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An AC Milan fan’s guide to World Cup 2018

Who should you root for in the World Cup to support your club at the same time? We have the answers.

Soccer: FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

We are just days away from the World Cup kicking off in Russia, which is unbelievable and exciting. Unfortunately, for a good amount of us, we may not have a team to pull for, as both Italy and the United States missed out on the tournament. That being said, worry not, because AC Milan has a handful of players headed to Russia for their National Teams, hoping to bring home the most prestigious trophy of them all.

Argentina - Lucas Biglia

AC Milan v Benevento Calcio - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Biglia has made 57 appearances for Argentina’s National Team, and is projected to be a starter once again in the center of the midfield. He had an up and down season for Milan in his first season since moving from Lazio, but ended performing pretty well in the regista role. One thing to note about Argentina’s team is that while Leo Messi is there, so is Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain of Juventus. A positive note, however, is that Inter’s Mauro Icardi was left off the roster, so he will be watching the World Cup from home, which makes our lives as Milan fans that much easier. Mateo Musacchio was also an option for Argentina, but was not called into the final roster after not playing for a majority of the season.

Biglia’s Argentina is in Group D, alongside the likes of Iceland (June 16), Croatia (June 21), and Nigeria (June 26).

Colombia - Cristian Zapata and Carlos Bacca

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Zapata has made 54 appearances for Colombia and seems set to start alongside Davinson Sanchez in the defense. While he did not play a lot for Milan this season, he always seems to go into another gear for Colombia. Meanwhile, Bacca, who is returning from loan at Villareal (he has not been sold by the club yet), has 45 appearances and 14 goals, and will most likely sit behind Radamel Falcao (who has been linked to Milan) at the striker spot. One slight case against Colombia may be Juventus’ Juan Cuadrado, but the case of his is not nearly as strong as the aforementioned Argentines.

Zapata and Bacca are in Group H, and will play against Japan (June 19), Poland (June 25), and Senegal (June 28).

Croatia - Nikola Kalinic and Ivan Strinic

AC Milan v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Kalinic, despite his horrid season for Milan since moving from Fiorentina, has 41 caps for Croatia. He will not likely be the starter, as Mario Mandzukic is also on the team and is likely to start up front at the striker spot. However, Kalinic is likely to get some time as a substitute.

Strinic, on the other hand, has literally never played a match for Milan, but is moving to the club over the summer from Sampdoria. There’s not a lot to say about him in terms of a Milan player, but if you are sold on Croatia, he’s another name for the list. The case against Croatia, however, is that they not only have Mandzukic, but also Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic from Inter.

Croatia, with Kalinic and Strinic, will face Nigeria (June 16), Iceland (Juve 26), and clash with Biglia’s Argentina on June 21 in Group D.

Portugal - Andre Silva

Portugal v Switzerland - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Silva, although he fell short of expectations in his debut season for Milan since moving from Porto, is another player that goes into another gear for his National Team. He has 12 goals in 21 appearances for Portugal, playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. I am also pleased to report that Portugal has not called up any players from rival teams, unless you count Napoli’s Mario Rui (I don’t). I, for one, have picked Portugal as my team for this World Cup, and hope that Silva will not leave the club until at least after the tournament, if at all.

Silva will take on Spain (June 15), Morocco (June 20), and Iran (June 25) with Portugal in Group B.

Spain - Pepe Reina

Spain v Switzerland - International Friendly Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

This, like Strinic, is a weird one. I thought I would be talking about Spain for Suso, but Suso was not included in the roster for La Roja. Couple that with the confirmed reports that Reina will be moving to Milan this summer, and you have Spain on this list. Like Strinic, there is not a lot to say for this player to make a case for that National Team other than he is about to play for the club.

Reina and Spain will play Iran (June 20) and Morocco (June 25), with a battle against Silva and Portugal set for June 15 in Group B.

Switzerland - Ricardo Rodriguez

Northern Ireland v Switzerland - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: First Leg Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Rodriguez, who moved to Milan from Wolfsburg this past season and became the starting left-back, is a consistent starter for Switzerland and has 52 caps. He also scored the penalty kick that put Switzerland above Northern Ireland in the UEFA World Cup Playoff matches, which ended up being the difference. The case against Switzerland is that their captain is Juventus’ Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Switzerland has the misfortune of being in Group E, alongside Brazil (June 17), Serbia (June 22), and Costa Rica (June 27).

So there you have it, all the Milan players who are in the World Cup in Russia. Unfortunately, this does not include the following players, as their teams did not make it to the tournament:

  • Any of the Italian players (Gigio Donnarumma, Alessio Romagnoli, Andrea Conti, Leonardo Bonucci, Giacomo Bonaventura, Patrick Cutrone)
  • Hakan Calhanoglu (Turkey)
  • Franck Kessie (Ivory Coast)
  • Gustavo Gomez (Paraguay)

Meanwhile, here is a shout for the players who did not get called up by their teams who are heading to the World Cup:

  • Suso (Spain)
  • Mateo Musacchio (Argentina)

Now, you’re all set to watch the World Cup. If you’re like me, and your team(s) didn’t make it, you can join me in rooting for Milan’s players to have a good tournament, and hopefully not get hurt.