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7/06/2006 12:48:00 PM
Best of the best
Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro may be the MVP of the entire World Cup.
Posted by Grant Wahl
BERLIN -- So here it is: My World Cup Best XI (subject to change depending on this weekend's games).
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon, Italy
Well, this should end any debate over who's the best goalkeeper on the planet. It's not just that Gigi has allowed no opposing player to score on him in the World Cup; he also has an aura about him that scares the pants off most forwards.
Runner-up: Jens Lehmann, Germany.
Right back: Gianluca Zambrotta, Italy
The Ben Affleck twin barely gets the nod over France's Willy Sagnol thanks to a slightly bigger role in his team's attack. Zambrotta wasn't even assured of playing when this World Cup started, but he has oozed class each and every minute.
Centerback: Fabio Cannavaro, Italy
Cannavaro may be the MVP of this World Cup. Playing without his normal partner Alessandro Nesta, our favorite John Starks fan has kept the Azzurri's back line impregnable. What's most amazing about watching Cannavaro in person is how he makes up for his lack of height with a sick leaping ability that allows him to reach balls in the air before taller center forwards.
Runner-up: John Terry, England.
Centerback: Lilian Thuram, France
Which creaky 34-year-old has been more instrumental in France's astonishing run to the final: Zinédine Zidane or Thuram? It's hard to say. Both have been brilliant in this tournament, rescuing a team that floundered without them during World Cup qualifying.
Runner-up: Ricardo Carvalho, Portugal.
Left back: Philipp Lahm, Germany
From the tournament's first game, when Lahm hit a cracking goal from long range, he has been a revelation. I could have easily given this to Italy's Fabio Grosso, who scored the magical game-winner against Germany, but I'm penalizing him for his blatant dive in the box that sank Australia.
Defensive midfielder: Michael Essien, Ghana
I know, I know, Essien only played in three games. But he was an absolute rock in all three, and his undeserved yellow-card suspension made a huge difference in the Black Stars' elimination to Brazil.
Runner-up: Patrick Vieira, France.
Attacking central midfielder: Zinédine Zidane, France
Could Zizou have asked for any more of a fairy-tale ending to his magnificent career? Not if he can lead Les Bleus to its second World Cup on Sunday.
Runner-up: Juan Román Riquelme, Argentina.
Right midfielder: Franck Ribery, France
Amazingly, the 23-year-old Marseille star had never played for France before this World Cup. You sure can't tell by watching him. A mesmerizing dribbler with pace and imagination, Ribery will be a Les Bleus stalwart for years to come.
Runner-up: Maxi Rodríguez, Argentina.
Left midfielder: Joe Cole, England
One of the few England players who didn't disappoint, Cole scored perhaps the best goal of the World Cup against Sweden.
Runner-up: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal.
Forward: Miroslav Klose, Germany
The favorite to win the Golden Boot with five goals, Klose has been a lethal finisher for Deutschland at the past two World Cups.
Runner-up: Ronaldo, Brazil.
Forward: Hernán Crespo, Argentina
It's a sign of the generally poor finishing in this tournament that Crespo would make the list, but if France's Thierry (I've Been Offside 587 Times) Henry has a good game on Sunday he'll take over this spot instead.
Coach: Guus Hiddink, Australia
Not much you can do but tip your cap to the Dutch master, whose last three World Cup include two semifinal runs (with Holland and South Korea) and a second-round trip with the Socceroos (which might even be more impressive than the first two achievements).
Runner-up: Marcello Lippi, Italy.
Not much to argue there but I would like to give an honorable mention to the Angola keeper, Joao Ricardo, who doesnt have a contract with a pro team, but I think that is about to change...he came up with some Very good saves.
How can you not even mention Pirlo? All Italy offense is going through him and he defended well too. It's not a stretch to say without Pirlo Italy would not have made it to the final. I’ll give Cole and Ribery prop for energy, but frankly I’ll take Pirlo’s cool, calm passes on a dime over their running around. Riquelme was great for two games but didn’t do much when the knock-out round started. I think you really shortchanged Pirlo here.
uhhhhh how can you leave out ze roberto? a midfielder that can attack and plays outstanding defense. you have to make room for him on this liist. you cant leave him out because brasil failed to live up to ithe lofty expectations fo the public.
Right call on Essien! In the first round, he dominated the whole Italian midfield (Gattuso-less) by himself, adding almost 10 shots on goal... Gattuso and Vieira (and that's a French guy speaking) have had an brilliant WC but a brilliant player shouldn't get the nod over a guy playing like two :-)
Zidane has had one good game and a couple of touches in other two games, Henry is a much better player (nowadays...)
It seems like you forgot a lot of good players that didn't have a team behind them. Who cares about John Terry? He could have made a difference (playing for england), but didn't! so what is he doing on the list?
Grant: On the whole a good job, obviously there'll be differences from person to person as to who makes the cut, e.g. you had a slight bias for the teams still in it (France/Italy) but oh well...My real criticism as a lover of the beautiful game since childhood (Not in America), why do you insist on using American sports terms like 'MVP' and 'assist'? Cannavarro is shortlisted for the golden ball NOT 'MVP'. Assits is even more painful because it embodies the need for 'rewarding' everyone in the game with some honor, which I believe is the onset of the statistical overload seen in baseball. From one football/soccer lover to another, please Grant, leave American terms out of the sport...Great reporting job otherwise!
Ricardo, Portugal's keeper, should get a nod too. Saved 3 PK's in their victory and got a hand on the other one (also got a hand on Zidane's PK yesterday). Extremely athletic and kept Portugal in some games.
Your list confirms Brazil's worst fear. Getting beaten out by players from France and Italy. Yet, I have to agree with most of your choices. Who would've imagined a World Cup where Ronaldinho would be completely non-existent?
Cristano Ronaldo over Joe (who) Cole? Cristano Ronaldo single handedly eliminated England from the world cup, (basically with that penalty) and his team made it to the semi's. Without Joe Cole there's Lennon, and a group of others. Without Ronaldo, portugal do not make it to the semi's. Give me a break. Also in forward Podolski and Henry would be better choices, maybe even.
Mascherano and Ayala deserve honorable mentions. Despite being undersized they played impeccable defensive soccer, covering for players like Riquelme, Crespo, Gonzales and Sorin who lack any defensive will. Ayala's penalty miss being his sole failing. Grosso, also deserves mention, for two key plays that put Italy in the Final.
