Backlines brace for showdowns
© AFP

Matchdays' 14 and 15 of the McDonald's FIFA World Cup Predictor include some make-or-break fixtures for a number of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ hopefuls. So, be sure to give your selections some thought and meet the deadlines.

Matchday 14 deadline: 10 October 2009, 06:00 (GMT)
Matchday 15 deadline 14 October 2009, 09:30 (GMT)

Best at the back
Italy's Fabio Grosso pipped Pepe of Portugal by one point to finish as Matchday 13's top defender. The Juventus left-back will now face Republic of Ireland in Dublin and Cyprus in Parma, while the Real Madrid centre-back will be in action at home to Hungary and Malta.

Russia's Sergei Ignashevich is one of competition's top five defenders, but his credentials will be given a stern examination when Germany visit Moscow on 10 October. Guus Hiddink's side will meet Azerbaijan in Baku four days later.

At a cost of only 1.5 units, Jose Henriquez of El Salvador proved a real bargain on Matchday 13, when he returned 13 points. The 22-year-old will now attempt to help preserve Los Cuscatlecos' qualification hopes in Mexico and at home to Honduras.

The century club

Spain's Joan Capdevilla is the highest-scoring defender on 102 points. Carlos Bocanegra of USA has also passed the century mark, and will look to bolster his score against Honduras and then Costa Rica.

A number of other defenders are within reach of the 100-point barrier, including Philipp Lahm (Germany), Marvin Gonzalez (El Salvador), Daniel Majstorovic (Sweden), Oguchi Onyewu (USA), Maynor Figueroa (Honduras) and Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia).

Safest hands
While almost 20 goalkeepers kept clean sheets on Matchday 13 - and ultimately finished level on 14 points apiece - a number proved extremely good value for money, including El Salvador's Miguel Montes (1.5 units), Kapango of Mozambique (2.5 units), Algerian Lounes Gaouaoui (4 units), Slovenia's Samir Handanovic (5 units) and Jan Mucha of Slovakia (5.5 units).

Coaching tips
Coaches whose teams carry lower positions on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking than their opponents earn more points. You also receive two points for each player that features in a match, and lose a point for each player that doesn't.

Some underdog coaches for Matchday 14: Guus Hiddink (Russia), Carlos De Los Cobos (El Salvador), Reinaldo Rueda (Honduras), Lars Lagerback (Sweden), Giovanni Trapattoni (Republic of Ireland), Matjaz Kek (Slovenia), Sixto Vizuete (Ecuador), Herve Renard (Zambia), Hassan Moumen (Morocco).

Some underdog coaches for Matchday 15: Oscar Tabarez (Uruguay), Russell Latapy (Trinidad and Tobago), Vladimir Weiss (Slovakia), Rabah Saadane (Algeria), Jean Thissen (Togo), Nigel Worthington (Northern Ireland), Hanspeter Zaugg (Liechtenstein).