The Great Walls of Qatar 2022: Watch out for these defenders

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk is the crucial link in the Dutch defence. File photo: AFP/Maurice Van Steen

Defence holds the key to a team's success. The defenders need to be on top of their game for any team to make an impression in a competition as intense as the FIFA World Cup. Onmanorama picks five top defenders who will be on view at Qatar 2022.

Alphonso Davies (Canada)

Alphonso Davies
Alphonso Davies is a key player in the Canadian defence. File photo: AFP/Vaughn Ridley

The 21-year-old is a rock in the Canadian backline and his club German giants Bayern Munich. The left-back is rated as one of the best in the business. Canada are placed in a tough Group F along with European heavyweights Belgium, Croatia and African outfit Morocco. Davies has his task cut out for sure.

Kalidou Koulibaly ((Senegal)

Kalidou Koulibaly
Kalidou Koulibaly in action during a friendly against Iran last month. File photo: AFP/Jakub Sukup

The Senegalese has loads of experience with 64 caps to his name. The 31-year-old centre-back, who moved over to Chelsea this season from Napoli, is vital to Senegal's chances. The African champions will fancy their chances of progressing from Group A consisting of the Netherlanders, hosts Qatar and Ecuador. The onus is on Koulibaly to lead the Senegalese defence.

Marquinhos (Brazil)

Marquinhos reacts during the friendly against Tunisia in Paris on September 27, 2022. File photo: AFP/ Anne-Christine Poujoulat

The 28-year-old Paris St Germain captain will have a big role to play if Brazil are to win the Cup for a record-extending sixth time. The centre-back, along with captain Thiago Silva, make the Selecao backline tough to breach. He has so far represented the national team 71 times.

Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands)

 Lukaku & van Dijk
Belgium's Romelu Lukaku and Virgil van Dijk engaged in an aerial duel during their Nations League match on June 3, 2022. File photo: AFP/John Thys

The experienced centre-back adds solidity to the Dutch defence. The 31-year-old Liverpool player has earned 49 caps for the Oranje so far. He's physically very strong and is integral to the Dutch campaign. The Netherlands are placed in a relatively easy Group A and the real challenge for them will begin in the knockout phase.

Ruben Dias (Portugal)

Ruben Dias
Ruben Dias gestures during the Nations League match against Spainon September 27, 2022. File photo: AFP/Patricia De Melo Moreira

The Manchester City centre-back will be determined to make it a memorable outing after not featuring in any of Portugal's four games at Russia 2018. The 25-year-old has donned the national colours 39 times. Portugal are placed in a tricky Group H with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea being the other sides. Dias has to be in his element for sure.

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