Thursday, July 17, 2014

World Cup: Winners

Germany: They won the World Cup.

Oh, all right. It’s not so much that they won, so much as how. The manner in which they dismembered Brazil was one of the all-time great World Cup events, a real “Where were you when…” type of moment. The pace from the flanks was outstanding – especially from super-sub Schurrle and future great Thomas Muller, while they were along with France the most potent attacking force in the competition. The key elements of the home World Cup team from 2006 were able to finally summit the hump that’s been their seemingly-eternal undoing, while several of their squad seem set for 2016 and beyond – the Germans had an average squad age of 25 years and nine months, and the two senior citizens (Miroslav Klose and Roman Weidenfeller) ranking as two of their more expendable players.

DeAndre Yedlin: Raved about in the Pacific Northwest for a little over a year, the American right-back seems destined for a big move to Europe that will earn him among the loftier salaries in USMNT football. His spry and athletic work down the right is better going forward than back, but he may end up an elite player.  Links to Roma won’t go away, while observers with particular slants can envisage him either at Liverpool or Manchester United, where he’d fit in well with…

Louis van Gaal: No-one’s ever questioned Louis van Gaal’s ability as tactician or motivator, simply his willingness to get along with everyone inside a closed system. Manchester United fans are salivating at the prospect of van Gaal sorting out their post-Sir-Alex dysfunction after he turned a Holland outfit who might have been described pre-tournament as nondescript into a gloriously adaptable machine.

van Gaal made many young Dutchmen a lot of money during the Cup, as his enthusiastic style of play based around incision (Arjen Robben) and precision (Robin van Persie) made stars from the likes of Bruno Martins Indi, Daley Blind, Daryl Janmaat and the impressively-named Memphis Depay. The former Champions League winner was thought of as a perhaps-deservedly starched ego before the World Cup; now he’s the man who can re-forge a fallen giant. Perhaps even as soon as next week.

Luis Suarez: Got what he wanted by doing one of the two things for which he has become so well known.  And it wasn’t the good thing. That Liverpool received £75 million pounds for a man whose mere presence counteracts much of the club’s recent good PR means that they too had a very good World Cup.

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