Out of the 17 Chelsea players who will be heading to the World Cup, 4 of them will be representing the hosts, and will harbour genuine expectation to return back to Stamford Bridge as World Cup winners.
Oscar, David Luiz, Willian and Ramires will all represent the Selecao, under an ex-Blues boss in Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Though a €50m fee has been agreed with PSG, David Luiz is still on Chelsea’s books for now, and looks to be until the completion of the World Cup. Out of the four Brazillian Chelsea players, it is perhaps him who will feature most heavily in Scolari’s side.
Using a formation not too dissimilar to Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 set-up, Luiz will likely play in his natural centre back position alongside imminent team-mate Thiago Silva. With Luiz Gustavo playing ahead as a midfield anchor, expect him to drop back to allow Luiz to make the marauding runs that Chelsea fans have become familiar with over during his spell at the Bridge.
Oscar is another player who has the best chance making regular appearances on his home turf this summer. He will form part of a fearsome attacking triumvirate, linking up with Barcelona’s Neymar and Zenit St. Petersburg’s Hulk, often interchanging between the wide positions and the number 10 role as they look both score and create goals for Brazil’s main striker Fred.
Despite forcing his way into the 23-man squad, breaking into the starting 11 may prove a step too far for Ramires. The combative midfielder failed to make the Confederations Cup squad last year, does not look likely to oust either Gustavo or Tottenham’s Paulinho in the deeper midfield two. However, after a string of assured displays for Chelsea, Ramires will certainly provide able cover for them, and may be used to offer more a defensive approach when faced with an attacking side, with a likely match against Spain, The Netherlands or Chile in the Round of 16.
Of the four Chelsea Brazillians, Willian could be the wildcard. With only five caps to his name (three of them since his move from Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea), it is something of a surprise to see his name in the squad. However, Scolari clearly likes the attacker, and after a strong second half to the season at Chelsea, it is clear his pace, power and eye for goal could well be utilised by ‘Big Phil’ if Brazil find themselves up against it.
Brazil open the tournament against Croatia on Thursday 12th June, before playing Mexico on the 17th and completing their group games against Samuel Eto’o’s Cameroon on the 23rd. If Brazil top their group, they will play the runners-up of Group B (Spain, Netherlands, Chile and Australia) on Saturday 28th June, but should they finish 2nd, they will play the winners of Group B on Sunday 29th.