I don't have many quarrels with your selections, but I would have included Clint Dempsey...just joking. I think Reiquelme has actually had a better tournament that Zidane, who played well for two games (Spain, Brazil) while Riquelme played well in every game. It's not his fualt his coach was stupid and subbed him off against Germany.
Klinsman takes a Germany team that nobody thought was very good before the World Cup, gets them playing great attacking soccer for the first time in who knows how long, leads them into the semi's and he doesn't even get mentioned as coach of the tournament? And Guus Hiddink does, after starting his atrociously bad backup keeper (Kalac) against Croatia almost single handedly gets them knocked out in the first round? Interesting...
I would agree that Cristiano Ronaldo has incredible talent & potential, but unless he stops his incessant - not to mention embarassing - diving 'tactics', I believe he will never earn the respect of the majority of true football fans outside of Portugal, let alone his fellow peers. True, he is certainly not the only player guilty of this unsportsmanlike behaviour at the World Cup, but none of the others have the potential to be the kind of player Ronaldo can be: a future Golden Boot winner.
Where is Lucio on your list? He was the best Brazil had to offer and didn't commit a single fould until the 5th game of the tournament.
Best coach was clearly Luis Felipe Scolari. Have you seen that (insert your own adjective here. mine is "god-awful") Portuguese team? Only a magician could have managed to carry a team like that to the semi-final. One thing you can't take from them. They had heart and hustled for 90 minutes.
C. Ronaldo loses out due to the constant "simulation". Sod that Rooney thing, if Ronaldo actually played the ball as much as he played the ref he'd have beaten cole. If you're penalizing Grosso for diving, Ronaldo should be erased from your memory altogether! Terry....hmm....great in some games but had a couple of mares... Ashley cole was getting a bit good, but he left it too late.
What about Marquez? He was useful.
Ronaldo as one of the best strikers?? "Ever" maybe, but in this world cup? are you having a laugh (record or not)? Henry is quality in the EPL, but he still didnt set the Cup alight (1 game left to go though!). Torres and Tevez looked better than either of those.
How about Dwight Yorke? I think he's been overlooked obviously since he plays for my tiny home country, Trinidad and Tobago, which did not get very far. However, he was a stalwart in the back for T&T. The T&T players are immortal even if they did not score a goal. What they accomplished in even getting to the World Cup is a huge achievement.
I'm with a lot of peope who have posted on at least one player...Miguel, that guy was impressive. Maniche also had a good run. Messi should have been in long enough to be on the Best XI, but he wasn't.
Let's just nominate the entire Argentinian team...they played the best football of the tournament, they were the best at their positions, they had the most talented players and they got cheated by FIFA and the CIA. So please help me in nominating the entire Argentinian national team as the best players in the tournament...no backup nominations are necessary because we are nominating our bench players as well ;-)
Has to be said that Lampard had an absolute SHOCKER. Personally think Cristiano Ronaldo deserves a place (I say with gritted teeth). Who would have thought at the beginning of the tournament that not one English or Brazilian (apart from Scolari of course) deserved to be in the list. Just shows a squad full of superstars doesnt make a team.
where is the super andrea pirlo??? where is the magic gattuso??? ---- i think you should also create the worst's list: the first is ronaldinho!!! that's a delusion! but italy is the best!! we'll win the Cup, we're waiting for the Cup in Rome under the Colosseo
Nice to see Ribery get some recognition. He is relentless and, as you say, a mesmerizing dribbler with imagination. He will only get better.
Also, have to agree that Maniche deserves some recognition, too. He was definitely a bright spot for the Ports. Not afraid to unleash a good (powerful and accurate) long-range shot, which is refreshing. (It amazes me how few shots are actually on goal). I thought his chest trap/volley into the net was the goal of the tournament.
No Andrea Pirlo from Italy? That cannot be a fair list for this World Cup. Buffon has no question to be No. 1, but I think Portugal's Ricardo definitely should take over the runner-up instead of Lehman.
Odonkor!....he has become a new fan favorite haha. I am from Germany and most of the country had never heard of him, but what a great kid....he stepped up his game, and just had fun, how fun to watch him. Also, give Frings an honorable mention in the midfield. Podolski was extremely dangerous in the tournament also, Gillette Best Young Player I hope.
Note: I'm hesitant to include Deco on the list because he saw such limited action. I think he's been one of the best players in this cup, but not being used in two of the three group games and then being forced to sit out the England game really hurt.
Note #2: This tournament has really seen the rise of the defensive midfield position. It was by far the hardest position to choose, despite having 4 slots instead of 2. Among those not listed: Gattuso (ITA), Frings (GER), Hargreaves (ENG), Maniche (POR), and Mascherano (ARG). Suffice to say, I foresee that this position will become increasingly important tactically as a way to disrupt counterattacks.
I don't think Riquelme should be on this list, even though he's one of my favorite players. I do agree that there should be some place for Ayala and Mascherano, two outstanding defensive players. I did notice a certain bias towards Italian and French players...two teams who play arguably the most boring brand of soccer on the planet...but, oh well, there's nothing you can say because they made it to the final.....I agree with another previous writer on Ze Roberto; that guy was awesome. With re: super-subs who provided sparks off the bench, I would go with Tevez from Argentina or Robinho from Brazil.
Portugal's Ricardo Pereira has been the best keeper I've seen. He guessed right on every kick against Englannd (beaten only once but got his hand on it) and guessed right against Zizu even though the ball just got past him. Honorable mention at least!
Ribery's first touch is lightning. Did anyone see him chest trap and move the ball inside to the corner of the box against Portugal? He hustles and outworks the lazy players on the field and will need to learn to pace himself but I would pay money to see him.
Was it me, or was Ronaldinho being sentimental as it seemed his passes only had eyes for Renaldo?
According to the offical world cup fantasy football points system based on various statistics such as assist, goals scores/conceeded the best players are ... Buffon Grosso Zambrotta Thuram Cannavaro Pirlo Rodriquez Figo Zidane Henry Klose
You are absolutely right to choose Essien as the defensive midfielder. Ha absolutely dominated the midfield in all three games. It could have been a different story if he had played against Brazil. He played like Viera and Makelele combined. Viera has also been very impressive after the first two games doing what he does best.
