Monday, July 14, 2014

FIFA 2014 World Cup - The Worst XI Players

On the pitch the 20th World Cup finals held in Brazil was in the main one of the best tournaments in living memory. It pretty match had everything:- goals a plenty, drama, passion, tears, shocks, surprises, many memorable moments, great individual performances along with several teams that exceeded expectations.
However as with any team event there were players that were quite simply awful and contributed little to their respective teams.

As a result I have compiled a team of what I would consider to be the worst eleven players that took part in the tournament this summer.

Iker Casillas (Spain)
South Africa’s Golden Glove winner had a terrible tournament. In the opening game, Casillas’s errors were costly: his absence for a free-kick led to the Dutch going 3-1 up, while a comical attempt to control the ball in his box allowed Robin van Persie to get his second of the game. In Spain's following must-win game, the Spanish captain inexplicably punched away a free-kick to gift Chile their second goal and send the reigning champions packing.

Leighton Baines (England)
If you are able to recall a positive contribution of the Everton player to The Three Lions’ cause, you must be a biologist specialising in micro-organisms.
Baines was toasted by the canny movements of Matteo Darmian and Antonio Candreva versus Italy, and he wasn't much better against Uruguay.

Central defender:
Pepe (Portugual)
The Real Madrid defender came into the World Cup as a Champions League winner, but his tournament will forever be remembered for an idiotic, thuggish headbutt on Germany’s Thomas Muller in the 37th minute of the opening game, that got him sent-off and helped condemn the Portuguese to their heaviest ever defeat in the competition.

Central defender:
Gerard Pique (Spain)
As one of many to play below his best for Spain, his dismal centre-half pairing with Sergio Ramos led to a shaky defence which incorporated a dodgy offside trap and lazy attempts to man mark the opposition. At least Shakira (right) was on hand to give him a cuddle and the opportunity off the pitch to make up for his pitiful performances on the pitch!

Glen Johnson (England)
Liverpool fans have been frustrated for ages about their longtime right-back's inability to man-mark or defend properly, but now their pain is shared by the nation after three below par performances during England's limp World Cup presence. He did tee up Wayne Rooney for his first goal at FIFA's big event, but it wasn't enough to mask his inability to defend, the key reason for him being on the pitch.

Steven Gerrard (England) 
Although he was praised for his mature adaptation into a deep-lying, restrained playmaker for Liverpool, Gerrard's attempt to reprise this role for England looked more headless chicken than fearless leader. He spent much of the World Cup chasing shadows or being overrun. His role in Luis Suarez's second goal, an unwittingly perfect flick-on for his club teammate's well-timed run, added further bitterness to a difficult campaign - and surely his last in an England shirt. Gerrard is not the only English player to make the list, so rest assured Steven, at least you'll never walk alone!

Paulinho (Brazil)
Few Brazilian players covered themselves in glory during the finals, but Tottenham's Paulinho proved to be the pits. Toothless and insipid in the middle of the field best describes his performances. At the 2013 Confederations Cup Paulinho received the Bronze Ball as the competition's third best player. Not sure if it was the same player at the World Cup?

Alexander Song (Cameroon)
After a close fight with Kevin-Prince Boateng of Ghana, Song claims the position. Not long ago, Song was deemed to be one of the most promising defensive midfielders in Europe. But he left Brazil a beaten man with a red card to boot following a boneheaded elbow to Mario Mandžukić's head in Cameroon's second group game. Croatia went on to win the game 4-0 and Song later apologized to Mandžukić, and to the people of Cameroon for being sent off.
FIFA punished Song with a three-match ban, as well as fining him. The match was further tainted following an investigation into possible match-fixing, after allegations in a German newspaper claimed that the convicted match fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal, correctly predicted the final outcome of Cameroon-Croatia match, which included the scoreline and the sending off of a player.

Antonio Valencia (Ecuador)
Given his credentials AV was supposed to be the best player on the Ecuador national team. However The Manchester United man was completely overshadowed by his namesake Enner Valencia this summer. After being largely invisible in Ecuador's first two group stage games, Valencia topped off a torrid tournament by being sent-off for a foul on Lucas Digneh in is side's final but crucial group stage match against France.

Diego Costa (Spain)
La Liga winner and symbol of Atletico Madrid’s greatest domestic triumph, Diego Costa was one of the World Cup’s biggest flops. Having opted to represent Spain over Brazil, Costa looked like a fish out of water and after three matches scoring no goals and Spain’s early exit, they aren’t complaining. His World Cup stats read: 50 touches of the ball in the tournament, no goals, no shots on target and just ten touches in total in the opposition penalty box.

Fred (Brazil)
The ignominious Fred departed the pitch in his last World Cup game after his every touch was being met by jeers by his home crowd in Belo Horizonte. A single goal to his name in six games, the hapless and erratically Fred remains the most impressive non-striker at the World Cup. The definition of peripheral.

Other dishonourable mentions:

Stipe Pletikosa (Croatia)
Sergio Ramos (Spain)
Dani Alves (Brazil)
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)
Philippe Senderos (Switzerland)
David Luiz (Brazil)
Wilson Palacios (Honduras)
Shinji Kagawa (Japan)
Xavi (Spain)
Joao Moutinho (Portugal)
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana)
Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon)
Hulk (Brazil)
Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
Wayne Rooney (England)


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