World Cup 2010 - Best XI: Fantastic Forlan

Mon, 12 Jul 12:00:00 2010

Find out who produced the best performances in the 2010 World Cup in our team of the tournament.

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We combine the expert rating assigned on the matchcast and the user rating to formulate the team and here's our line-up.

GK: Diego Benaglio (Switzerland)

The Swiss goalkeeper was in inspired form throughout the group stage of the competition as, despite his side failing to progress to the knock-out rounds, he conceded just a solitary goal. The 26-year-old Wolfsburg shot-stopper guarded an impenetrable net against Spain and Honduras in Group H, and produced a string of stunning saves to distinguish himself as the best goalkeeper in the tournament. Given his consistently exemplary displays, Benaglio was very unfortunate to depart from the finals at such an early stage.

RB: Philipp Lahm (Germany)

The Germany full-back was the driving force behind many of his side's incisive counter-attacks as he brought the ball out of defence with invention and pace. As a leader, the captain showed why he is so revered within the German ranks, and was a huge part of Joachim Loew's side's progress through to the semi-finals. Lahm has said he will not relinquish the armband unless he is asked to and, after his performances in South Africa, his status as Germany's skipper should not be in question.

CB: Yuji Nakazawa (Japan)

Nakazawa may have 109 international caps to his name, but his four distinguished performances at this World Cup will have given the defender particular pleasure. Japan conceded just two goals at the finals, and the Yokohama stopper was a huge part of Takeshi Okada's side's robustness. Nakazawa was the lynchpin for Japan, and his displays were near impeccable, and it was only through penalties that Paraguay were able to breach his side's defences.

CB: John Mensah (Ghana)

The Ghana captain was the rock in the heart of his side's defence as the Black Stars progressed through to the quarter-finals. Mensah strung together four heroic displays and was at his commanding best throughout, winning seemingly every header and leading his side with distinction. Mensah's displays against the USA and Uruguay in the knock-out stages were particularly adept, and the defender's stock is back on the rise as a result of his form in South Africa.

LB: Nadir Belhadj (Algeria)

Algeria did not progress from Group C, but Belhadj was simply superb as his side conceded just two goals in their three matches. Belhadj turned out a consummate display in the goalless draw with England, and provided an equally tidy performance against the USA in his side's final group match. The former Portsmouth left-back was unfortunate not to have been apart of a more successful side given his form, and Qatari side Al Sadd will now benefit from his attacking capabilities.

RW: Giovani Dos Santos (Mexico)

One of the revelations of this World Cup, the Tottenham man starred in Mexico's march to the last 16, prompting FIFA to name him on their shortlist for best young player of the tournament. Pacy, tricky and not afraid to run with the ball at his feet, the 21-year-old's performances in South Africa proved he what he is capable of when he stays focused – and that he may still have a future at Tottenham.

CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)

The Bayern Munich star has made the centre of midfield his own since being moved from a wide role, and he was one of the main reasons for Germany's fine displays in South Africa. Schweinsteiger was full of energy, industry, skill and creativity as he was at the focal point of the sweeping breaks which characterised the play of Low's side. The 25-year-old will be in huge demand following his exploits in South Africa, and he is sure to be a force for many years to come in a developing Germany side.

CM: Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)

It says something when a midfield maestro is also among the top goalscorers in the tournament, and Sneijder was in imperious form in South Africa. The Internazionale playmaker took the club form which saw his side be crowned European champions into the tournament, and the Netherlands benefited as he scored five goals and dictated the play. Sneijder is predictably being touted for big-money moves away from Italy, after a string of performances which demand his status as one of the best players in the world.

LW: David Villa (Spain)

The top scorer at Euro 2008, Villa has a staggering 32 goals in 64 games for Spain, including five at the finals as he once again established himself as one of the world's hottest striking properties. A brace against Honduras and strikes against Chile, Portugal and Paraguay saw Villa provide the cutting edge for Vicente del Bosque's up until the final. In the colours of Barcelona next season, the forward is surely set for even greater things.

FW: Diego Forlan (Uruguay)

Forlan has been one of the outstanding talents of the World Cup, and it was fitting that the Atletico Madrid forward finished with somewhat of a flourish in the third/fourth place play-off against Germany. Five goals saw the Uruguayan inspire his side to an improbable semi-final place, and his perceptive passing and imagination ensured he contributed far more than his strikes alone. Forlan's stock across the world has never been higher, and finally the 31-year-old is getting full recognition for his talents as he was given the accolade of the golden ball.

FW: Keisuke Honda (Japan)

'Hero Honda' was in majestic form for Japan as he notched up two goals in four games for the Blue Samurai, and his ratings were consistently superb. A clinical strike against Cameroon and the first goal in the group match with Denmark ensured that his side advanced through to the last 16, and penalties brought an abrupt end to his run at the finals. It was a big loss for the tournament as Honda left the stage before the quarter-finals but, at the age of 24, the forward has time on his side.

Honourary reserves

GK: Richard Kingson (Ghana) - He may not be able to get near Wigan's first team, but Kingson found some inspired form for Ghana as his side reached the quarter-finals.

DF: Winston Reid (New Zealand) - The 22-year-old's stoppage-time header snatched the All Whites' first ever point at a World Cup against Slovakia.

DF: Stephane Grichting (Switzerland) - The Swiss defender was the rock at the back for his side and, conceding just one goal in three matches was testament to his performances.

DF: Ryan Nelsen (New Zealand) - The Kiwi skipper was immense at the back for Ricki Herbert's side, whose solid defence was their strength.

DF: Yuto Nagatomo (Japan) - Japan's defence was incredibly well drilled, and Nagatomo was at the heart of his side's sound back line.

MF: Ji-Sung Park (South Korea) - Park was the heartbeat of the South Korea midfield, and his strike against Greece helped his side progress through to the last 16.

MF: Kevin Prince Boateng (Ghana) - The Portsmouth midfielder rose to the challenge of representing Ghana at the finals, and his equaliser against the USA took the last-16 tie into extra-time.

MF: Andres Iniesta (Spain) - His man-of-the match performance in the final just failed to boost his mark high enough.

FW: Lionel Messi (Argentina) - Arguably the world's best player, Messi showed all his class and skill as he was at the forefront of everything in Argentina's five matches.

FW: Thomas Mueller (Germany) - The Bayern Munich forward won the golden boot for his five goals and three assists after his superb performances in Germany's run to the semi-finals and eventual third place.

FW: Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) - the Ghana forward netted three times for his side and, despite missing a last-minute penalty in the quarter-final against Uruguay, was the Black Stars' stand-out performer.

FW: Robinho (Brazil) - The Manchester City forward reminded everyone what he is capable of with a string of sparkling displays for Brazil, including two goals.

FW: Alexis Sanchez (Chile) - Sanchez was instrumental in Marcelo Bielsa's side progressing through to the last 16 in South Africa, and the midfield maestro was a focal point of all that was positive about Chile.


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