MARC ILES: Best of the bunch in Brazil... so far

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa

First published in Headlines

WE’RE just over a week into the World Cup and we have seen every team in action at least once.

Chief football writer Marc Iles picks out his best XI from an exciting week of football in Brazil.

Goalkeeper – Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)

Produced the outstanding individual display of the tournament so far to keep Brazil at bay. His save from Rafa Marquez’s mis-timed header conjured comparisons with the famous Gordon Banks effort to deny Pele.

Right-back – Matthieu Debuchy (France)

Gave France lots of width and looks so comfortable on the ball. Didn’t have the best season with Newcastle – but looks a player in decent form.

Centre-back – Mats Hummels (Germany)

Scored against Portugal with a thundering header and coped easily until he was withdrawn with a knee injury. Hopefully not the last we will see of him.

Centre-back – Thiago Silva (Brazil)

Not perhaps a national trait, but this Brazilian is strong, tough and has immaculate timing in the tackle. He needs to be with David Luiz as his defensive partner.

Left-back – Daley Blind (Netherlands)

Just incredible against Spain and looks to be a real talent for the future. At only 24, he will be one of the hottest properties in Europe this summer after a couple of cultured performances.

Central midfield – Arturo Vidal (Chile)

Suffered a serious knee injury just before the World Cup but has produced a superhuman recovery to marshall Chile’s midfield. Covered 11km against Spain, which is quite phenomenal considering his problems.

Central midfield – Andrea Pirlo (Italy)

Just oozes cool. Almost incapable of losing possession and despite being the oldest member of the team I have chosen – definitely the one with the keenest eye for a pass.

Central midfield – Kyle Beckerman (USA)

Dreadlocks flying – the American enforcer got absolutely everywhere in their victory over Ghana and put in umpteen tackles. He and Vidal could provide the muscle to protect midfield maestro Pirlo in my team.

Right attack – Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

Now officially the world’s fastest player. You know exactly what he wants to do, cut in on that left foot, but stopping him is another matter altogether. Such a shame that we are no longer seeing him in the Premier League.

Centre forward – Robin van Persie (Netherlands)

So good was his header against Spain that it has spawned its own craze – Van Perseeing. I don’t know if I have ever seen a better goal live. The only one that goes close was from his compatriot Dennis Bergkamp against Argentina.

Left attack – Thomas Muller (Germany)

Seems to come alive in the World Cup and tormented Spain with a perfect hat-trick. Has a habit of being the right man in the right place at the right time – almost like an anti-John McClane.

Substitutes: Manuel Neuer (Germany), Stephane Lichtensteiner (Switzerland), Geoff Cameron (USA), Matthieu Valbuena (France), Charles Araguiz (Chile), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), Toni Kroos (Germany), Karim Benzema (France), Neymar (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina).

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