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06-18-2010, 06:33 PM #1
FIFA World Cup 2010: Best 11 After First Round Of Games
Tim Howard had to fight off strong competition from Nigeria's Vincent Enyeama.
Both goalkeepers put in fantastic performances, but Tim Howard just tipped it. Howard made some top-class saves against England and was one of the main reasons behind the USA gaining a point from the game.
Howard also suffered a major injury after crashing with England's Emile Heskey, but he remained in goal despite injuring his ribs.
I can guarantee Alex Ferguson is wondering why this Tim Howard never turned up at Old Trafford.
Maicon put in a sensational performance against a tough, stubborn North Korea, who stifled Brazil for 55 minutes.
The Brazilian right back used the entire length of the pitch for the entire game and ran relentlessly from byline to byline for his country.
Maicon was one of Brazil's best players in the game and scored what will undoubtedly be the goal of the tournament from the tightest of angles.
Move over Sergio Ramos, because the best right back in the world is heading to Madrid to replace you.
Diego Lugano, Uruguay
He turned in one of the best defensive performances of the tournament so far. Granted, there has been very little competition for that prize, but Uruguay and their captain led from the back in their opener against France.
Diego Lugano had a solid performance at the back against the French. He gave up very little along the ground and was a dominant force in the air.
He was a threat when he went forward for set plays with his height, and he stood up and was counted when Uruguay went down to 10 men.
Joris Mathijsen, Holland
The Dutch did not win as convincingly as many had expected, but the one thing they did do was defend very well.
Their Danish opponents had very little chances in front of the Dutch goal, and that was down to Mathijsen's great work sweeping things up at the back.
Denmark's front line struggled to get anything from the Dutch defense and Mathijsen had a strong game and had Bendtner shut down from the start of the game.
Philipp Lahm had very little to do defensively against the Aussies, but in the opening minutes he made a crucial block on the goal line to prevent Australia's striker, Garcia, from opening the scoring.
Lahm was a constant danger on the wing for Germany and he created numerous goal-scoring chances for his teammates.
He put in an inch-perfect cross for his fellow countryman, Miroslav Klose. The cross forced the keeper to come out and try to claim the ball, but the cross was so good that Klose made it two for Germany, and the landslide began.
Gelson Fernandes helped his team pick up the shock of the tournament and it was his goal that secured the memorable win for Switzerland over Spain.
Fernandes worked relentlessly in the midfield, closing down the Spanish midfielder as well as funneling back to help his defense.
Despite his constant work in his own half, he showed great awareness in the other half when he was in the right position at the right time to pounce on poor Spanish defending and seal the upset of the tournament
South Korea put in one of the best performances of the World Cup thus far, and it started with their captain Ji Sung Park.
Park was a workhorse who never stopped running and never gave up on a play or a ball.
He showed great quality and skill when he burst through the Greek defense to seal the 2-0 win for his country.
He used the ball perfectly and caused the Greece players plenty of trouble going forward, as well as trouble to get by him going the other way.
Turkey will be very upset that they could not convince Mesut Ozil to wear their colors instead of the German colors.
Ozil came out and set the World Cup alight with his opening performance. Every move forward went through Ozil and he caused Australia problem after problem.
His passing and creativity was second to none, and the German team looked like a completely new model with Ozil leading the midfield.
When he was taken off after the game was secured, the German attacking moves did not have the same threat or pace.
His name will be linked to a number of clubs after that performance.
Brazil were stopped by a well organized, solid defensive display by North Korea, but Robinho did not lose faith or show frustration.
Robinho showed great footwork and attacking pressure during the entire game, and his through ball to set up Elano for Brazil's second was one of the passes of the tournament.
Robinho played with a great appetite and looked like he was really enjoying his football again, which was great to see.
He led his country in shots on goal and was an example to the rest of his teammates.
Coming into the tournament everyone wanted to know how Messi would play in the blue and white of Argentina, and he did not fail to impress in his opening game against Nigeria.
Messi failed to score, but he was a constant threat for Nigeria, who could not handle his speed and quality.
The Barcelona winger had eight shots in the game, all of which could have easily been goals if the Nigerian goalkeeper was not in such fantastic form.
From start to finish Messi danced his way through the Nigerian team and the only way they could stop him was by fouling him. Despite a game without a goal it was still a world-class performance.
Coming into the tournament, many people said that Klose should not have been included in the squad due to his terrible season with Bayern Munich.
He proved them all wrong with a sensational performance in his opening game.
Klose could have had a hat trick and was remarkable upfront for the Germans. He towered over the Australian goalkeeper to win a header from a Lahm cross to get Germany's second goal.
Klose looked very sharp and caused a constant threat up front against Australia.
...being a human...