You didn’t leave a spot for a true defensive or holding MF (both Essien & Viera are more two way players), of which there have been four outstanding ones in this tournament: Mascherano, Frings, Gattusso, and Makelele. I chose the first two because they were more consistent throughout the tournament. But I though all 4 were more exceptional than any of the wide midfielders, so I chose a different MF formation.
ok i would just like to say, i truly believe that ITALY is taking the cup this year! Every 12 years italy has made it to the world cup and its been 24 years since our last victory. that facts add up and hopefully italy will follow throw. ITALIA!
I agree with most. Ballack has had a quiet but effective Cup so far. So he gets my nod over Essien. And how about Podolski? A revelation for Germany. Only he will get better. Kaka? Only good player for "mighty" Brazil. Pirlo would get the nod over Zizou...but alas, the master has done it in 3 straight games in 3 different ways.
terry deserves a place in the line up. without him england would not have went as deep as they did. besides, rio ferdinand is overrated (how many times did he actually put his body into making a challenge: none) for those of you who think he carried the line
Best GK of world cup was Buroc from Poland. Even though the Polish did not go far, his performance against Germany showed what a talented keep this kid is. If it was any other GK Germany would have scored atleast 4 more goals.
Agree with most of the list, except... GK Ricardo, though being scored on more than Buffon, was not as protected by his Portugese defense as the Buffon was by the impenetrable Italians. In other words, in my opinion, Ricardo played better for inferior results.
Truly a shame that Riquelme was subbed out... the magic that could've been.
In front of the defense Andrea Pirlo has done a fantastic job. he should be in there instead of Essien. He is pure class, never panic in tense situations.HE GETS A LOT FO CREDIT FOR ITALY GOING SO FAR.
Good call on Boruc, his performance against Germany was legendary. Lahm is a great young player going forward but seemed quite lost sometimes during the germany game. Ecuadorean strikers were a pleasant surprise. Joe Cole was indeed the bright spot for England, but that's not saying much. Dwight Yorke deserves some props considering the role he plays in the twilight of his career is quite different from the one that established his reputation. Robben and Van Persie were brilliant. The Dutch will be unbelievable in future cups...and still choke. If I'm building a squad the first two players I want on my roster are Ayala and Thuram (even if he is ancient). Riquelme confirmed my previous opinion that he is a more effective and consistent performer than Ronaldinho. Lacks the same individual brilliance but I believe he orchestrates better, to use the hackneyed term of the tournament. By the way JP Dellacamera sucks. Just had to throw that in there. Miguel deserves a spot and Maniche is scary from distance. Figo is not as washed up as I thought and although C. Ronaldo is one of the most entertaining and dynamic players in the game, he's a punk. His theatrics are soft and he represents the most egregious illustration of a cancer that is killing football. Why can't Mexico play like they did against Argentina all the time? I hate being an American soccer fan. If only Essien could shoot. Rosicky will be nasty in that Arsenal lineup. I am sad to see Nedved go, he is a true delight. Neill and Emerton were revelations for Australia. Brazil, where to start. The two defensive midfielders and the central backs impressed me more than I anticipated. Roberto Carlos has always been a liability in my opinion and he proved it on Henry's goal. Robinho is a joy. Ronaldinho, I regret to say it, may have bought into his own hype. Kaka was dangerous and Ronaldo I think is the highest scoring mediocre player of all time. Creating, distributing, holding - whenever he has the ball at his feet I find him positively pedestrian. Until of course that sick turn and he unleashes one of the most lethal strikes of all time. Korea are fun to watch, you always feel like something is going to happen. Those short passes and quick players make for an explosive brand of football. Ribery is awesome. Henry pay attention, quit whining and diving and run at people and get back up when someone bodies up on you. Swiss will be strong in the future even if they are boring. Spain, what the hell happened? Fabregas, Torres, Villa? There is no reason short of supernatural intervention (see Zidane) why Spain can't take it to the next level. Hell, even the Dutch have made a final (or two). So, the Ukraine, worst quarterfinalist ever right? Trabelsi of Tunisia hasn't been mentioned yet, but I think he is unbelievable. One of the world's great outside backs. A rock on defense and a threat going forward. One final thought, Barthez is a effin idiot. Worst goalkeeper of all time. He will lose the final for France with one last bonehead play. Even the genius of Zidane cannot overshadow his incompetence.
Zidane, Zidane, Zidane!!! What has he done in this world cup really?? Except play a decent game and score a penalty? I'm just not impresssed. And if there's any justice left in this WC, Cannavaro will win the golden ball despite the results on Sunday!
Good call on Essien and Lahm. To me Lahm deserves to be man of the tournament. Essien was also dominant at the defensive midfield position, he simply dominated the group stages but i will stll prefer Podolski over Crespo and Robben over Ronaldo.
your foolish for not putting more Brazilians--This World Cup had teams squeak by for wins. 1-0 wins should not put players on winning teams over better players at each respective position for your best of the World Cup.
Lippi, Hiddink? Or Klinsi perhaps? Things is, we all have our preferences but it doesn't necessarily mean it's the right call. Personally, I prefer Lippi over Hiddink then again, that's just me. I'm not saying it's the right choice, I'm saying I like him better than Hiddink.
ANYONE who has anything negative to say about Zidane should be promptly admitted to a mental hospital. This is the 34 year old man who singlehandedly dominated Ronaldinho, and the rest of Brazils cast. Although Henry is my favorite player I would say he needs at least one in the final to make the best of tournament list. O yea, and where is Ballack for most under-achieving player of the World Cup, he was the missing link in Germanys run. His normal play, and they had this tourney in the bag behind home fans. GO FRANCE!!!! #12
penalizing grosso? I believe you are trying to pick a good team... not trying to be Mr. sympathetic... as good as lahm has been... grosso has taken italy to the next stage every time under pressure....
I think you are tryin to be nice to germany.....
also wanted to mention that your pretournam (without any exaggeration)...
