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2014 World Cup: The stars, wanna-bes and flops!

What players have left their individual stamp on the Brazil 2014 World Cup?

Colombia’s James Rodriguez, Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Brazil’s Neymar, Germany’s Manuel Neuer and Netherlands’ Arjen Robben comes to mind. But no player has been at the epicentre of his team’s tactics as well the opposition’s as much Messi.

Photo: Argentina forward and captain Lionel Messi (left) has been stockpiling defenders whole tournament.  (Copyright AFP 2014/Yasuyoshi Chiba)
Photo: Argentina forward and captain Lionel Messi (left) has been stockpiling defenders whole tournament. (Copyright AFP 2014/Yasuyoshi Chiba)

There is a running joke that Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella asks Messi two decisive questions before each match: Where do you want to play; and who do you want to play with?

But the flipside to that is opposing teams pay so much attention to the little maestro that it would not surprise if Netherlands midfielder Nigel De Jong instinctively tried to follow Messi into the Argentina dressing room at halftime.

Four goals, four man of the match awards, one game-winning assist and more than a handful of magical moments is why Messi gets the Wired868 pick as Player of the Tournament. The fact that Messi has not been at his absolute best only further drives home his exceptional gift.

France midfield man-child Paul Pogba, a marvellous cocktail is technique, arrogance and athleticism, is our pick as Young Player of the Tournament. And that is as much a no-brainer as the selection of Germany sweeper/keeper, Neuer, as the Golden Gloves.

And who was the biggest flop?

Photo: Sideshow Bob?! Brazil defender David Luiz celebrates the decisive goal against Colombia.  But Luiz was as handy as an ashtray on a motorbike against Germany and Netherlands. (Copyright AFP 2014/Vanderlei Almeida)
Photo: Sideshow Bob?!
Brazil defender David Luiz celebrates the decisive goal against Colombia.
But Luiz was as handy as an ashtray on a motorbike against Germany and Netherlands.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Vanderlei Almeida)

Brazil striker Fred is an obvious frontrunner; and surely coach Luis “Felipe” Scolari did not put his centre-forward position up for tender before the competition. But then Spain veteran Xavi, Ghana midfielder Kevin Prince-Boateng and Cameroon captain Samuel Eto’o all made a case for themselves with varying degrees of uselessness.

But who would Mr Live Wire leave behind on a night out with an empty back seat?

That would be Brazil defender David Luiz, who has the athleticism of a thoroughbred and the spatial awareness of a donkey. So, Luiz is our flop of the Cup.

There were a few contenders for the most bizarre moment of the competition. Ghana’s plane-full of cash, Spain’s ill-timed siesta against Netherlands, Portugal defender Pepe’s head-to-head meeting with Germany attacker Thomas Müller and Brazil’s collective meltdown against Germany.

Photo: Uruguay forward Luis Suarez (left) discovers that Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini surprisingly tastes nothing like panini. Does anyone have a toothpick?  (Copyright AFP 2014/Javier Soriano)
Photo: Uruguay forward Luis Suarez (left) discovers that Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini surprisingly tastes nothing like panini.
Does anyone have a toothpick?
(Copyright AFP 2014/Javier Soriano)

But, really, nothing came close to Uruguay striker Luis “Hannibal-Lecter-in-a-togs” Suarez’s compulsive snacking against Italy. Sorry Barcelona, his taste for defenders is too advanced now; we recommend you have him put down.

And here are Wired868 stand-outs of the 2014 World Cup:

Our top XI players in a 4-3-3 formation:

Manuel Neuer (Germany); Philipp Lahm (Germany), Ron Vlaar (Netherlands), Mats Hummel (Germany), Ricardo Rordiguez (Switzerland); Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Toni Kroos (Germany), James Rodriguez (Colombia); Thomas Müller (Germany), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Arjen Robben (Netherlands).

And here are the players who did not make our top XI but we think significantly enhanced their reputations this tournament:

Photo: Brazil forward Neymar (left) prepares to put Cameroon midfielder Enoh Eyong in a youtube video.   (Copyright AFP 2014/Vanderlei Almeida)
Photo: Brazil forward Neymar (left) prepares to put Cameroon midfielder Enoh Eyong in a youtube video.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Vanderlei Almeida)

Guillermo Ocho (Mexico); Fabian Johnson (United States), Gary Medel (Chile), Daley Blind (Netherlands), Miguel Layun (Mexico); Ogenyi Onazi (Nigeria), Jermaine Jones (United States), Paul Pogba (France); Neymar (Brazil), Joel Campbell (Costa Rica), Juan Cuadrado (Colombia).


Editor’s Note: Who were your World Cup stand outs? And who do you think was the biggest flop? Let us know!

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  1. Neuer, hands down. No pun intended.

