The World Cup is over. Some of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the fact that full blown international football will not be on our TVs tomorrow. This tournament is being touted as the best one in memory, although subjective, hard to argue against. The crew here at Soccer Yanks, put their heads together and came up with whom they felt represented the best XI at the World Cup. There is a shocking (maybe not) name left off.
Manuel Neuer – The sweeper keeper and arguably the most important piece of the German machine.
Philipp Lahm – “He would have been in the midfield of the best XI, but Jogi Löw saw the wisdom of adding him as the right back and sixth midfielder in possession. Despite the move in the final 3 World Cup games, he finished with the most passes completed.” – Jay (@RescindedRed)
Ron Vlaar – At the onset of the tournament I doubt many would have pegged Aston Villa man, Vlaar as a potential Best XI, but his role in the Dutch backline provided pivotal to reaching the Semifinals.
Mats Hummels – Lead all defenders in goals. Valuable goals in fact for the German’s, but besides his attacking prowess, his presence in the backline went a long way to make the highline very effective.
Daley Blind – “More midfielder than defender, but in the land of blind leftbacks the man with one eye is king. It’s not a commentary on his tournament, which was excellent, more of a criticism of the weakness in the leftback position. Need a stat to confirm his quality? 428 pass attempts at 82%.” – Jay (@RescindedRed)
Bastian Schweinsteiger – Once he hit full steam, Lahm was pushed back to defense, and Schweinsteiger became the necessary linchpin in the German midfield. His technical ability, experience and above all leadership paid dividends when it mattered most.
Javier Mascherano – Defensive midfielder all others should use as their highwater mark. Arguably the most important Argentine at the tournament.
Thomas Müller – “Müller is the product of great play around him which he finishes or finds himself giving the final pass. When he’s not finishing or yelling for fouls he’s typical not adding much else.” – Jay (@RescindedRed)
James Rodriguez – For the casuals this tournament was a breakout for Rodriguez, for those in tune with the workings of Portuguese and recently French football, you saw this coming. Most likely to hit a massive payday.
Arjen Robben – “Arjen remained strong as Robin van Persie vanished once the knockout round began. He was one of the few forwards that were able to threaten without scoring a goal. Extra credit for being the only forward and one of three players to play every minute in 7 games.” – Jay (@RescindedRed)
Neymar – His importance to Brazil physically on the field, and psychologically will be the talking point of Brazilian football for years to come, as theologians, sociologists, school teachers, journalists, trainers, lawyers, doctors, garbage men and coaches study the gruesome way Brazil exited the tournament.