The 2014 World Cup in Brazil has been one of the finest and most memorable tournaments to date. Now that the World Cup has come to a conclusion we have a complete picture of the performances of teams and of the individuals that make up those teams. Below is a list of the players that make up my World Cup Best XI. Some of you may disagree with my selection and I'm curious to know who you think should be included or not included on this list.
GK: Keylor Navas (Costa Rica) - There were LOTS of great goalkeepers in this Cup, but to me Navas stood out as the best. He made save after save and kept the Costa Rican Cinderella story going as long as it did.
DF: Philipp Lahm (Germany) - The German captain kept things nice and orderly in the back. Lahm was fantastic at pushing up the pitch and helped see Germany through to the end, even when things got a bit dicey in the back.
DF: Vincent Kompany (Belgium) - Kompany remains one of the best central defenders on the planet, and his physical prowess made Belgium very stubborn to score against.
DF: Ron Vlaar (Netherlands) - A great communicator in the back, the Dutchman did well to make things difficult for Messi and Argentina in the semi-final.
DF: Thiago Silva (Brazil) - Without Silva, the Brazilian defense lost its shape and composure. He was the bright spot on a shaky defense and helped get Brazil as far as they did.
MID: Javier Mascherano (Argentina) - Mascherano was the best Argentinean player in my opinion. He made it incredibly difficult for any offense to gain momentum and helped create things for Messi and Higuain.
MID: Sami Khedira (Germany) - Brought loads of creativity to the well-oiled German machine. His spacing and passing were sublime and the Final match against Argentina could have been a bit more one-sided had Khedira not been a late scratch.
MID: Thomas Muller (Germany) - Call him a withdrawn forward, winger, attacking midfielder...it doesn't matter. Muller is on track to break a lot of records. Muller netted 5 goals and notched 3 assists and was constantly involved in the German attack.
FW: Lionel Messi (Argentina) - Messi was not the best player in the World Cup, but he played a huge role getting Argentina to the Final (well okay, maybe not the last two games). Despite all of the firepower Argentina had to offer (really Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria) Messi was the only consistent threat.
FW: James Rodriguez (Columbia) - Rodriguez managed to score 6 goals in 5 games which is stunning. Rodriguez is not only a strong finisher, but also a great passer. Columbia may have crashed out to the host nation in the quarter-finals, but Columbia has a lot to look forward to in this young forward.
FW: Arjen Robben (Netherlands) - Okay, Diving-Dutchman memes aside, Robben was THE best player in the World Cup, at least to me. He was an absolute engine on the field that never slowed, and his pace, passing, vision, and touch looked lethal nearly every minute of each game he played in.