Thursday, 1 July 2010
World Cup XI thus far….
We are down to the final 8 teams in the 2010 World Cup and the football is steadily improving with every round. The last round threw up plenty of goals mixed in with a couple of very tight games and one eventually decided by penalties. Although opinions appear to be divided on how good the tournament has been it is these games that will define the competition.
Although it is slightly too early to be talking about a team of the tournament thus far it is nevertheless interesting to consider. I would start with the German keeper Manuel Neuer, at 24 he certainly lacks experience at this level having only won 9 caps so far. He had a unsteady 5 minutes against England but has otherwise looked more assured than most. The full backs I would opt for would be Maicon and Coentrao for Portugal who has looked very promising. He is currently playing for Benfica but there will surely be contact from bigger clubs at the end of this competition. The centre backs would have to be Bruno Alves of Portugal and John Mensah of Ghana. Both are big strong centre backs who read the game very intelligently and whose positional ability has enabled them to avoid any real threats.
The defensive midfield position is between Sergio Busquets of Spain and Anthony Annan of Ghana. The fact that Annan has had to fill in for Essien is one thing, but the fact that they haven’t missed him is why I would opt for Annan in that position. It is surely a matter of time before he is playing in one of the stronger leagues in Europe which will further his development. He would be partnered in midfield by Xavi and Schweinsteiger. Both have been instrumental in their team’s progress to the last 8 and the German especially has really stood out as one of the players of the tournament so far. In the whole behind the strikers I would pick Mesut Ozil who has been simply breathtaking at some points. He is not the best technically or even physically but his ability to find space and create space for his team mates has been unparalleled.
The attack options are relatively straight forward. David Villa of Spain is partnered by his new club team mate Lionel Messi. Villa has once again demonstrated at the highest level that he is a truly exceptional striker and most of Europe will already be terrified about these 2 playing together for Barcelona next season. Although Messi hasn’t scored he looked great in the initial stages and his first world cup goal is surely not far away.
Maicon Alves B. Mensah Coentrao