part One of the World Cup Roundtable here.