Brazil has historically excelled in the bands, and thus occupying the top of the list with the presence of Barcelona and Internazionale's right wingers, Maicon and Daniel Alves. The ferocity of the Latin American squads usually comes from the dual fight these players can deal with. These players have to be continually focused in the match, for a sudden modification in team's strategy can completely modify their role in the team.
Another Internazionale's players occupying the first position in our rankings, Maicon has been one of the players of the year, giving the Neroazzurri an unchallenged edge on the bands
thanks to his speed and efficiency as a gunner. He has even been chosen over legendary Daniel Alves to guard the right band by Brazil's coach Dunga.
This season has been Maicon's best in its history, claiming every title he fought for. In 55 matches with his National Football Team, Maicon obtained two Copa America's title and two Confederation Cup's trophy while scoring five goals, and this time in South Africa he will be the chance to prove he has what it takes to fill the space left behind by Cafu upon his retirement.
Even though it seems unlikely for Dunga to play with both Dani Alves and Maicon he deserves his place at the top of the list, for his offensive prowess and unchallenged speed has been one of the main reasons Pep Guardiola was able to celebrate six trophies during the last season and conquer once again La Liga's title. He has been part of Fifa's Ideal Team during the last year playing for FC Barcelona, for whom he scored 8 goals in 92 presentations.
He has been regarded as "The best right winger in football's history" thanks to its finesse and stamina, and appears to have lived up to the expectations. During the following weeks Dunga will have to decide what will he do to make the most out of his defensive abundance.
Boca Juniors has gone through its worst performance in their history during the last Clausura, occupying one of the bottom five positions and receiving more goals than any other squad in the competition. Nevertheless, from the ashes of Xeneize's misery we were still able to witness Medel's offensive instinct, scoring 7 goals in only 32 matches. His debut with Chile was against Bolivia during the World Cup Qualifying Stages, in which he showed his skills scoring both goals to give Chile the three points against their rival.
Marcelo Bielsa will have to combine Medel's expertise with Chile's most dangerous players in the rivals area, and this will be an Herculean task without Medel's aid. Another curiosity in his career: His first goal with Chile was this overhead bicycle kick.
Maradona might not choose to play with a wing back, but if he do so there's no doubt Clemente Rodriguez should be his first choice, for during the last years he has become a pillar of Estudiantes' brilliant present and tasted the glory of the Copa Libertadores during 2009. He was also part of the Gold-medal winning Olympic game squad back in 2004, even though he has not yet performed for Argentina in a World Cup match.
One of Argentina's shortest defenders (with only 1.67), Clemente Rodriguez has celebrated five Libertadores Cup titles (four with Boca Juniors and one with Estudiantes last year) as well as two Argentina's Domestic League titles. Against Costa Rica and Germany he appears to have won its place in the left band, even though he might have to fight with Jonas Gutierrez for the place in the starting eleven.
Benfica's wingback has become one of the toughest Uruguayan defenders and his versatility in the back line has proven to be invaluable for the Celeste. Three days before its first participation in a World Cup Maxi will be turning 26, and maybe he will be able to celebrate its first goal with Uruguay, as he has been unable to taste the net the 36 times he wore its National Football Team shirt. For Benfica he managed to score 5 goals in 76 occasions, making up his lack of speed with an unstoppable instinct for the offense.
An all-around defender that might even occupy the midfield, Maximiliano Pereyra might become one of the surprises of this year's World Cup.
This is the second Boca's defender that occupy a position in our top ten, and Claudio Morel Rodriguez has won its place thanks to his skills in both areas. Having been nominated Paraguayan Footballer of the Year in 2008, Morel has performed outstandingly the 24 times he represented its country, but has never represented its country in a World Cup before. During the last season he has been lacking the finesse he's shown since he first joined the Xeneize squad, but it's expected to see him at its best for South Africa.
His left foot allows him to ideally cover Paraguay's left band, but can also perform as a fullback or adopt an offensive position.
Roberto Cereceda is one of Marcelo Bielsa's ace behind his sleeves, and from the first moment he occupied Chile's back line team's coach has supported his efforts and assured his place in the starting squad. Without much International experience (Colo Colo was eliminated during the group stages of the Copa Libertadores the last three years), he'll have a lot of work to do to secure Chile a place in the Knockouts, ready to lift a title after a shameful season for his team in the Chilean league.
Carlos Bonet will be responsible for covering Paraguay's right band from the Group F's strikers. Having recently joined Olimpia back in his country, and the 7 performances with the squad he has yet been unable to score a single goal, even though his luck has been different with the National Football Team, scoring one goal in 31 matches played. This will be his third time in the World Cup, and this is the reason why he's grown into one of the main leaders in the squad.
Whether in the midfield or the back line, Carlos Bonet's presence will be a cornerstone of Paraguay's solid defense.
Estudiantes' second winger, Marcos Angeleri received International attention thanks to his performance with the Pincha, especially during the Libertadores cup matches,perfectly filling the space left behind by Agustin Alayes. His aggressiveness and speed in the right side knows no rival in Argentina's defense, but Diego Maradona has already chosen a full back over Angeleri to provide a stronger defense to a team lacking physical advantage.
Fully recovered from an injury which kept him away from Europe during the last season, Angeleri will have to struggle to play its fourth game wearing Argentina's shirt in South Africa.
The tenth position is occupied by a left winger 1.80 mts tall whose prowess as a gunner has turned him into a must to strengthen Paraguay's back line. Having already won a Silver Medal during the 2004 Olympic Games, Torres will be performing its first match in a World Cup upon his debut. One of the cleanest defenders around (he received a single red card in the 117 matches he played for San Lorenzo), this decisive goal during the Derby of Parque Patricios will be forever tattooed in Cuervo's retina.