Best Player: Schweinsteiger has been the best so far. Tip of the hat to Forlan, who’s been incredible. However, Schweinsteiger’s control of the game, his play on both sides of the ball gives him the edge, in my opinion. The tournament isn’t over yet, though, and my favorite player, Iniesta, shined in today’s game. If he plays as well in the final, then I’ll give it to him. I know that a couple of games does not a tournament make, but I am biased.
Biggest Revelation: My first response would be Mesut Ozil, but then I want to give a shout out to the entire German team. What a glorious display of soccer. I was glued to the screen for each one of their games, wondering, “Is this Germany I see before me?” This team was the antithesis of how I perceive German teams (either I’ve changed or they have). Solid defending, beautiful passing, confident but not arrogant, and lethal. They encountered a superior team in Spain.
Best Game: Germany – Argentina. True, it was uneven, but, what can I say, I found it gratifying to see a well-coached team destroy a badly coached one.
Best Caption for Maradona on the sideline for the above game: Pick one
a) “How come no one told me they can counterattack?”
b) “Plan B? What plan B?
c) “What’s that ball boy doing on the right flank?”
Biggest Disappointment: France, in every possible way.
Most Odious Team: France. Fait accompli. I feel sullied just thinking of them.
Best goal: I can’t pick one. Puyol’s goal against Germany was a beaut. It wasn’t better than Von Brockhurst’s screamer against Uruguay. If forced to pick, I’d go with Villa’s cheeky goal against Chile.
Best Goalkeeper: No one was perfect. I like Ghana’s Kingston. A most interesting discussion would be who the cutest goalie is.
Outrageous Kit: Ivory Coast. Those shirts were so tight, they looked painted on. You can discern six-packs, chest muscles, and nipples.
Best Coach: Low. Quite a few candidates. I liked Aguirre, Tabarez, and Bielsa quite a bit, however, I pick Low over Van Merwijk. Much has been written about how this Dutch team has fewer divas than earlier ones, and how they all sacrifice for the team. I call poppycock. Sneider, Robben, and Van Persie can be as divaish and persnickety as any of their Dutch predecessors, and they don’t like each other very much. The difference this year is that Van Merwijk seems to have full control of the team. Will all that, I’d still pick Low.
Worst Coach: Domenech, hands down.
Worst Hair: Sorry, Puyol, I have to go with Hamsik’s neomoho.
Anna Magnani Memorial Oscar: Unfortunately, there’s no outright winner in this one. There has been so much diving and faking injuries in the tournament that Christiano Ronaldo is beginning to look like an amateur. Once more, if you place a gun to my head, I’ll pick Robben. Every time he gets fouled, he looks like he’s been skinned alive by Apollo, speared by Achilles, hit by Ali’s right-hook, gored by a Pamplona bull, and stabbed by the Macbeths in tandem.
Click here for Howard Wolfon's Best and Worst.
Click here for Leon Krauze's Best and Worst.