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It's difficult to put together the best team of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but it's even harder to come up with a team of 11 players who promised so much, but delivered so little. Yes, in a way the Worst XI of the World Cup is a bit of a misnomer, maybe it would be more appropriate to title this as the players who disappointed the most...but you get the gist.Â It's a list that no professional player would like to be a part of, but their disappointing performances on (and off) the pitch very much deserves this punishment. They have been put together in a 4-4-2 formation that was on display by a number of teams over the month-long tournament. On paper you might have fancied this team to win the World Cup, but on performance they would have even struggled to qualify for the World Cup finals.
Starting with the goalkeeper, there were lots of them who made errors but this credit should go to the English goalie Robert Green. You can say that the jabulani was a major factor but his howler against the United States in the opening group game would have been saved even by a schoolboy. No wonder, he was never given a sniff in the playing eleven after his horrible mistake. A unanimous choice.
In defence we have gone with the partnership of Italy's once upon a time inspirational Captain Fabio Cannavaro and Argentina's Martin Demichelis, though John Terry did provide stiff competition. Cannavaro was the shield, rock solid at the back and nothing got past him in the 2006 World Cup, but this time around there were quite a few crevices in the rock. He lost a majority of headers, was cut very easily, didn't read the game well and was the culprit on most of Italy's goals conceded. Demichelis is his perfect accomplice. His error against South Korea in the group stages was over-shadowed by the brilliant display of the Argentines. However, against Germany, he was made to look silly and out of place on numerous occasions by the Germany's ominous strike-force. You could very well see the reason why ex-Argentine manager Jose Pekerman didn't pick him for the 2006 edition. John Terry made person one error of note on the pitch, but his attempt at mutiny behind the scenes should never be forgotten or forgiven. How the mighty have fallen!
Patrice Evra, who has been one of the consistent performers for Manchester United in the last 3-4 seasons, went missing big-time. Not only did he not make his usual bursting runs down the left flank, his defending and tackling too was ordinary and mistimed. And if this was not enough, he also refused to train for the final game at a time when he should really have provided stability and discipline in the French squad. Argentina's non-existent right back is our pick for the final defensive spot. Diego Maradona in his wisdom opted to not pick any right-back's in his squad and when 22-year old Velez Sarsfield defenderÂ Nicolas Otamendi was thrust into that position,Â Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller gave a night he would never forget.
Another one of the bright sparks of the 2006 edition Frank Ribery failed to live up to expectations. The talented playmaker had a volatile season with German Champions Bayern Munich, and brought no form with him at the end of it into the World Cup. In sharp contrast England midfielder Frank Lampard scored 27 goals (his highest ever) for Chelsea in the 2009-10 campaign but struggled to create any influence in the national colors. You hardly heard his name mentioned on commentary unless it was for a wayward pass. Let alone scoring goals, he hardly made his successful late runs in the box or created anything for others in the team. His passes were either over-hit or under-hit all through the course of their four games. He almost salvaged some pride though, with his goal that wasn't to be against the Germans. Had it not been for that moment, Lampard would have got a lot more flak for his showin at the World Cup.
Felipe Melo gets the defensive midfielder slot uncontested for his lacklustre display. Already suspended for one game in the group stages, he didn't learn his lesson and stamped Arjen Robben in the quarter-finals and left his team with an up-hill task at a time when he really had to show composure and discipline. He played a huge role in Brazil's exit at the hands of the Dutch.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the world's most expensive player completes our midfield section. Arguably, he was the player that came into the tournament with the most pressure and that seemed to get the better of him. He hardly featured in their knock-out clash against the Spanish and failed to mesmerize us as he usually does when he dons his club colors. Apart from a single-impressive display against the poor North Koreans, he will take very sour memories and tons of criticism from this World Cup.
Fernando Torres takes the place of the striker in our eleven. Despite repeated opportunities given to him by manager Vicente Del Bosque, the Spanish hit-man never found his rhythm. He was a different player this World Cup, so low on confidence and he squandered chances that would have been bread and butter for him on any other given day. Apart from his poor finishing, his touches which used to be of the highest quality let him down on quite a few occasions. However, he won't be complaining as he got his hands on the prized trophy courtesy his team-mates.
Wayne Rooney completes our list. The Manchester United striker had the season of his life, scoring goals from all corners of the pitch, working ever so hard and notching the PFA Player of the Year Award. However, he never really arrived in this tournament. Unlike his performances for the Red Devils, he failed to galvanize his side, missed opportunities and the worst part, frequently lost possession in the final third. So much was expected of him, but we guess the burden of expectations on his shoulders got the better of him.
Many others could have challenged the stars picked for the title of the World's Worst, and none more so than disgraced French striker Nicolas Anelka, however, in his case we decided he was maybe it was too easy making him the scapegoat, and decided to pick his coach - Raymond Domenech to lead the Worst XI of the FIFA World Cup!
Worst XI (4-4-2): Green; Otamendi, Cannavaro, Demichelis,Â Evra; Melo, Lampard, Ribery, Ronaldo; Rooney, Torres.
Coach: Raymond Domenech
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