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World Cup Best XI

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World Cup Best XI
World Cup Best XI

The obvious choices for a World Cup Best XI were, well, obvious. For instance, who could put together a World Cup Best XI without Diego Forlan, who was an absolute horse at South Africa 2010?

David Villa seems rather obvious, as does Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose value and worldwide visibility has grown measurably with his fantastic campaign. Who was this Ballack fellow we were all talking about, anyway?

Clearly, a World Cup Best XI without Xavi and / or Andres Iniesta is just ridiculous. They are virtually interchangeable in my mind, by the way. I had to pick one, so …

But from there, it gets pretty darn tough.

Defense was particularly difficult. There was no standout who rose above the rest, the way Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro did four years ago. But there were about 10 really good ones to choose from. In addition to the ones you see, I could have easily chosen Ghana's John Paintsil, New Zealand's Ryan Nelsen, Brazil’s Lucio or Maicon or Paraguay’s Antolin Alcaraz. I think both of the Netherlands fullbacks, Gregory Van Der Wiel and Giovanni van Bronckhorst, have been terrific.  (I had to cheat a little as it was, positioning Lahm on the left, where he played for Germany in 2006; he played on the right in South Africa.)

Even in goal, there was a tough choice. I went with Portugal's Eduardo, but you can make strong cases for Uruguay’s Fernando Muslera, Spain’s Iker Casillas, Germany’s young Manuel Neuer and perhaps even a couple of others.

At any rate, here are my choices. Remember, these are subjective. Everyone rates players a little differently. That doesn’t mean your selections are right or wrong … just not the same as mine.

Goalkeeper: Eduardo (Portugal)

Defender: Maxi Pereira (Uruguay), John Mensah (Ghana), Carles Puyol (Spain), Phillip Lahm (Germany)

Midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Thomas Müller (Germany), Xavi (Spain), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)

Forwards: David Villa (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay)