BE PART OF THE TEAM

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 30 September 2020
Advertisement

Here are the best and worst XIs of the World Cup's first round of games

Arjen Robben, Oscar and Andrea Pirlo all feature in our team of the tournament so far.

Arjen Robben makes our best XI of the first round of games.
Arjen Robben makes our best XI of the first round of games.

Keylor Navas (Costa Rica): Couldn’t be faulted for failing to keep out the Uruguay penalty, and made some impressive saves, including one particularly eye-catching stop to deny Diego Forlan. With Uruguay leading 1-0 at the time, Navas’ agility kept his side in the game and he consequently deserves as much credit as any other player for their win.

Matteo Darmian (Italy): Constantly caused England problems down their left flank with his overlapping forward runs.

Ron Vlaar (Holland): The Aston Villa man produced a commanding display in Holland’s win over Spain, generally getting the better of the opposition’s formidable attack, and making one particularly impressive tackle on Diego Costa at a crucial point in the game.

Mats Hummels (Germany): Was solid at the back, kept a clean sheet and scored a fantastic header in Germany’s emphatic defeat of Portugal.

Daley Blind (Holland): Was named Dutch Footballer of the Year at the end of the domestic season and showed why against Spain, creating assists for Holland’s opening two goals with impressively accurate long balls. Looked reliable at the back also.

Arjen Robben (Holland): The speedy Dutch winger gave a vintage display against Spain, continually exposing their high line with his pace and punishing them with some characteristic clinical finishing.

Oscar (Brazil): Epitomised Brazil’s strengths in their opening round encounter against Croatia with a highly committed display, while scoring the killer third goal to boot.

Andrea Pirlo (Italy): Completed 103 out of 108 passes against England and dominated the midfield at crucial periods.

Toni Kroos (Germany): Germany’s creative fulcrum against Portugal, Kroos was a key component in his side’s rout of Cristiano Ronaldo and co.

Thomas Müller (Germany): Continued his remarkable goalscoring record at major tournaments with a fine hat-trick as Germany demolished Portugal.

Robin van Persie (Holland): Scored undoubtedly the goal of the tournament so far in the form an outrageous header and generally starred in Holland’s astonishing win over Spain.

Subs: Tim Howard (USA), Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast), Rafael Marquez (Mexico), Pablo Armero (Colombia), Nigel de Jong (Holland), Joel Campbell (Costa Rica), Neymar (Brazil).

Flops XI: Stipe Pletikosa (Croatia); Joao Pereira (Portugal), Pepe (Portugal), Bruno Alves (Portugal), Sergio Ramos (Spain); Nani (Portugal), Wilson Palacios (Honduras), Steven Gerrard (England), Dimitris Salpingidis (Greece); Wayne Rooney (England), Diego Costa (Spain).

Who would you have picked? Let us know in the comments section below.

Joe Hart screamed and swore at a ballboy after Pirlo’s free-kick>

Here’s where England v Italy was won and lost>

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

Read next:

COMMENTS (15)