The Teams of the Group – World Cup 2014

The World Cup group stage finished yesterday after two weeks of breathtaking action. With so many twists and turns, myself and first time contributor @FussballMundial have each picked the best eleven players from the group stages for our “Teams of the Group”…

@FussballMundial

FussballMundial World Cup XI

Honourable Mentions:
  • Serge Aurier
  • Alexis Sanchez
  • Karim Benzema
  • Oscar
  • Vincent Enyeama
  • Jose Juan Vasquez
  • Juan Cuadrado

“I don’t think I’m alone in saying that this has been an outstanding World Cup. Sadly, the group stage has come to an end. A group stage which has truly spoiled us, for the most part, with fantastic games, unpredictable upsets and an abundance of goals. But more important games lie ahead and the excitement is only building.

One of the things I enjoy most about the World Cup is casting an eye over somewhat lesser known players and those whom I don’t get to see on a regular basis. Players who ply their trade in Central and South American leagues in particular, fall under this category. Players such as Columbus Crew and Costa Rican centre back Giancarlo Gonzalez and Club Leon midfielder Jose Juan Vasquez representing El Tri, who have been very impressive and with that, have emerged from the unknown shadows they once inhabited. Costa Rica and Mexico have both surprised me with their performances in this World Cup and having lived in the former nation last year, I have pledged my footballing allegiance to Los Ticos.
It’s a great opportunity for such players to impress in front of potential onlooking suitors. The whole footballing world is fixated on Brazil at the moment and the chance of improving their career prospects, as well as achieving success with their country, are huge motives to perform well. 
What else has made this World Cup such a great spectacle is the big name players have stepped up to plate and performed. Well, most of them. Poor performances from Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney aside, the top earners have delivered. Lionel Messi has produced the magic we hoped he would, Neymar has shown exquisite moments of individual skill, and Arjen Robben can be compared to a fine wine, improving with age.
So in making my World Cup group stage XI, I’ve taken the above factors into consideration and combined them.”
The Long Ball
World Cup XI 1
Honourable Mentions:
  • Juan Cuadrado (Colombia)
  • Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)
  • Tim Cahill (Australia)
  • Mario Yepes (Colombia)
  • Lionel Messi (Argentina)
  • Thomas Muller (Germany)
  • Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

“Brazil 2014 will without doubt go down in history as one of the great tournaments based purely on the group stage alone. After some of the drab, stale football of four years ago (especially that final) this has been a breath of fresh air. And I am in total agreement with @FussballMundial that some of the real stars of the tournament have been some of the lesser known players. Players like the Gonzalezs and Vazquezs he mentioned have shot to prominence and helped their sides do some great things in this tournament. It’s for that reason that many of the big names have missed out from my team.

Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas was beaten once (from the penalty spot) in a group containing Cavani, Balotelli, Rooney and a number of other great players which speaks volumes about how well he (and the defence in front of him) played in the group stage which is why he is in goals ahead of Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa. In front of him are the Mexican pair of Hector Moreno – who has been solid and looks set to move to a bigger club this summer – and the reinvigorated Rafael Marquez, who is captaining the side at a fourth World Cup and has not once shown his age. Daley Blind of the Netherlands is in at left back after his outstanding performances so far, most notably in that drubbing of the Spanish, while Fabian Johnson of the United States goes in at right back after his tireless running and consistent performances in the so called “group of death”. Hector Herrera (Mexico) and Jermaine Jones (USA) are the two holding midfielders who will have a licence to get forward and help out with their creativity as well as work hard for the team. Brazil’s Neymar will start on the left as he has been the bright spark of a rather flat opening from the hosts while Croatia’s Ivan Perisic gets the nod on the right ahead of Arjen Robben after his tireless performances and excellent, consistent delivery from the wide areas. James Rodriguez of Colombia will start in the number 10/playmaker role as he has been possibly the best player at the tournament so far and he will be looking to provide service for an in form Karim Benzema who has looked like a completely different player during the tournament.”

Those are the teams we have picked. Do you agree with those decisions? What is your team of the group? Tweet us @LongBallFoot or @FussballMundial and let us know.

As always, stay tuned for more content from The Long Ball coming soon.

Thanks!

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