Owen Haggreaves and Ashley Cole deserve more attention than anyone is giving them. England would have done much better if Joe Cole would have utilized the overlaping runs of Ashley Cole. . .but there is still no excuse for Lampard. . .and Beckham. . .and Crouch. . .and Erickson
Forwards Messi - the next great one, extraordinary offensive creator Toni - great combo of size, skill, and speed
Midfielders Ribery - dribbling expertise with consistency Zidane - holds possession and zips past defenders with rare skill Ronaldinho - didn't show up on the scoreboard but exhibited great ability despite attracting multiple defenders constantly Ghana Midfield - those guys dominated possession against Italy, Czech, and Brazil!
ashley cole should have been in the running for best left back. He has come back from injury looking fantastic. He kept Ronaldo at bay during portugal match and forced them to resign to their underhand tactics.
I tend to agree with your team, however, Juergen Klinsmann did a superior job in comparison to Guus Hiddink. Torston Frings from Germany is a far better than any defensive midfield play, his did a superior job on the defense and for the offense. I also would say Sangnol played better than the person you chose. I second the vote for Henry, Crespo is ok.
Ayalah for Argentina was terrific, really, and played nearly perfect against Germany. I saw one bad tackle, not a single bad touch, and lots of interceptions, clearances, penetrating passes, good tackles and a GREAT goal
I think the bottomline in this worldcup is really three things: Talent, Chemistry and some Luck. Both finalists (Italy & France)have very talented players and an excellent chemistry between them. On the other hand, teams like Germany, England, Brazil, Argentina have all very talented players but not much of a chemistry between them. Having said that, I think it is not fair to praise a single player against another but rather an entire team against another. As an example, who can tell the winner between Tierry Henry (who caused a Penalty shot for France that proved to be the only winning goal against Portugal)and Zinedine Zidane who scored that penalty!!
As an Italian Fan who remembers 2002, I won't appologize for Grosso's "Dive" against Australia. Seems like sweet revenge for the terrible calls against Italy vs. Hiddunk's 2002 S. Korea Team. Pirlo not on this list is borderline insane. Had to have missed every game Pirlo played in to keep him off this list. Sorry. Its a fact.
Honorable mention: Stephen Appiah. Between him, Sulley Muntari and Mike Essien, opposing midfields were suffocated. Just ask the Czechs. Personally, Appiah played the most telling role. As a matter of fact, the entire Ghanaian midfield deserves some sort of mention.
Despite being frustrated by off-side-calls and therefore hanging back a little too much in recent games, Henry is a world class player that has made chances count and played and big part in getting his team into their current position. He should have been chosen over Crespo.
GK: Buffon DL: Grosso - A hardy performer throughout. DC: Ferdinand - A no nonsense player during the tournament. DC: Cannavaro DR: Zambrotta - A lot more active during attacking play. ML: Ronaldo - Single-handedly destroyed England. Shoud have been voted best young player in my opinion. MC: Zidane - No competition here. MC: Essien - A tough Roy Keane-like figure for his country. MR: Odonkor - Pacy, skillful and a handful for fullbacks. ST: Klose - A superb finisher which also meant that he finished among the top goal-scorers. CF: Henry - Pacy and scores goals. Although this wasn't his best world cup.
I think that Zidane is over rated. The only reason people like him is because France beat Brazil,which is cause of Henry. Last thing I,ll mention is that who was calling Zidane the best player when the world cup started?
Did you watch this world cup standing on your head? Where are C. Ronaldo,Miguel, Figo and Andreas Pirlo? Please be fast in acknowledging the mesmerising soccer artistry of these guys. FAST! Engr Nero Enugu, Nigeria
Am I seeing things or did I see Ronaldo with an honorable mention? He is a great finisher, but last time I checked there is nothing honorable about walking around the field waiting for your teammates to do all the work and expect the ball like the fat man he is. Maybe if Brazil wasn't playing with 10 men this tourney they would still be in it.
You have all forgotten the REFEREES large contribution to this year WC. Without them Italia would have not made the knockout stage let alone progressed through it!!! I think that the WC will be one by the 12th man on the field for Italia ... the refereeS (PAID FOR BY JUVE)
I am afraid Barthez can be a liability to France in the Finals. He could not catch a decent ball during the crunch matches. Almost everything he tried to catch popped out of his hand. He cannot afford these mistakes agains Azzurris - Ifthikhar From Dubai
My Team is this G:Buffon D: D:Cannavaro D:Thuram D:Grosso M:Vieira M:Makalele M:Zidane M:Cole F:Henry F:Ronaldo C:Scolari
Ronaldinho was a BIG let down. Of course Ronaldo (Bra)has lost a few steps and loves to eat, but he is still one of the best in the busines and at his position in the history of the game. What playa haters fail to realize is that this guy has been target by defensive for many years and he is still able to silence his critics. Jus before the World Cup, he had missed league play in Spain because of injuries, yet after a slow start, one again he delivered. GIVE THE MAN what is HIS!
But Cole over Christiano Ronaldo? Cole scored the incredible goal, but come on. Ronaldo poses a threat almost every time he touches the ball, and this WC was no exception. Plus he helped his team into the semifinals.
What about our Aussie mate Lucas Neill in defence....cruelly penalized against Italy
As he should be. Any defender in their right mind, would not try something silly as lay on the grass and in the penalty box no less. He basically asked Grosso to trip on him and that he did. Italy:1 Aus:0
Pirlo should definetly be in over Eissen, no question about it. Thuram didn't play too well in the first round and he's been just OK in the second. Maybe one of Mexico's three defenders: Márquez, Salcido or Osorio is more deserving. Even Menotti thinks Mexico's three man back line was the best in the tournament. Finally Crespo didn't do too much in any game. If you don't put Henry in, then maybe Ivory Coast's Drogba should get the nod.
Worst player by far Landon Donovan of the US. Touted as the "star" of US Soccer, he might as well have stayed on the airplane from the US and never set foot in Germany.
If indeed Arena doesn't come back to coach in 2010 (and it doesn't sound like he really wants to) the first question asked to any potential coach should be if they would take Donovan in 2010. If the answer to the above question is yes, that candidate should be dismissed immediately.
leaving out both gattuso and pirlo is criminal. Especially since Pirlo clearly outplayed Essien in there head-to-head meeting. You could also argue that Appiah was much more influential than Essein in the Ghanarian midfiled.
I don't completely like the Crespo choice either. But in a world cup that had poor performances by a lot of forwards it is hard to choose amongst the okay performances.
