A healthy contingent of Juventus players look set to be flying the black and white flag during next summer’s World Cup competition in Brazil following the outcome of last night’s crucial playoff games.
Paul Pogba and Kwadwo Asamoah became the latest to book their tickets to South America after emerging victorious on aggregate in yesterday’s second leg clashes with Ukraine and Egypt respectively.
The Azzurri, bolstered by the input of eight Bianconeri players across their qualifying campaign, sealed their spot at the greatest show on earth when they overcame the Czech Republic at Juventus Stadium on 10 September.
The likes of Gigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Angelo Ogbonna, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Sebastian Giovinco will now be using the remainder of the championship campaign and international friendlies as their opportunity to stake their claim for a place in Cesare Prandelli’s final squad.
Meanwhile, Fernando Llorente, who formed part of Spain’s World Cup winning group in South Africa, will be hoping to cement his return to the international fold after his recent goals in the black and white stripe prompted Vicente del Bosque to hand him a recall.
Swiss full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner had the luxury of helping his nation to qualification with a match to spare, October’s 2-1 triumph over Albania seeing Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men safely through to their third successive World Cup finals.
South American duo Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla enjoyed a relatively comfortable route to the finals with their native Chile, while Argentine fans will be hoping Carlos Tevez reverses his decision to quit international football in time to add his undisputed class to the decorated competition.
Remaining with South America, Martin Caceres and Uruguay will be looking to rubber stamp their qualification when they host Jordan in tonight’s playoff return leg in Montevideo. La Celeste are within touching distance of progressing through to the tournament following last week’s resounding 5-0 triumph on Asian soil.