My World Cup dream team

2014-07-13 15:00

Spain’s early exit from the tournament has somehow made it easier to leave their flops out of the best XI.

No less than four of their players made it to the team of the tournament after they lifted the trophy in Joburg four years ago. Captain Iker Casillas, Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi made the team then.

A new generation has emerged this year – with some scintillating displays – to be in the 2014 dream team.

Goalkeepers

Four goalkeepers – Tim Howard, Sergio Romero, Keylor Navas and Manuel Neuer – shone in Brazil.

The 28-year-old Neuer – who came second behind Casillas in 2010 – has upped his game in Brazil and helped Germany reach tonight’s final.

Although he faces stiff competition from Argentinian number one Romero, who stopped two penalties in the semifinals against the Netherlands, Neuer gets the nod ahead of the others because of their failure to help their teams advance further in the tournament.

Defenders

Not many would bet against German captain Philipp Lahm at right back – he has led by example throughout the tournament.

Dutch left back Daley Blind has had a blinder of a tournament and helped his team reach the top four.

Central defenders will be Brazil captain Thiago Silva and Germany’s Mats Hummels. It was clear when Germany demolished Brazil 7-1 on Tuesday that they missed not only the leadership of Silva but his aerial power at the back. Hummels has been a pillar for Germany as well and pips the Netherlands’ Ron Vlaar for a starting berth at centre back.

Midfielders

Javier Mascherano deserves a place in the team. But it was a tough choice to make between the Barcelona player and Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has also been outstanding in central midfield.

Mascherano, who can also help in defence – as he does at Barcelona – should be complemented by his captain Lionel Messi when Mascherano attacks. And with the pace of Arjen Robben and the trickery of Neymar on the flanks, they should be able to provide and also score goals as they have already shown in this tournament. Neymar proved himself a match-winner, almost single-handedly carrying Brazil until he was injured in the quarterfinals against Colombia. His absence against Germany was felt beyond the pitch.

Forwards

With 11 goals between them, James Rodríquez and Thomas Müller are the obvious choices to lead the attack. They have six and five goals, respectively.

Coach

Joachim Löw was the overwhelming favourite to coach this team. He made Germany play as a unit. The Netherlands’ Louis van Gaal impressed with his ability to change tactics in one game. Argentina’s Alejandro Sabella brought out the best in Messi.

World Cup dream team

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