Going back to the worst/most overrated player in the tournament. The answer is, by far, Landon Donovan. I heard his name maybe twice. I'm pretty sure he and Bruse Arena were eating hot dogs on the sideline during the game.
I definitely concur. Their midfield is arguable the best in the world. Their only problem is forwards who can't help but shoot straight at goalies. If Ghana manages to find a Tony Yeboah type of striker before 2010, they should easily make the finals in South Africa.
"I agree with the picks. Good job.
Honorable mention: Stephen Appiah. Between him, Sulley Muntari and Mike Essien, opposing midfields were suffocated. Just ask the Czechs. Personally, Appiah played the most telling role. As a matter of fact, the entire Ghanaian midfield deserves some sort of mention."
extremely unfair to criticize italy for penalty against australia, lucas neill made it inevitable that penalty would be given, you can't lie down in penalty area and raise shoulder and arm to obstruct, even if grosso dived neill made it inevitable, also with 10 men for 50 minutes italy had about 7 serious shots australia abuout 2, i am sorry australia went out but fifa rules are clear
I like that you penalize Grosso for the dive. Using that logic, the entire Portugal squad gets penalized. I actually think Christiano Ronaldo was the pick for best young player, but I preferred Pidolski since Christiano was guilty of multiple dives himself. Someone made a great suggestion to add three subs to your list. If you did that I'd nominate Robinio of Brasil for the energy and pace he brings. P.S. well done on the list.
What's your obsession with Michael Essien? He doesn't get a lot of first-team action at Chelsea and Ghana actually only advanced due to their good defensive display against the Czech Republic. Stephen Appiah is a much more worthy captain.
How is Klinsman not even a runner up as the coach of the cup? Frankly he'd be my first choice. He may be young but he took a stodgy boring team that wasn't much of a favorite to get out of the second round and made them into an entertaining threat to take the whole thing. Just ask Italy how relived they are to ahve escaped that game. Along the way he also damn near transformed an entire nation's stodgy boring image.
I am from the US and I have to agree that that team is completely talentless...Also any true and honest football/soccer fan have to give credit to the entire Ghana midfield- they were awesome. If only that team could find the target....
Finally someone gives credit to essein...he had a magnificant world cup and it might even be safe to say Brazil might have been booted even sooner if he had played...Crespo over Henry is just plain wrong...I don't even care if Henry didn't play...him sitting on the bench is a better player than Crespo playing...that should change...and what about Frings or any other German midfielder? They deserve some respect because they were by far the best midfield of this world cup...for the defense just put the whole italian defense...u can't go wrong with them...
How about a category for best "diving" team? I go with Portugal, hands down. Their incessant diving against France in the semi was pathetic, then they had the chutzpah to complain about getting no calls in the box. This made me actually root for the French, which was hard to stomach. Second place on the all "dive" team to Italy. If they get another penalty kick on a dive to win the Cup, I'm going to puke.
Drogba? I know it is based on the tournament, but the 69th minute of the Argentina match says it all. Mauled in the box but doesn't whine or complain. Forced himself into the match when it was called for. That entire game highlighted the difference between Diveball (South America and Europe) and Football (Africa).
Gold cup to best "diving" team: Portugal. Their relentless diving against France in the semi (and then complaining they got no calls in the box) was a disgrace. They deserved to lose to France. Nobody from Portugal should qualify for best position on any list.
Silver cup for diving: Italy. Beware of bogus penalty kick winning for Italy on Sunday.
This World Cup was tremendously poor as far as great players and great plays (exception to Maxi Rodriguez´s astonishing goal). Brazil was a fiasco. Argentina had the best overall team but encountered tough Deutschland on Quarterfinals. Netherlands with so many young players is a good bet for 2010. England playing poorly as usual. Italy, quietly and firmly as a team (but without any great individual talent) making its way to the finals. France playing only 90 minutes of beautiful football, enough to put them on the finals. And Portugal...Well, that was a true surprise! Maniche definitely one of the top-three defense midfielders on this world-cup. Biggest disappointment: Entire Brazilian team.
good call for hiddink as coach. The USA team is a disgrace, and as long as they continue not to respect the world game, they will get no-where. They are a laughing stock. Lucas Neill of Australia is a must at the back.
How can you not mention Roberto Carlos...he played out of his mind against France, and it wasn't his fault that they lost. The one time Thiere (I'm off-sides 587 times) Henry wasn't offsides, his team-mate was - the goal shouldn't have counted. Roberto Carlos ran everyone off the field - he's tiny, but he's all heart!
Dude, you just demonstrated to a HUGE audience you know nothing about the beautiful game. Not incluiding Roberto Ayala and having Riquelme in the squad es just pure ignorance. Futbol is more than flashy names. Any coach would have Ayala a a strong 2 or 6, but you just leave him out of the list.... No wonder the perfect sport never catches on in the US, no one knos how to promote it! Keni, form Argentina.
So few of you mention Michael Ballack. I believe he is the best player inthe world and that is why Chelsea made him the highest paid player in the world. He attacks like a striker, he can score in the air r from long range, he has excellent ball skills and vision, he plays the best long ball in the world and he can finish set pieces. He scores like a world class forward and distributes as well as any midfielder in the world.
Gattuso puts in more effort then all the other 10 players together. He's the heart and soul of the Italian team. Dedication makes you reach finals....and hopefully win (i'm Italian!! fingers crossed for sunday). GATTUSO deserves to be the MVP along with Cannavaro!! No doubt about it.
Though my starting XI is a little different, the only two players on yours that I really don't agree with are Joe Cole and Essien.
Joe Cole didn't do all that much beyond his spectacular goal anyway, but he was so easily and completely neutralized by Miguel in the Portugal game that I really can't see picking him.
Essien on the other hand, was quite good. But to pick him over Pirlo, Viera, or Ballack (as central midfielders which is where he really plays) or over Mascherano (as a defensive midfielder)? As someone posted earlier, Pirlo for one bested him when they went head to head. Another little stat: Essien had 0 assists and though he made a total of 10 shots, only two were on goal, and they were both weak dribblers.
Your selection of Philipp Lahm leaves me wondering if you've actually been paying attention. Since his brilliant opening goal, the guy has been a liability with each touch of the ball. He had more giveaways and unforced errors than any other starter in the tournament!
