After a month of goals, tension, drama and a little controversy, I pick my World Cup team of the tournament- feel free to disagree!
Goalkeeper-Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Despite some pretty stiff competition from Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas who enjoyed an excellent tournament, the German stopper wins out. Commanding in the box, great distribution skills, and excellent shot stopping, Neuer confirmed his status as the World’s best keeper.
Right-back- Phillip Lahm (Germany)-
Solid defensively and dangerous in attack, a first World title was a fitting reward for the experienced 30 year-old. Starring in his third World Cup, he showed his versatility by slotting in as a sitting midfielder during the campaign as well.
Centre-back- Giancarlo Gonzalez (Costa Rica)-
Only CONCAF aficionados would have heard of the 26 year-old a month ago, but an outstanding tournament has thrust the Columbus crew defender into the limelight. Made crucial tackles, got forward when he could, was excellent in the air, and marshalled his team’s defensive line.
Centre-back- Mats Hummel (Germany)-
Outstanding against France in the Quarter-final, the Borussia Dortmund defender was generally solid throughout. Good positionally, strong in the air and comfortable on the ball, Hummels impressed in his first World Cup.
Left-back- Daley Blind (Netherlands)-
Defended well throughout and delivered some excellent crosses from the left. A threat going forward, the Ajax defender capped off a fine tournament with a goal in his side’s 3rd place play-off win over Brazil.
Midfielder- Javier Mascherano (Argentina)
The 30 year-old hardman enjoyed a superb tournament, especially excelling in the latter stages as Argentina reached their first World Cup final in 24 years. While as combative as ever, the Barcelona Midfielder also exhibited his passing abilities. Battle with Schweinsteiger was compelling.
Midfielder- Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)
Excellent throughout but enjoyed an even better final where he enjoyed a titanic battle with Mascherano and showed that he can not only attack but defend as well. Showed commitment to cause by coming back on after nasty Aguero elbow.
Attacking Midfielder- Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
A constant threat who always looked to beat his man, Robben’s pace and trickery was a nightmare for opposition defences. Dive against Mexico only blot on his copybook.
Attacking Midfielder- Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Despite not hitting the heights he has for Barcelona, the World’s best player still enjoyed his best World Cup so far. Created more chances than anyone else at the tournament and only Italy’s Andrea Pirlo played as many through balls. Important goals and pass of the tournament against Switzerland were key in Argentina’s run to the final.
Attacking Midfielder- James Rodriguez (Colombia)
Star of the tournament: netted six times to pick up Golden boot award including goal of the tournament. Vision, passing, skill and finishing lit up tournament. Should have won Golden Ball.
Centre-Forward- Thomas Muller (Germany)
Scored 5 goals for second consecutive World Cup and was consistency personified. Created chances, worked his socks off and was a constant threat for opposition. Can beat Klose’s World Cup goals record.