HeldTogetherByStaples’ World Cup XI and Awards

Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas

Keylor_Navas-Jamaicachiilkubad

Source: thehardtackle.com

Despite huge competition for Manuel Neuer, Navas deserves the recognition for what was a string of terrific performances by the 27-year-old. Continuing his magnificent form for Levante this past season, Navas was the lynch pin in his Costa Rica side’s surprising run to the quarter finals of the World Cup. He’s likely to get a big move this summer and it’s not surprising, he showed both his shot-stopping ability and his agility to get off his line in every single game.

 

Left Back: Ricardo Rodriguez

Source: Inside Spanish Football

Source: Inside Spanish Football

There hasn’t been too many great performances from left backs in this tournament but Ricardo Rodriguez showed his enormous quality in every game. He was instrumental in Switzerland’s win against Ecuador and in the round of 16 he was a brick wall that Argentina couldn’t find a way past. He will have plenty of suitors this summer but Wolfsburg will be hopeful they can keep the 21-year-old in Germany and the best might be yet to come from this Rodriguez.

 

Centre Back: Mats Hummels

Source: The Telegraph

Source: The Telegraph

A player that had a few injury worries coming into the tournament, Mats Hummels showed exactly why he’s regarded as one of the best defenders in the world. He didn’t make many mistakes, he was a real danger in the opponent’s box and was a key player in the German’s success. He’ll go back to Dortmund safe in the knowledge that he’s had a great tournament and they will hope he can continue that form back in the Bundesliga next season.

 

Centre Back: Ron Vlaar

Source: Dafabetsports.com

Source: Dafabetsports.com

Concrete Ron was almost unbeatable in this year’s World Cup and was the integral middle man in the Dutch team’s three man back line. He completely stopped world class footballers like Diego Costa and Lionel Messi, never looking suspect whilst challenging for every ball in the air and on the ground. He was sublime and Paul Lambert will hope that he can help inspire Aston Villa in the upcoming season but they might have to fight off some interest before the season starts.

 

Right Back: Philipp Lahm

 

Source: faz.net

Source: faz.net

One of the very best players in the world, whilst Philipp Lahm started the World Cup in midfield he showed just why he’s regarded as the best full back playing today. He was strong both in attack and defence, providing the German side with great width and leadership that was instrumental in their victory. It’s strange to think that Lahm hasn’t got much more to prove in the game but that won’t stop him, could he be a contender for the Ballon D’or next year? I wouldn’t bet against him.

 

Centre Mid: Arturo Vidal

Source: Sky Sports

Source: Sky Sports

Chile were as good as everyone secretly expected to be and they were personified by the excellent Arturo Vidal. Arguably the best box-to-box midfielder in the world right now, the Juventus man took a stranglehold in every game he was involved in and his warrior spirit helped him get over a few injuries to play a big part in Chile’s very good tournament. He’s still wanted by other big clubs around Europe but he will be hungry to win more silverware in Italy should no suitors make their interest concrete.

 

Centre Mid: Javier Mascherano

Source: mensjournal.com

Source: mensjournal.com

Despite having been a centre back for the past few seasons in Barcelona, Javier Mascherano proved yet again why he’s one of the best defensive midfielders in the modern game. He was superb, adding protection to a suspect back line that really grew in confidence thanks to the security that Mascherano gave them. He might have given out a few tough tackles but he really performed when his team needed him most, his tackle on Arjen Robben was easily the best challenge of the tournament.

 

Centre Attacking Mid: James Rodriguez

Source: cricketcounty.com

Source: cricketcounty.com

A star was born in Brazil, some already knew his qualities after his season with Monaco but James Rodriguez exploded on the world scene in 2014 and should have been rewarded with the Golden Ball. Scoring six and adding two assists, James helped a Falcao-less Columbia still have a terrific tournament because of his sublime talents both on and off the ball. He barely lost the ball, there were alarm bells for defenders every time he touched the ball and he scored an outrageous goal that will live long in the memory.

 

Winger: Arjen Robben

Source: ESPN

Source: ESPN

Some people a few years ago felt that Arjen Robben was on the decline, they couldn’t have been more wrong. He was a constant danger throughout the tournament, demanding the ball so that he could scare defenders with his still frightening pace even at the age of 31. He was certainly a contender for the best player of the tournament and a few more goals would have given James a run for his money, Robben proved his world class ability yet again on the biggest stage.

 

Winger: Lionel Messi

Source: Telegraph

Source: Telegraph

Undoubtedly the best of a generation and will go down as one of the greats with or without the World Cup, Messi produced moments of real magic exactly when Argentina needed them. Four excellent finishes in the group stages helped a slow starting side through what was an easy group and despite not scoring during the knockout rounds, his driving runs and unbelievable passing ability drove them forward. For most, he wasn’t quite the best player of the tournament but he proved that if you allow him an inch of space, he will punish you.

 

Striker: Thomas Muller

Source: ESPN

Source: ESPN

It’s surprising that so many are still reluctant to admit what should be a well known fact, Thomas Muller is a world class footballer up there with the best. Hard-working, clever and clinical, Muller was a constant threat and early on looked to drive Germany forward as the rest of the squad grew in confidence. At 24, he has a real chance to absolutely smash Klose’s World Cup goals record and there might not be a player more deserving than the young Munich man.

 

 

Player of the Tournament: James Rodriguez

The stand-out star, he has a huge future ahead of him and we will all look forward to him delighting us with his ability again and again and again.

 

Young Player of the Tournament: Memphis Depay

Would have been James had someone stepped up in the Final but Depay was a real impact player for the Dutch. Also has a big future, showed no fear and has a bright future in the Netherland’s set-up.

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