J. Cole, Ribery, and Klose are great selections. All three are dangerous goal scorers but more importantly they are superb at setting up others by dribbling up field with terrific pace and wreaking havoc among defenders before dumping the ball off to an open teammate. Klose is the leading scorer in the tournament but his best plays are the 2 assists against Sweden, one where he dribbled almost the entire width of the field along Sweden's 18, drawing 3 defenders before dropping the ball off at Podolski's foot for an easy goal. Most fans only remember who scored the goals, it's good to see these three receiving recognition as the men who did the dirty work to get that ball in the net.
First Team: 4-5-1 GK: Buffon RB: Zambrotta CB: Cannavarro CB: Thuram LB: Lahm MF: Viera MF: Pirlo MF: C. Ronaldo MF: Ribery MF: Zidane FW: Klose
Third Team: 4-5-1 GK: Joao Ricardo ANG RB: Miguel POR CB: Rafael Marquez MEX CB: Roberto Ayala ARG LB: Ludovic Magnin SUI MF: Michael Essien GHA MF: Owen Hargreaves ENG MF: Freddie Ljunberg SWE MF: Arjen Robben NED MF: Tomas Rosicky CZE FW: Fernando Torres ESP
It has been the World Cup of brillian centerbacks. beside Cannavaro and Thuram, the performance of e.g. Tourè (CIV), Mertesacker (GER), Marques (MEX), Ayala (ARG), Ferdinand (ENG) and Carvalho (POR) is worth mentioning!
Buffon is no doubt the best keeper. But the runner-up should have been Portugal's Ricardo. The saves he made in the shootout against England were great. And there is no blame against France because nobody could touch Zidane's PK.
RICARDO FROM PORTUGAL WAS HANDS DOWN THE BEST KEEPER IN THE WORLDCUP. NOT ONLY DID HE GUESS CORRECTLY ON EVERY PK IN THE ENGLAND MATCH(HE WAS MILLIMETERS AWAY FROM STOPPING ZIDANES PK IN THE SEMIS)STOPPING NEARLY ALL OF THEM, HE ALSO TOOK PK'S. BY FAR BEST KEEPER.
Defenders Roberto Ayala (Argentina), John Terry (England), Lilian Thuram (France), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy), Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal)
Midfielders Ze Roberto (Brazil), Patrick Vieira (France), Zinedine Zidane (France), Michael Ballack (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Gennaro Gattuso (Italy), Francesco Totti (Italy), Luis Figo (Portugal), Maniche (Portugal)
Forwards Hernan Crespo (Argentina), Thierry Henry (France), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Luca Toni (Italy)
Como o melhor time de todos os tempos vai ter Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Ronaldinho Gaucho e Ronaldão. Se eles não ganharam a Copa 2006. Não ganharam e ainda fizeram um papelão. Palhaçada!!!! Sou brasileiro de Mogi Mirim-SP. E não concordo com este time. O mundo e o proprio Brasil tiveram jogadores melhores.
o.k. my fiends, i´m half venezuelan and half italian but i´ll do my best to be fair in my list of the worst players of the tournament or those ones who made the biggest deception team. i hope you agree
One person asked about Ronaldihno? Come on, he's a great talent, but he wasn't extactly the next coming of Pele as people think he is. He didn't show up for the World Cup, just like the American's. Here's who got snubbed :
Ballack - Germany Henry - France Ronaldo - Brasil Robihno - Brasil
Henry is one of the most exciting players to watch. He is Team France. ZZ is getting all the credit, b/c this is his "last WC". Ballack played w/ the most passion I've seen. Ronaldo might be hated, but, you have to recognize what he's done for Brasil. And I agree with another user, Robinho wasn't used enogh. He's electric, and was robbed of playing time.
I'm from the US, and I have to say that the sport isn't that big here, but, the World Cup is watched by everybody. Team USA dissapointed me; their only goal was an own goal off of Italy. I like how Dempsey showed some electricity.. Most over rated player is Landon Donovan. It'll be nice when Freddy Adu play's in the next World Cup for the Red White and Blue.
Go Italy !!! ...I'm from the US, and am not supposed to like France. Sorry Frenchies.
France supporters complaining about opponents diving?!? You've gotta be kidding me! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. You must not have seen the Spain/France match where Thierry Henry writhed on the ground with his hands on his face after he ran over Puyol and was barely nicked in the chest, thus creating the free kick that gave France the lead.
(search yahoo for "thierry henry spain dive"): http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/france/5123952.stm
I wish the final was Argentina v. Spain. Now that woulda been fun to watch.
Good job, man. I agreed with you almost with everybody, except for Essien over Makelele. He's the man in France, probably the best defensive middlefielder that I've ever seen in World Cups and believe me I have a lot of football in my mind. Best player in the tournament for me was Klose and Zidane is second with Cannavaro pretty close. Southamerican players didn't shine as well as englishes, spaniards and mexicans.
OK. We need some kind of ground rules apparently. Nobody can make this team if he didn't play in the second round. Especially if he had just one good game like ROSICKY. And while I'm at it: players who are more or less a complete disgrace to everything that football should stand for are equally excluded. Somebody wipe those tears of C. RONALDOS face please. A pure waste of talent.
Now here is the hard part. I'm German. I would've killed for my team to win it all. I am a die hard ever since I new about the existence of this sport and I love to hate the opponents. But what CANNAVARO and ZOMBROTTA did to us was out of this world. I haven't seen such defensive brilliance in years, if ever. Also I want to applaud GATTUSO. This dude works his butt of in his hard-nosed style but you know that if he goes down that something really happened. No flopping ever. Once he takes someone down (which might be in a very tough manner at times) he gets there, makes sure the guy is fine and shakes hands. Just my way of football. Sportsmanship at it's best and a refreshing contrast to most of italian flop show. And while I just might be in the right mood these other players have impressed me too (in no particular order): MANICHE, VIEIRA, VILLAR (Spaniard, is he spelled without "r" possibly?), RODRIGUEZ, TEVEZ, FERDINAND. Quick side note (though it might be biased a bit): I'm sorry, I really am. But if somebody takes a player completely out of a game he is good. If he takes the most important guy on the other out of a game during "do or die" he is plainly awesome. Especially if most consider that guy to be the best player on the best team at that point. If FIFA thinks it had any clue about suspending FRINGS for THE GAME it just doesn't know football...
