So, here we are, without Freddy Adu, the Boston Irish 2010 World Cup team of the tournament.
First things first, you can’t have a football team without a manager. The Boston Irish XI will be playing fast, expansive, free flowing football, and will need a manager who can harness the egos of eleven talented craftsmen. Step forward Bert Van Marwyck of The Netherlands. Always mysterious, shockingly silver haired, smooth dressed and even smoother talking, Van Marwyck performed a minor miracle in molding the Netherlands and their enormous, fiery and colourful egos into a potentially World Cup winning side. He is just the man for the job.
Straight forward at the back, two roaming full backs either side of two trusty center backs. Holding midfielders are kind of like Nike runners in the eighties. If you don't have a holding midfielder, you are considered not in fashion. In the eighties when all the cool kids had Nikes, I had 'High Techs’, which looked like something you would buy for five euros in Bulgaria. The Boston Irish XI will be playing with a holding midfielder. Three more midfielders, one of those a number 10 type 'sun' in the middle, everything will orbit around him. He will not just be 'sitting behind the back two’; I hate that phrase, that suggests someone who is only interested in attacking. Our guy is all action, he will tackle back, serve as a link between defence and attack, and, hopefully, chip in a few goals too. Up front? Two lads who will be told, ‘Just go score a couple of goals, fellas. Each, preferably.’
The keeper Tim Howard – USA
Howard was a rock for the USA in the World Cup. He is a superb shot stopper, and one of the few keepers who actually caught crosses, instead of slapping haplessly at them like some sort of cowardly nine year old. His distribution was excellent, a great example would be his forty yard, pin point throw to Donovan to set up the all important goal against Algeria. Plus he has Tourettes, bound to be a laugh in training.
Left back Phillip Lahm – Germany
Kind of like a small, angry dog in defence, nipping at the ankles of attackers. Charges up the wings like a crazed little demon. Made England’s Glenn Johnson look silly a few times. Led by example, captaining Germany further than many thought possible.
Right back Daniel Agger – Denmark
Denmark’s man of the match against Cameroon and possibly their most complete player, Agger was composed on the ball and strong in the tackle. A great proponent of the dead ball, able to score the occasional cracking pile driver from thirty yards.
Center back one Paulo Da Silva – Paraguay
Da Silva was an absolute rock all tournament long. Paraguay’s captain marshaled a defence that conceded only two goals in five grueling games. He won’t get many votes for team of the tournament but he damn well deserves them. Should get more of a look in at Sunderland next season after a powerful World Cup showing.
Gratuitous Sunderland snap
Center back two Gerard Pique – Spain
The Barcelona ace is only 23 years old, but already looks like a skilled veteran on the World stage. Pique is brilliant in the air, always makes his tackles count and shows incredibly good feet for a big man. Superb World Cup showing has only added to his glittering, glowing résumé. The world of football is at his feet.
Holding midfielder Mark Van Bommel – Netherlands
Move over the Mary Celeste. The fact that Van Bommel made it to the final of the World Cup with just one yellow card is now the greatest mystery of all time. Van Bommel is filthier than Lindsay Lohan on a Friday night. Some of his tackles should be X-rated, the rest should be at least top shelf material. To his eternal credit he played the referees beautifully, while protecting a shaky looking Dutch back four, and a wobbly looking young Dutch keeper. Possibly deserves the Nobel Prize, or something, for his efforts. The Stealth Bomber of World football. He probably just raked his studs down your shin as you read this, and nobody saw him.
Van Bommel - actually a nice guy!
Two more midfielders Wesley Sneijder - Netherlands Xabi Alonso – Spain
With wild apologies and all due respect to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who played fantastic. Just couldn’t fit him in ahead of these two. Alonso looks absolutely World class at the moment. His work rate and range of passing is truly sensational, and, for me anyway, he may not be the most celebrated Spanish midfielder of the current crop, however he is the most effective. Alonso never stops working up and down the park, and always fancies a crack at goal. What kind of a year is smooth Wesley Sneijder having? Champions League winner? Check! World Cup Finalist? Check! Sneijder has set the world alight with goals at all levels of football in ‘09/’10. Probably Spain’s biggest fear on Sunday night.
Number 10 Mesut Oezil – Germany
With all due respect to Xavi, Oezil was one of the finds of the tournament. He was admittedly low key against Spain, but completely mesmerized for long periods against England and Argentina. England had literally no clue what to do with him. Beautifully balanced player, with a wide range of skills and a nose for goal. The best part? He is twenty years old.
Striker one David Villa – Spain
Barcelona signed this guy for next season? Not fair! Villa playing on the same team as, to name a couple, Messi, Xavi and Iniesta? No fair! Villa looked sharp all tournament long, and with a bit of luck could have had another three or four goals, easily. He’s consistent too, he was the top scorer at Euro ’08 and will most likely end up at least joint top scorer at this tournament. Brilliant goal scorer, and a feisty little bastard too!
Striker two Diego Forlan - Uruguay
Forlan was the FIFA man of the match against France, South Africa and Ghana. He scored some spectacular goals none more so than the vicious, swerving strike that temporarily scared the clogs off the Dutch. For all the high priced talent on display, Forlan was an engaging, momentous force going forward, and sent some fantastic Twitter updates to boot.