  2. For the often overlooked defensive side of the equation, I really liked Holebas, Aurier, Yedlin, Howedes, Nkoulou, Vertonghen, and Debuchy.

  3. The reality of the situation for Brazil is the fact they allowed their head coach to leave KAKA, RONALDINHO and Coutinho out of the squad. Totally unacceptable. There was no back up for the injury of Neymar. Stop giving so much power to one man and have a selection panel like the clubs.
    Remember Roger Milla? There was an intervention by the President to pick him.
    I believe that Messi really picks the team. The rumours said he would not play with Tevez. Imagine you could bring on a prolific goal scorer in the extra time period would be terrific. All this is something countries need to address when these players go to Europe their personalities and egos swell and become bigger than their country. To all the players out there, “COUNTRY FIRST”!

  4. I liked aurier and vertonghen from that list.

  5. The real flop of the torny was Scolari, just like Dunga, terrible picks.

    Really Maicon? Luis? Dante? Marcelo? Alves?

    Maicon?Maicon? Really since Bale destroyed him he never was the same. Yea take him to the world cup all good, but actually play him against the world’s best! Ah DOUBT!

    No Rafinha?No Marquinhnos?

    They needed centre backs like Dede? Not a big European name but one more central the defender than all other “defenders” picked. none of which are really full time Central defenders except for Silva.

    That was a too attacking backline! Everyone wants to be a “false number 9.”

    Five attacking backs that he decides to play 3 of them at once? No defence? No covers? Who cares? Not even Ramieres to cover?

    Midfield? How much creative mid fielders did you really pick Philipe? Oscar and who? No Ronaldiniho: who obviously could have been picked and Hernanes needed more sweat (2 lazio men in the final and the play maker couldn’t get some time, sad Scolari)

    Coutinho probably was injured but better than Bernard (give him a few years)

    Damaio looks good, better than Paulinho,.


    What about Lucas Mora? That pace as a choice could have changed games. Ganso where is he? In fact where are the Brazilian league guys.?

    Dunga’s side was half defensive midfielders, In fact the side he captain, though effective and with the exception of Beberto and Romario, was quite boring, I even count Junior Baino as one of the worst footballers I have ever seen but atleast with Branco and the rest looked better than no brained Luis.

    This pick was totally wrong by Scolari. What did he think there was gonna be defenders at the World Cup? Nobody knows how to counter-attack? All I need is one defender,one creative player and one striker.Madness!

  6. Stand outs: James Rodriguez, Neymar, Robben, a couple goalkeepers and a couple Germans!
    Flops: Fred #1
    Disappointments: Messi #1

  7. It was revealed right here on 868 the cut arse Brazil were going to get, how and why. Yes Curtis, before that match even kicked off, that was the observation with Brazil. The formation has a lot to do with a winning team though. I have several first elevens in different formations. Here is one for you guys and why: 3-2-3-2 formation.

    Neuer Keeper(shut out in a world cup final, semifinal) Vincent Kompany ( Stingiest defender in world football) Philip Lahm ( played two positions) Rojo ( most attacking wingback who actually gets back) Dirk Kuyt ( played 3 positions) Sami Khedira ( defensive midfield giant world Cup champion) Mascherano ( most completed passes in tournament so far I think) Ajen Robben (plays both sides and middle) Muller (workhorse can hold up the ball, cross and head) James Rodrigues( talent, heart and soul for country).
    Maybe I’ll tweek it later.

  8. You misunderstood me Curtis. Read my comment again and you will see I said he should have been in the squad.

  9. Looks like Messi plans to beat Hummels out of my team! Lol.

  10. FIFA supposedly wants to block Suarez unveiling.
    Personally, I don’t see how it is FIFA’s business once he is not playing on the field

  11. Curtis, I have said Barcelona’s problems started when Abidal’s health faded. And Alba was a poor signing.
    Of course there must have been many more issues behind the scenes. But that was most obvious tactical problem to me.

  12. OK why would you have to defenders wingback running forward like headless chickens….you know that is barca problem ? When abidal was there he was good defensively and when alves attack he would become the 3rd defender and he actually was a defender not a midfielder playing defense. With your both wingbacks leaving their positions at all times then you become vulnerable on the flanks that’s why Germany place muller on the right and can’t remember who was on the left. But Muller was placed their strategically to exploit Marcelo…so now you understand why Felipe was needed? He is better defensively

  13. He got his squad selection right. Del Bosque (who I rate highly) and Scolari made critical errors. Over the last two years, it was clear Xavi wasn’t anywhere close to his best and Torres barely good enough for our Pro League.

    Big Phil picked a side with no variation and ignored players in favour of those he knew. You can argue Coutinho but you can’t convince me that Felipe and Lucas didn’t belong on that squad.

  14. Argentina coach, Sabella, was a bit braver by bringing in Di Michelis when Federico was not performing and replacing Gago with Biglia.

