There it is. Germany takes the World Cup, and we can all debate for the next four years if they deserved it or not. The 2014 World Cup was an up and down ride full of thrills and spills, decorated in particular with some superb individual performances. Without further-ado 'Freddy Adu,' we would like to present the Irish Central 2014 World Cup team of the tournament.
We went for a traditionally boring 4-4-2 formation, which might actually be a bold move considering some of the formations we saw in Brazil, like the 0-0-10 Germany employed for the last half hour against France, or the 1-2-1-1-1-1-2-1 Brazil appeared to try against Germany.
Let’s chop it up.
Tim Howard – USA
Howard was simply superb for the USA, leading the team from the back, pulling of some sensational saves and providing several of the goalkeeping highlights of the tournament. There is absolutely no doubt he also provided the beard of the tournament. Howard’s display against Belgium was literally the best goalkeeping display in World Cup history. You cannot top that. To add to all of that, he seems like a genuinely decent bloke and a fantastic teammate.
Ron Vlaar – Holland
Vlaar was absolutely immense for a Dutch team that was not supposed to be this good. Even people in Holland expected this to be a bridge-tournament, allowing some players to see their Dutch careers out, while breaking in some new talent. Vlaar had a big part to play in Holland almost making the final. He won everything in the air and his tackling was tenacious.
Daley Blind – Holland
Double Dutch! Blind was a swashbuckling menace raiding up the wing, whilst also tracking back energetically to perform his defensive duties. He caught the eye with a couple of beautiful assists and had one of the finest, most flowing haircuts of the tournament. A real delight to watch as a footballer.
Philipp Lahm – Germany
Lahm, despite playing on the flank, is the heart and soul of the German defense. As Lahm goes, Germany goes, and Lahm had a good tournament. He is one of the finest fullbacks in the world, and is about as consistent as you could ask for from a footballer. He appears to never, ever give the ball away.
Javier Mascherano – Argentina
For my money, the single best player in the entire tournament. Mascherano seemed to be on some kind of mythical, legendary mission throughout this World Cup, his effort and energy was absolutely astounding. He led Argentina with gusto and was the linchpin of one of the stingiest defenses in the tournament. His sheer energy was Roy Keane-esque, and he displayed an incredible engine, breaking up attack after attack. His tackle on Robben at the end of the Dutch game, saving Argentina from exit at the death, was the tackle of the tournament. One of the finest tackling footballers in world football right now, the man has the heart of an enormous Lion.
Arjen Robben – Holland
I know, I know, it is hard to appreciate him, isn’t it? His diving is horrendous. He would fit in very well on that German side from a diving perspective. His dive against Mexico was bad, and some of his diving against Argentina will in future appear in a diving text-book. It’s such a shame because he is, beneath it all, a fantastic attacking footballer, and he propelled Holland forward with his foraging cuts in from the wing. If only he could even ease off a little on the simulation.
James Rodriguez – Colombia
Rodriguez was undoubtedly the unexpected star of the tournament, and won the top scorer of the World Cup quite easily in the end. His wonderful chest and volley against Uruguay was, for my money, the goal of the tournament. It was an uplifting moment and announced both Rodriguez and Colombia as a serious contender in just one split second. If only FIFA had protected them a little from that absolutely philistinic Brazilian display.
Thomas Müller – Germany
It was Müller time. All tournament long.
Xherdan Shaquiri – Switzerland
The Swiss Messi did more than score a hat-trick against a limited team, he also engineered just about every good attacking moment the Swiss had in the tournament. He’s a wonderful talent and proved himself worthy of the highest of stages.
Lionel Messi – Argentina
Messi is taking a lot of heat for Higuain and Palacio’s misses in the final. Had either of those planks put away one of their chances we might be singing Messi’s praises instead of lamenting a lost chance for immortality. Let’s make one thing clear: without Messi’s goals, Argentina would have been out of the tournament at a much earlier stage.
Karim Benzema – France
If you take Messi out of the equation and insist Müller is a midfielder, not a striker, name one other forward who was as consistent and relatively successful in front of goal in the tournament as Benzema? This was a particularly poor tournament for strikers, with a disproportionate number of tournament goals coming from the midfield.
Benzema had a good tournament. Perhaps the only regret for French fans is, as is often the case with the enigmatic striker, you can tell there was more to come. Benzema could have easily scored 8 or even 9 goals. He had a goal cruelly taken away from him by a fastidious referee and he missed a penalty. He also missed about 6 or 7 very good chances. Having said all that, he led the French line well and looked dangerous, right up to the last minute against the Germans.
There it is, the Irish Central 2014 World Cup team of the tournament. Like it? Share it! Hate it? We would love to see who you would have picked instead. So head on down to the comment section and give us your team of the tournament! You have four years to get your team in, before the next tournament. We’re timing you. Go!