The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 15 , 2014
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Lionel Messi is indispensable

- The Telegraph’s team of the World Cup

A highly entertaining World Cup has come to an end. Entrusted with the responsibility of picking The Telegraph’s team of the World Cup, I was spoilt for choices. But I have chosen one, based on a 4-4-2 formation. Here it goes…


Manuel Neuer (Germany): The German custodian has shown that he has perhaps got the safest pair of hands in this tournament. He has come up with some great saves. But he also gets my vote with his overall performance. He is able to inspire confidence among his teammates.


Philipp Lahm (Germany): Lahm has impressed me as he can play with equal ease as a full back or a defensive midfielder. He brings solidity to the defence and can prove dangerous as he can provide an impetus to the attack of his team. He can create moves from behind for his forwards.

Mats Hummels (Germany): Hummels is a solid stopper and can be an asset to any defence. He has also scored twice in this World Cup — against Portugal and France. In fact, it was his goal against France in the quarter final that put Germany into the semis. That shows that when needed, he can play an attacking role as well, without compromising on his primary position.

Ron Vlaar (The Netherlands): This Aston Villa central defender has come across as very dependable for The Netherlands squad. His confidence has impressed me, specially against Argentina in the semis. When Luis Van Gaal entrusted him with the responsibility of stopping the likes of Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain, not many gave him much chance. But he responded magnificently.

Marcos Rojo (Argentina): In Latin American teams, defenders often get overshadowed by the forwards who are more in the limelight. But Rojo has proved how important a good defender is to a team, specially in Argentina’s last three matches of this World Cup — against Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.


Arjen Robben (The Netherlands): The 30-year-old attacking midfielder has played a pivotal role for the Dutch.The controversies about his diving notwithstanding, Robben proved to be one of the most effective midfielders of the Cup.

Thomas Mueller (Germany): Germany had the best midfield in this World Cup, and Mueller contributed a lot towards making them that strong. An attacking midfielder, his agility, skill and game-making abilities made him indispensable to his side.

James Rodriguez (Colombia): The 23-year-old came into the World Cup without a star status, but returned from it becoming one. Colombia did not make it past the quarters, losing to Brazil, but Rodriguez had done enough by then to make the 2014 Cup a memorable one for him. His six goals earned him the Golden Boot award.

Javier Mascherano (Argentina): Mascherano makes it to my team as I want a defensive midfielder to balance it out. The other three I have picked are attacking midfielders. Mascherano lends solidity to the midfield, and when needed can fall back to make the defence stronger.


Lionel Messi (Argentina): This superstar should have shone brighter in this Cup, but you really have to include him in any team of this time. Messi, after all, is Messi and can turn a match around at any point. He has to be one of the strikers. He is indispensable.

Neymar (Brazil): He is an immensely talented youngster. His injury was the biggest loss of this World Cup. Like Messi, he too can change the fortunes of a team single-handedly. He definitely gets my vote as a forward. His fractured vertebra, has put an end to the dreams and aspirations of an entire nation. Brazil did not recover as a team. We can only hope Neymar will be back at his brilliant best.