Sport World Cup

Tuesday 2 September 2014

World Cup semi-finalists dream XI

Darragh Collins

Published 06/07/2014 | 17:05

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Arjen Robben of the Netherlands celebrates after winning their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against Mexico
Arjen Robben of the Netherlands celebrates after winning their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against Mexico

Just four teams remain in the 2014 World Cup and Independent.ie has chosen the dream team from the four squads left in the competition.

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Hosts Brazil, Argentina, Germany and the Netherlands all have high hopes of lifting the World Cup on July 13 and we have chosen what we believe the strongest team possible from the remaining squads.

We have chosen a flexible 4-4-2 formation, but with the personnel on display this could easily be adapted.

There was great debate over a number of positions and we have also included the injured Neymar for his impressive showings before injury struck in the quarter-final defeat of Colombia.

Goalkeeper - Manuel Neuer

The Bayern Munich shot-stopper’s performance against Algeria resulted in manager Low saying that he could play in midfield due to his technical ability. Neuer has been a commanding presence for his country and will need to be at his best if the Germans are to prevail.

Full-back - Philipp Lahm

Lahm was restored to full back against France despite Low saying that he would remain in midfield and it worked a treat. Lahm showed why many consider him to be one of the best full backs in the world and is expected to remain there for the immediate future.

Centre-back - Mats Hummles

The highly sought-after centre-back headed his side into the semis with the winning goal against France. The Dortmund defender has been the topic of much transfer speculation and it’s easy to see why. Although not the fastest, Hummles is a brilliant reader of the game .

Centre-back - Thiago Silva

Silva has been a rock at the back of his sides  defence, often not helped by a lack of protection from those around him. The captain will be sorely missed against Germany after picking up another booking against Colombia.

Full-back - Daley Blind

A wing back that can attack and defend, Blind has been a revelation for The Netherlands at this World Cup. Son of former Ajax legend Danny, he will be a transfer target for leading clubs one the tournament concludes.

Midfield - Thomas Muller

His hat-trick against Portugal and another well struck effort against the USA shows how big a player Muller has been for Germany. Used in a number of positions, his versatility means we are using him in an advanced position in centre midfield.

Midfield - Angel Di Maria

With Leo Messi grabbing all the headlines people are quick to forget that Di Maria has been a key performer for Argentina when it’s mattered. An individual who relishes the big games, Di Maria scored the winner against Switzerland  and his dribbling, passing and work ethic in midfield have been vital for his side.

Midfield - Javier Mascherano

In an attack-minded team, defensive protection in crucial and Javier Maschearno has been displaying this in spades for his country, particularly in the knock-out stages.

A suspect defender, he has been a colossus in the middle of the park for the South American side.

Midfield - Arjen Robben

The Dutch winger lit up tournament against Spain with two goals against has continued this form ever since.

A divisive figure for his theatrics, there is no doubting his talent and his direct running has been one of the features of the tournament.

Forward - Neymar

He may be out for the rest of the tournament but Neymar has been a talisman for Brazil. At 22 years of age, the Barcelona attacker has scored four goals and has almost single-handedly dragged his side to the semi finals. His efforts will be sorely missed when Brazil take on Germany tomorrow.

Forward - Lionel Messi

Many have criticised Messi for his performances for Argentina over the years, but at this World Cup he has certainly ended such talk. With four goals in five games, Messi has been sensational for Argentina, and he could be the man to take them all the way in Brazil.

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