Monday, 14 July 2014

Personal 2014 World Cup Team of the Tournament

A month has passed by and it saddens me that the FIFA World Cup won't be around for another 4 years. What we have witnessed in Brazil in the past 31 days though, were nothing short of magic and shocks. Now the sad realization that I need to get back to Uni and start a new semester will definitely pull me down.

Many surely would have predicted Germany to be eventual champions and England having another humiliating tournament, but no one would have bet high on seeing Algeria progressing further than Spain. You never thought the Costa Rica would progress from a group with Uruguay, Italy, and England, let alone win it. But the shock of the tournament must go to Brazil losing 1-7 to eventual winners Germany in a Semi-Final in their own country. Surely that goes down to one of the most humiliating match they've played ever.

As even teams shining the competition, there were definitely players who did not do their reputations any harm, as listed below will be 11 players who personally, are those that performed brilliant in this World Cup. My XI will be fitted in a 4-2-3-1 formation because Germany used it to win the whole thing, and because I want to.

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Germany)

Surely is now the best goalkeeper in the world. In a competition where most goalkeepers took the plaudits (Keylor Navas, Guillermo Ochoa, Tim Howard, Sergio Romero, Rais M'Bolhi... and I'm just naming a few here!), the German keeper performed the best, and his Golden Glove award was well deserved. At times, he would sweep attacks like Beckenbauer, but then make saves like Kahn. The ultimate definition of the ultra-modern goalkeeper.

Rightback: Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina)

Contrary to the competition of best goalkeeper, there weren't many rightbacks to choose from. But having said that, Zabaleta was incredibly solid at defending against wingers as well as marauding the opponents box. It was a close choice between him and Germany captain Phillipp Lahm, but my choice fell to the best fullback in the Premier League as Lahm only played at this position for 3 matches, while being mediocre in midfield.

Centreback: Mats Hummels (Germany)

2 years ago, I slotted him in my Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament, and he's still a favorite of mine to date. Not only did he kept goals from coming, he managed to score 2 as well. It also doesn't kill to have a face like Orlando Bloom too. If the Ballon d'Or was based on looks, he would be a close second to France's Olivier Giroud.

Centreback: Ron Vlaar (Netherlands)

An Aston Villa defender who could actually defend, and he only showed it in the World Cup. He's one of those few cases that club form means nothing for national team as he did his best Gandalf impression for the Dutch all tournament long because no one was getting passed him that easily. Of all the players who surprised me the most in this World Cup, it had to be Vlaar and his for Feyenoord team-mates in defense (Stefan de Vrij & Bruno Martins Indi) who were sought to be the weak link in the team. Kudos to Ron!

Leftback: Daley Blind (Netherlands)

Again, everyone would have different opinions who the best leftback was in the tournament. Others would pick Argentina's Marcos Rojo or Germany's Benedikt Howedes, maybe even someone out of the ordinary like Mexico's Miguel Layun, but mine goes to non other than the guy whose name sounds like a news tabloid written in Braille. 2 assists in Oranje's 5-1 thrashing of Spain, including a goal against Brazil, on top of a cheeky smirk to boot, he definitely takes my vote (but not my heart just yet. That still belongs to Giroud).

Centremidfield: Javier Mascherano (Argentina)

The nation's best player in the World Cup by a mile. While Di Maria was injured since the semifinals, Masch single handedly kept Argentina in the game against the Netherlands. Even if he mostly plays as a defender for club, he definitely is a natural defensive midfielder as shown by his leading performances in the knockout rounds. The only thing missing was a gold medal, but he'll get a lot of them back with Barcelona.

Centremidfield: Toni Kroos (Germany)

The gap left by Pirlo in the knockout rounds was filled marvelously by Toni. He might not have the greatest performance in the final, but he was almost certainly the German's best midfielder in the World Cup with mouth-watering deliveries that lead to goals, to scoring a quick double in the semis against Brazil. If I was to give the Golden Ball to anyone in the tournament, no one deserved it more than Kroos.

Attacking Midfielder: James Rodriguez (Colombia)

Honestly, although he cost 45M from FC Porto to AS Monaco, he was never in my radar apart on Football Manager. But a month after, despite not being a forward, and the most debatable first name pronunciation, won the Golden Boot award after scoring 6 goals in 5 matches, including the Goal of the Tournament in a Round of 16 match against Uruguay. Probably was a shame that his Colombia side could not reach the semifinals, otherwise Hamez (or Jaimz if you prefer) might have scored more.

Right Wing: Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

In the group stages, despite being 29 and bald, no one could keep up with his pace as defenders were left for dead in a foot race with Robben. On top of 3 goals and 1 assist, he won the decisive penalty against Mexico where he graciously fell on purpose and secured a Quarterfinal berth. Despite all the controversy surrounding him, he had a brilliant tournament which could have - and should have - scored more.

Left Wing: Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Despite given the Golden Ball award from FIFA and wasn't even Argentina's best player in the World Cup (see Mascherano), there is no doubt that his country would never go through past the Group Stages if it wasn't for their beloved captain that is Lionel Messi. Four time Ballon d'Or winner just edges out club teammate Neymar and former club teammate Alexis Sanchez for a spot for his heroics and influence through out the tournament, even if he was out-marked in every knockout match.

Centre forward: Thomas Muller (Germany)

If Karim Benzema's France won against Germany in the Quarterfinals, we might not be even talking about Muller. 2010's Golden Boot winner, Thomas started the tournament with a hat-trick against Portugal in a false-nine role, eventually leaving Brazil with a tally of 5. And when he wasn't scoring, he was either making them or making space for his teammates to score. Muller's intelligence in the final to create space for Gotze to score the winner was the perfect interpretation of a false-nine you would ever see. Probably Muller would have deserved that Golden Ball accolade more than Messi does, but Muller would not mind at all if he wins the biggest prize in the end - as a World Cup winner.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO basically that was my team. If you made it hear, thank you for reading and wouldn't hurt listen to your opinions.