Portugal has been the best team in this World Cup ... France did not deserve to win over Portugal .... Zidane's penalty was "given" to him .... Scolari was the best coach ... and, the Portuguese put up a "fight" in all their matches ... to me, they are the great winners for the world Cup!!!
Portugal Divers??? what games were you watching...im not saying there werent any dives but come on!?! Did you happen to see that dive Henry fooled the refs with against Spain, talk about disgraceful! Poryugal defeated three teams that are ranked higher than they are, which in itself is a joke, and outplayed france the entire game. For those who were 'surprised' by their performance, all i say is follow the game! Carvalho, Maniche Figo and Ronaldo all deserve nods for their play and Ricardo CLEARLY was the best keeper, nothing against Buffon or J. Ricardo. Wait and watch for this team in 2008 at the Euros when Quaresma and Moutinho join the team, hopefully Figo will stay on so that he can get a championship he clearly deserves. Heres my team Ricardo Zambrotta Carvalho Thuram Terry Maniche Zidane Crespo C. Ronaldo Klose Ribery
GK: Ricardo (Portugal) -Runner-Up: Buffon (Italy) DR: Zambrotta (Italy) -Runner-Up: Miguel (Portugal) DC: Thuram (France) -Runner-Up: Fernando Meira (Portugal) DC: Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal) -Runner-Up: Cannavaro (Italy) DL: Philip Lahm (Germany) -Runner-Up:Gilberto (Brasil) MC: Andrea Pilro (Italy) -Runner-Up: Patrick Vieira (France) MC: Maniche (Portugal) Player of WC -Runner-Up: Michael Ballack MR: Ribery (France) -Runner-Up: C.Ronaldo (Portugal) ML: Luís Figo (Portugal) -Runner-Up: Simão (Portugal) AC: Miroslav Klose (Germany) -Runner-Up: Lukas Podolski AC: Thierry Henry (France) -Runner-Up: Luca Toni (Italy)
My best of XI is based on the best four teams of the world cup, except Gilberto of Brasil. But is really difficult to chose the best XI. About the best player I think Maniche totally deserves. It would be the better way to show the yellow card to Chelsea
The combination of Zidane, Viera, Makelele, Sagnol, Thuram, Barthez, Ribery, and Henry is simply the best there was at this world cup and will probably be the best we will see in some time to come ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!!
Whoever said that Essien doesn't get a lot of first-team action at Chelsea must be on the pipe. And who said Pirlo outplayed Essien in their head-to-head meeting? Please review the tapes again. Essien was the BOSS!
Leave out Zidane and any England player (ugly, ugly football) and put Sorin in place of Lahm. Also, nobody gives any consideration to Cambiasso or Pauleta? Didn't you watch the games? Give me Klose over Henry any day.
Ronaldo spent most of this Cup watching the games from his striker position, and if you count the meaningless against Japan as a bold performance... well, that's a mistake. And, where will you put Ashley Cole?
Pirlo should definitely be in the line up, he was amazing for Italy. Frank Lampard had a terrible tournament, he had like, what, 30 shots and none went in! And to top it off he missed the crucial first penalty that led to Englands demise (though I have to say that Ricardo did very well to keep all but 1 penalty out of the net.)
Ok, after reading most of this blog I would have to agree with those that chose the whole Ghana Midfield for their inspired futbol and talent. They really reminded me of what talent the BRA team used to exhibit. If anyone watched Hislop in goal you would agree he put up the game of his life. Yorke should get some attention also. I never liked him at forward anyways. I'm American and proud of it, but we didn't even show up to play. I think there is some true talent on our team, but playing as a team we sucked! McBride would be my only pick to come back. Maybe Dempsy, but this team was nothing like they were in 2002. Oh well, maybe we can be better by 2022!
I put Maniche on my team even thought not a true Defensive midfielder. Puyol was one of the central defenders too. The second forward and left sided midfielders were the most challenging positions but I went with Joe Cole too and Torres from Spain, though I could have picked a half dozen other so-so performers.
It seems that you all have forgotten Italian Gattuso?? Why? Because he's not so visiable as forward and goalkeep in the field? Or he's not so handsome enough? I think he's the same important as Pirlo, or even a little more, since without Pirlo, the only little harm to the team is attach, while if without Gattuso, that would hurt the foundation of Italy---defense, that'll be a tragedy.
oh my god! i can´t believe that here´s still someone who puts ricardo ahead of buffon in the all star team, buffon it´s not just the best goal keeper of the tournament but the best goalkeeper f the world, and it´s not just fame, he earned it becasue he has had the less goals against for any goalkeeper in europe. ricardo is good but what buffon has done for italy and for juventus in the cup and in the calcio is more than remarkable and unbelievable. maybe there´s some portugal fans around in this forum
I can't seem to understand why Makalele is always one of the best players on display but he seems to be invivsible to the media. What a pity. Real Madrid din't see him, so it's ok if you guys don't either.
I'll go with the poster who nominated the whole Argentinean team for the prettiest play. Brazil deserved to lose, sad to say. Argentina didn't. And yes, Buffon is great, but what about Abbondanzieri? If he hadn't been taken out injured we'd have Argentina in the finals. He might have blocked that tying goal and, if not, the PKs, and Arg would have had another sub eg Messi to bring in so a better chance to go ahead and avoid the PKs.
I was impressed by the play at times of both Coles for England. Also thought that Klinsmann and Scolari should be at or near the top of the coach's list. And I can say my former favorite player, Cafu, deserves to be omitted from the back.
Owen Hargreaves is a beast of epic proportions and perhaps one of the fittest players in the world, as he has often proven for Bay. Munich. I notice no one has commented on set pieces... can anyone say David Beckham. Dwight Yorke for best skipper- finally, C. Ronaldo does exactly what all the U.S. midfielders failed to do- he makes defenders accountable. He dives because he wants to win... just like all the others. C. Ronaldo, Ribery for France Lennon for England, and Messi of Argentina demonstrated why hard charging attackers who never give up, embody the beautiful game.
I give all the respect to the last final four and the eventual winner ofcoure...I would like to note that there was no outstanding soccer in the semi finals and that the teams who showed up to play el jogo bonito will unfortunatly be watching the final....Argentina....Holland....
