A Motley Fool’s World Cup XI

The global game’s greatest show kicks off in Brazil on Thursday, yes the competition some say is even bigger than State of Origin is sure to see some emotional highs and GFC-like lows for soccer fans everywhere.

After awarding the next two tournaments to Russia and Qatar, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has moved to assure sceptical fans that FIFA is now “setting the highest standards for corporate governance in world sport”. Qatar with an average daily high of 41ºC in July and year-round booze ban doesn’t sound this Fool’s idea of fun, but what if the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) were to send its finest to play in Brazil? Well it would need a balance of attack, defence and workhorses to lift the trophy. Fortunately, I’ve found that balance.

A safe pair of hands is required in goal and none better than the international custodian to Australia, Sydney Airport Holdings Ltd  (ASX: SYD). With a 5.3% yield and strong competitive advantages this one will save you from the paltry returns available on cash savings.

Left back is crowd pleaser Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX: LNG) up an astonishing 320% in three months, this $484 million business has the fans excited about its potential to capitalise on booming LNG export markets worldwide. A future captain over a four to five-year time horizon.

At centre back is Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd  (ASX: FLT), good in the air and with potential to intimidate opponents, it’s the perfect partner and role model for youngster Corporate Travel Management Ltd (ASX: CTD). Another travel industry high flyer to buy for the future.

Right back is the Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) which is said to be intent on expanding into Brazil itself. Founder Frank Lowy is football mad and should have a trophy asset there soon enough.

Left wing and captain is Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: QAN). Setting new all-time share price highs this week, if anyone can, Commbank Can.

In centre midfield is BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP). A company perfect for a hard shift at the coal face. For the nine months ending March 31 2014, petroleum production increased by 16%, driven by a 71% increase in its fast-growing onshore US operations. It recently donated US$250,000 to the American Red Cross to support Tornado relief in Arkansas. Joining it will be workhorse Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: RIO), an experienced team player with potential for some defensive insurance or more attacking plays.

Flying up the right wing for decades is Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN), with chief executive Alan Joyce keen to avoid the own goals and partial to the occasional dogfight, this selection should give the team some bite.

Mercurial performer and centre forward Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) appears to have goal scoring potential all over the pitch with its ability to develop lucrative new casinos in giant Asian markets. Selling for $15.35 it’s trading on around 17 times projected earnings and looks a potential Golden Boot winner from here.

Strike partner SEEK Limited (ASX: ANZ) simply dominates the opposition when playing at home and posted a spectacular 29% boost in profit, 38% rise in revenue, and 40% increase in dividend payout for the half year to December 2013. The potential of Seek’s Asian assets draws a lot of investor attention, but the jewel in its international crown may be its 51% ownership in Brazil Online, which achieved 47% EBITA growth for the half year to December 2013.

The manager is ASX Limited (ASX: ASX), a disciplinarian none of the players will want to fall foul of in the quest to prove they have what it takes to win the greatest sporting prize on earth.

Indeed, soccer can be a hard game to predict, but this little known ASX company has already delivered eight consecutive years of profit and dividend growth... but with even more growth ahead, the shares are still a firm "BUY" today! Discover The Motley Fool's #1 dividend pick in our newly updated report. Simply click here for your FREE copy right now.


Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson owns shares in Sydney Airport, Westfield Group, Flight Centre and Corporate Travel Management. You can find him on Twitter @tommyr345

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