The World Cup is nearly over. Just one insignificant knockout match and the third-place play-off left. OTP decided to take the post semi-final lull as our cue to unleash our team of the tournament. It’s a tough call, of course, but here are the players we think were the best in show at South Africa 2010.
1. Justo Villar (Paraguay)
Has made some of the top saves in the tournament and has been a key component in a defence that looked solid throughout the tournament.
2. Maxi Pereira (Uruguay)
We all know the world’s pin-up right-backs, but in this tournament there have been none as effective as the Uruguay man.
3. Philipp Lahm (Germany)
It could easily have been Ashley Cole, but Lahm’s role in skippering his side to the semi-finals means he gets the nod. Like the England player, Lahm is one of a handful of left-backs you would trust defensively and attacking in equal measures.
4. John Paintsil (Ghana)
Coming into the tournament on the back of a fantastic season with Fulham, Paintsil was an absolute rock in defence for Ghana. A relatively old head in a young team, he rarely put a foot wrong.
5. Antolin Alcaraz (Paraguay)
Wigan fans must be rubbing their hands with glee that they signed Alcaraz before the tournament or his wage demands might have been significantly inflated. Solid in defence, he also weighed in with the goal against Italy.
6. Wesley Sneijder (Holland)
The Dutch magician has plotted his side’s way to the final. You suspect the side would not tick anywhere near as well without him in the side.
7. Mesut Ozil (Germany)
Sadly, wasn’t at his dazzling best for the quarter or semi-finals but had already made his mark on the tournament long before that. Destined for a big-money move this summer.
8. Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Seems harsh to separate him from Xavi, but he has probably just pipped his midfield compadre for form in the tournament. As always, they are the heartbeat of the Spain team.
9. Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
Forlan has been in-and-out of this team but when it came to the final decision it was Bastian Schweinsteiger who didn’t make the cut. They have both bossed the pitch in teams that don’t have a Xavi/Iniesta midfield pairing. Forlan’s goals gave him the edge.
10. Thomas Mueller (Germany)
One of the revelations of the tournament. He has shown pace, power and a cool head to convert Germany’s quick breaks into goals.
11. David Villa (Spain)
The tournament’s best goalscorer. He has looked consistently dangerous and coped well with an out-of-sorts strike partner.
So close they deserve a mention: Diego Godin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Gregory Van Der Wiel, Xavi, Miroslav Klose
It is all subjective. Let’s hear your corrections, amendments and your own top XIs.