Our team of the tournament


Africansportonline's Tunde Coker has selected his team of the tournament, and it doesn't include Brazil pin-up boy Neymar.

Instead German pragmatism rules the day with Thomas Mueller playing up front as one three Germans in a 3-1-4-2 formation.

I'd also have a German manager in the shape of the US coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Goalkeeper. Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)

One notable aspect of the tournament has been the consistently high standard of goalkeeping and any of half a dozen could have staked a claim.

Navas and Neuer have their fans and Enyeama only blotted his copybook with the first French goal in the last 16. Ochoa gets the nod for me some after terrific performances in the group stages against Brazil, Cameroon and Croatia. He also made that save in a lifetime from Neymar's header. He nearly broke Dutch hearts in the last 16.

Centre back. Mats Hummels (Germany)

Whether alongside Per Mertesacker in the group stage or Jerome Boateng in the knockout games, Hummels has been an immense presence for Germany and also weighed in with two goals.

Centre back. Thiago Silva (Brazil)

His importance to the Brazil team became shockingly apparent when, with him absent through suspension they were run ragged by Germany in the 7-1 semi-final defeat. A vital strand of stability among his more attack-minded colleagues, he will long regret the moment of stupidity that earned him a second tournament booking in the quarter-final against Colombia.

Centre back. Ron Vlaar (Netherlands)

Aston Villa fans call him Roncrete. He didn't give Messi a sniff in the semi-final with a performance that should have seen him man of the match. Confident and strong with a thou shall not pass attitude.


Midfielder. Javier Mascherano (Argentina)

An absolute rock in midfield for Argentina, Mascherano is the sort of player, physically and emotionally, that all great teams have. He has boundless energy and a huge appetite for destroying opposition attacks but, with maturity, he has learned how to do it without giving away endless free kicks. Look at his perfect tackle in the semi-final on Robben


Midfielder. Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

Again proved himself the go-to man with his driving run - and controversial tumble - that earned a last-gasp penalty to beat Mexico in the second round. Was superb in the opening demolition of Spain, showing athletic control and amazing five-metre pace, and has three goals, but his tournament ended on a low as he was unable to find any space against Argentina.


Midfielder. James Rodriguez (Columbia)

Rodriguez is short odds to be named player of the tournament.

Six goals in five games plus a handful of assists are merely the bare statistics of a performance of remarkable confidence for a player who turns 23 on Saturday.

His brilliant turn and volley to set Colombia on their way to victory over Uruguay in the second round is a strong contender for goal of the tournament and Rodriguez rightly returned to a hero's welcome after playing well and scoring a penalty in the quarter-final loss to Brazil.

Midfielder. Toni Kroos (Germany)

Has every pass in the book and with only a year left on his contract at Bayern one of the most wanted players in Europe. Kroos has been the catalyst for many of Germany's attacks, setting up three and of course scoring two goals.

Midfielder. Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Arsenal have paid £30 million plus for the Chile winger and his World Cup delays suggest he'll be worth every penny. Power, creativity and quality are what he brings to the party.

Forward. Thomas Mueller (Germany)

Followed up his five-goal 2010 World Cup with another five in Brazil, including a hat-trick in the 4-0 group stage win over Portugal. Mueller has looked sharp and mobile throughout the tournament, not only as a goal threat but also in combination with his team mates, and was a key figure in the semi-final destruction of Brazil.


Forward: Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Messi scored his first World Cup goal in eight years in the opening win over Bosnia and went on to get three more in the group stage, including a brilliant left-foot shot to beat Iran.

He has not found the net in their three knockout games - other than a penalty in the shootout win over the Netherlands - as opponents have swarmed all over him. However, Messi has still looked dangerous and has delivered some sublime passes.

The stage is set for him to secure his status as the world's best player by producing one more top drawer performance in the most important match of his life against Germany in Sunday's final.

 

Login Form

ITPSocialButtons

Share this post

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn