The fifa boffins were burning the statistical oil in their science penthouse atop a perilous Alpine peak last night and have come to the conclusion that James [pronounced 'Ham-es'] Rodriguez is decent at football.
The omnipotent footballing body today released their latest top 10 list of best performing players at the World Cup. Known as The Castrol Index, the list is a collection of the top international players to have struck their marks thus far in the tournament.
Rodriguez, who came off the Colombian bench to inspire his team to a 4-1 win over Japan, climbs from ninth to first. Two assists and a well-taken goal — shots on target, tackle and passing success are also measured — see his statistical rating climb from 9.46 to 9.79.
The following two players’ positions are somewhat surprising, not for the fact that they are in the top 10 but because they rank so highly. Ivan Perisic of Croatia, who scored in his side’s 3-1 defeat to Mexico, is second [9.74] while Brazil’s David Luiz [9.69] is next.
French striker Karim Benzema led the index after the opening two rounds of matches but his failure to score against Ecuador sees him drop down to fourth. Arjen Robben performed well against Chile and set up a Dutch goal but drops from third to fifth. Neymar has broken into the top 10 and lies in eighth after his double against Cameroon.
The biggest surprise of the index, and one that takes away from its credibility, is the failure of Lionel Messi and Thomas Müller to make the top 10. FIFA reason that Messi, who has four goals and is placed 11th, is not ranked as highly because 10 of his 13 shots have come outside the box and ‘carry a lower probability of ending in the net’. For the record, three of Messi’s 10 efforts outside the box have resulted in goals.
Ivan Perisic, Croatia (9.74)
David Luiz, Brazil (9.69)
Karim Benzema, France (9.65)
Arjen Robben, Netherlands (9.62)
Daniel van Buyten, Belgium (9.58)
Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland (9.55)
Neymar, Brazil (9.52)
Thiago Silva, Brazil (9.5)
Mamadou Sakho, France (9.47)