  15. You have to pick on merit Curtis but that’s not what Scolari did or Del Bosque for that matter. .

  16. I hope he doesn’t continue his behavior at barca..that’s my club and they have a very good image.. I hope he doesn’t do this again. I think he will make an extra effort though especially after all action taken against him maybe hell be wiser

  17. Nothing for head butts or racist behavior?

  18. I said it once, n i’ll say it again, anytime u drop from as high as R9 el fenomeno, to as low as Fred el fenomeNOT, then ur gonna be in problems..lol.. that’s my take in a nutshell..lol..

  19. Big phil was to bias in some of his choices. I hate when men are picked because of “merit”.. Men should be picked based on present form. Courtino , why he wasnt picked? , Miranda, Felipe Luis, ….Marcelo is so predictable , he plays like a wing midfielder… If I was a coach , I would place my fastest winger on the side Marcelo plays and kill bra7il down the right… Well I’m not a bra7il fan. Spain is my team but it was the same thing with del bosque. What’s up with casillas in goal? Where is Lopez? Where was navas? And isco?

  20. Defensively Brasil should have picked Felipe Luis and Marquinos Lasana.

  21. Mellos, you really not easy.

  22. I would choose Fred the Unafraid who showed the world the nepotism,curry favour,cluenessness,propaganda and vapidity that doomed Brazil.However,if he comes to Trinidad,there are wonderful opportunities open to him and high office for his qualifications or lack thereof.

  23. And that isn’t I don’t think Aguero deserves his place. But he is so talented I expected him to have exploded already.
    Kyle Papin, you are absolutely right. Shaqiri should have been in that second team ahead of Jermaine Jones!

  24. Would add Shaqiri from Switzerland

  25. I’d slot Hazard, Marcelo & Aguero as notable poor performers.

  26. Yes. I might have to pay closer attention to him in the defensive third. But there is a shortage of good full backs right now. And I don’t think people will be looking for Brazilians there anymore.
    Switzerland, Costa Rica and Mexico had some of the best full backs at the World Cup whereas teams like Netherlands using Kuyt and Brazil had to return to Maicon.

  27. I wonder why Wenger didn’t go for aurier ? He was one of the best wing backs , his delivery was exceptional, surprising for an African because usually they lack composure in the final third…I think he is being overlooked because he spent have a ” big name” , and I think if a big club grabs him then they everyone will see his potential … Lasana Liburd

  28. Bryan Ruiz was really good too.

  29. Yeah Curtis. I had Hazard among my big flops too. Sergio Aguero too. Although I’m hoping that Aguero fixes that today.
    When I saw Belgium turn to long balls against Argentina, I wonder if its coach just didn’t have enough faith in his technical players.

  30. Gyan was excellent but so were the others and he didn’t stick around long enough.
    I also was very impressed with Côte d’Ivoire right back Serge Aurier and Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. They tempted me even more than Gyan. Muntari was solid too.

  31. I agree rojo really impressed me but hazard was the biggest flop of this tournament. I expected way better…I think the problem though is that wing midfield position he is playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation is limiting him because of the defensive work required…as a wing forward in a 4-3-3 formation will bring out the best in hazard. He needs to get the ball higher up the pitch where he can run at the wingback and not at the opposing wing midfielder .what do you think Lasana Liburd?

  32. Thiago Silva was close Prince Borde. Jerome Boateng? Not by a long shot. But let’s see him today.

  33. I see no Gyan. I will hold my tongue.

  34. Yes they certainly are. I agree.

  35. Well, I even had to put Blind in central defence to get him in Amery. But Rojo should have ample consolation with the trophy. 🙂

  36. Lasana Tiago silva? Kevin Boatang?

  37. Jermaine Jones was a real warrior and showed up in every game. He just ran himself into the ground at times. You wouldn’t say people are more aware of his ability now?

  38. Weldon Marquis, I was surprised that Tim Howard didn’t make the FIFA shortlist for the best goalkeeper. But Neuer’s role as a keeper/sweeper was really impressive. He might even be Germany’s best individual player just as Oliver Kahn was in 2002.

  39. Neymar was the hardest player to leave out Brian Manswell. But I thought Robben, Messi and Muller were better.
    Personally, I prefer Neymar to Muller. But Muller did more.

  40. Jones had one brilliant free kick. However,he kept passing the ball to the opposing players game after game. Yes he deserves merit,but what? Lol!

  41. Lasana no shoutout for Howard’s heroics? Or am I just a victim of too much USA hype and ESPN?

  42. Nicely done. I think the outstanding young Marcos Rojo deserves some mention as well.

  43. ey Brian we live in a world full of bias,it is all around……

  44. Even with going out as an injured player Neymar must have made that first eleven with 4 World Cup goals.