Monday, 14 July 2014

Heroes and Zeroes - World Cup 2014

Well it's done and dusted and sports fans will have to content themselves with the Tour or the Test matches as Brazil's World Cup comes to an end and we start to look towards the new Premier league season which will be upon us before we know it.

But before we leave Brazil completely I thought I'd have a look at the heroes and zeroes of the campaign and ponder what they show us.

The Heroes
Using the Opta stats this is THE team of the 2014 World Cup:

and this is the MOTD Pundit's choice:

For me the star of the games was a Goalkeeper: Tim Howard (United States) 
Played just four games but was the busiest goalkeeper in the tournament - leading the group stages with 27 saves. Against Belgium he was immense (13 diving saves from 15 saves made). He was solid and kept his fiercely dedicated and engaged side (everything England perhaps weren't)  in the game at times and was in no small measure the reason America advanced into the knockout stages!

The Zeroes
Using the stats again:

Well at least we have some England players on the pitch! But I was a little surprised at the vitriol behind some of the comments regarding our offering in this category:

Leighton Baines (Left Back)
England can manage without Ashley Cole! It was the en vogue refrain from the minute that manager Roy Hodgson picked his provisional squad. The future of the Three Lions' left side was in safe hands thanks to the moptopped Toffee and young Luke Shaw, Man United's apparent new signing. The refrain appears to have been little more than a diversionary mantra, a chant born of delusion rather than truth. Baines was toasted by the canny movements of Matteo Darmian and Antonio Candreva versus Italy; it didn't help that he was frequently left to defend two-on-one, but the manner in which he bought Candreva's dummy before the cross that Mario Balotelli scored for the game winner suggested that he was a callow teen, not the stalwart who has locked down Everton's flank since 2007. It wasn't much better against Uruguay. 

Glen Johnson (Right Back)
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 subpar performances amid 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. Johnson looked outmatched no matter which opponent was running at him.

Steven Gerrard (Defensive Midfielder)
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.

So there we have it - I'm have to be honest and admit that I'm quite pleasantly surprised as I was expecting more England players in the Flops XI.

So, as one ever hopeful England fan has it, we can look forward to Euro 16 and a victorious England campaign now. Good to have faith innit :-)

ps. Am I the only one to have been thoroughly depressed and the amount of diving that happened throughout the competition? 

My award for diver of the games has to be Arjen Robben, a man who makes Drogba look amateur and should be heading for hollywood (or the Olympic diving pool) when his career ends. The sadness is that he a great player who has no need of cheating and this makes his actions all the more distasteful :-(


football dad said...

didn't expect this on a religious blog.

I can only echo the sentiments that Gerrard should be hanging up his boots for England. The number of Liverpool fans who are so blinkered as to him and their what I fear might be a one season wonder team that they can't see what everyone else sees.

Of course without Suarez I don't think they will be as competitive this season either and the distraction of champions league will probably do for them. Hope not but that's the fear.

and I support the Baggies

Anonymous said...

"You can only be world champions when you act as a team. We wanted to make that clear to everyone the whole time and we achieved that, even if we got that little bit of luck in the final as we were already a bit waiting for penalties."

Manuel Neuer

Snetamu said...

If the last one was a penalty then I'm the archbishop of Canterbury!

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Thank you for comments - sadly it seems we don't have the ABC in our midst and yes indeedy - team is what it's about, not highly paid individuals sharing a pitch!

Think Liverpool will feel the bite next season then (and if they face Suarez in Champion's League, they probably will!)


Vic Van Den Bergh said...

'Religious' blog - Where?