I think you should make place for Germany's other striker Lukas Podolsky! The two German strikers outclassed the rest. I also think you should make a mention of Philippe Senderos the young Swiss defender instead of the bigger name John Terry and Carvalho.
I'm amazed that BALLACK is favourably mentioned anywhere. He is the most overrated player of all. His performances were (as usual) the pitts. Strolling around, passing more balls to the opponents than his own teammates or losing them while deeply asleep on the field. Besides, he cannot shoot on goal... just "miles" over or psst it. Whatever anyone sses in him is mind-boggling, including Chelsea. My prediction is that he'll find himself more often on the bench than on the field. BALLACK is the greatest airbag arond!!!
Somebody finally recognizes what I've been saying the entire tournament: Franck Ribery is one of the top players of the Cup. He needed to be included on this list, he has been amazing this world cup and it hasnt just been zidane, vieira, henry for france this year. ribery has them looking toward a cup victory, if not tomorrow, then in south africa in 4 years
After reading nearly all the comments i'm wondering why german players get's only a few comments. They played a great tournament and where just 2 min. away from the final. German defenders (especially Mertesacker) played very solid and Frings was one of the best def. midfielders. Only Italy was as good as germany. Brazil, England, Netherlands...where are they? All played just one good match. That's not enough to become WC.
Nice to see even journalists buy into the hype... Zidane doesn't belong on any list of the best players of this cup. I love the guy and he was an amazing player in his prime, but that time has passed. Other than the game against Brazil where they let him play, he didn't do much this cup. But that performance was sufficient for people to hail him as the WC's big thing, nonsense if you ask me...
For the record I am a huge Brasil fan, however seeing how you put Ronaldo as a runner-up in the forward category makes me question your soccer knowledge. You are either paid to include certain names, or have not been watching the same soccer that the rest of the world has. Ronaldo's 3 goals are a complete misconception of his playing ability this tournament. He was slow, lazy and mediocre at best. If you want to include a Brasilian then mention Robinho, who even though did not play much showed, a spark, promise, and ability to break down any defense.
I thought the goalkeeper for Mexico, whose name escapes me, was fantastic against Argentina. That goal from Rodriguez was perfectly placed. And yet, Barthez, who looked downright unathletic at times, is playing for the whole enchilada, er, crepe. Fascinating ...
Where is Ronaldo, the best of the best???He scored 15 goals. He has the ability to score more n more n without him u cant win with this world IX. Lucio n Terry are very good defenders too. U can place one of thm instead of cannavaro. Tht Henry is better thn Crespo. Y did ya place Crespo instead of Henry. U could have placed Aimar in the midfield too. U could have put Robben instead of Joe Cole. Joe Cole is just stupid!!! My Team is this G:Buffon D:Zambrotta D:Terry D:Thuram D:Nesta - u forgot him!!! M:Vieira M:C Ronaldo M:Zidane M:Aimar A:Ronaldo A:Podolski
One of the most exciting players - Christiano Ronaldo. Unfortunately, the leader in the clubhouse for the Greg Louganis award - closely followed by the rest of the Portuguese team. Definitely put Scolari at the very bottom (32 of 32) despite the success of the team. Diving and whining is a disgrace to the game. Impressive Germans - Klose, Lahm; and Klinsman did a fantastic job. Pirlo much better than Ribery who tended to dribble into losing the ball frequently, but not better than Essien. Buffon top keeper. Henry of France WAY WAY overrated - played about 3 minutes each game. Riquelme very solid. From a sub standpoint - Messi and Odonkor really pick up the energy.
What about Maniche? He held Portugal together the entire tournament. he was their leading goal scorer-- he was why they beat the netherlands, he single-handedly set up EVERYTHING against france. Without Maniche, Portugal might've repeated their 2002 performance.
Goalie: Gianlugi Buffon (Ricardo) Right Back: The Italy Guy (Sagnol) Centerbacks: Thuram, Cannavaro (Ricardo Carvalho) Left Back: Grosso (Carlos Bocanegra, who held together the entire U.S. team) Midfielders: Maniche, (Stephen Appiah), Viera, Zidane, Riquelme Forwards: Miroslav Klose, Thierry Henry (Fatty) Subs: Tevez, Messi
Maniche was, without a doubt, the best player in this World Cup. The combination of his hair, his awesome name, and his uncanny, even creepy resemblance to Jim Carrey just put the icing on the cake. Maniche distributed the ball well to C. Renaldo and Figo. If you watched any of Portugal's games, you saw the beauty of Maniche's crosses to Luis Figo. Maniche stayed back and helped out on defense when that was what his team needed. Maniche distributed the ball with beautiful passes and 1-2s when his team needed it. And Maniche used his uncanny striking ability to score when his team needed it. Maniche single-handedly held the Portugal team together through the World Cup. Without Maniche, this team might've suffered a fate similar to its 2002 finish. Maniche was simply, a BEAST.
there is no way that maniche should be in this conversation. and what about robben? i thought he played fantastically in the first. second, that was a low blow against thierry henry. maybe the reason that henry is so great is because he tries every minute to score and being offside "587 times" (the actual figure can't be that high) is just a testament to his heart. overall though, great cup, great competition but for 2010, i think a suspension should come after 3 bookings instead of 2 because that screwed alot of guys like essien.
I agree with most of the choices but I have some comments, especially after watching the last two games: - Pirlo and Schweinsteiger deserve a spot in the midfield, more than Zidane (what's with the headbutt Zizou?!) and Cristiano Ronaldo (little brat!!) - Podolski should get the center forward spot over Crespo and Henry
How can you not have Klose? Not only did he lead the tournament in Goals with 5, but he setup several other goals beautifully (like both the goals Podolski had in his 2 goal game). On top of that, he is not one of the those 1-dimentional guys that can only make plays with his head (see Brian McBride).
i dont like brazil but u have to have roberto carlos or cafu in the defense. zambrotta and terry didnt stand out at all to me. buffon didnt do anything spectacular either. he wasnt even close on the penalty shots. lehman would be my keeper with ricardo as backup. im not sure about joe cole in ur line up
Ribery was spot on & so was Cole. Zidane was truly a knockout in the knockouts until he blew his shaved top! Unfortunately, what we need is a top 10 for football acting. There were more dives than the Olympics.