FIFA World Cup: Philipp Lahm leads mid-day's World Cup XI
After football's showpiece event drew to a close on Sunday, with Germany being crowned champions, we pick our best players in each position based on their performances in Brazil
Germany's run to the World Cup title owes a huge debt to their versatile captain who can play both as a right-back and as a defensive midfielder. Having started the World Cup in the middle, he moved to the right-back position after an injury to Shkodran Mustafi from where he provided quality crosses to Mueller and Klose.
Position: Right winger
His pace and ability to cut from the right on his left foot is what makes Robben a major threat to opponents. It was clearly visible when he ripped the defending champions Spain's defence to pieces. Grabbing three goals and providing another, Robben was a menacing threat throughout.
Colombia's young player had a tough time for French side AS Monaco last season but that didn't seem to deter him going into the World Cup. Scoring a peach of a goal against Uruguay on a volley, he carried the team forward. Even against Brazil, where they lost, he was a handful for their defence.
Mascherano, like Lahm, has the flexibility to play as a defender and as a defensive midfielder. For Argentina, he did the task beautifully. Beyond being a wall, he commanded the entire team in the semi-final win over Netherlands. Despite suffering from a possible concussion and an injury in the semi-final, he came back for the final and was faultless.
Position: Central defender
The central defender had a superb World Cup, bar his penalty shootout miss against Argentina in the semi-finals. The defender's performance against Argentina, where he kept Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero quiet, would have come as a shocker to even Aston Villa fans, the EPL club for which he plays.
Position: Left winger
The Golden Ball winner may have gone home without the World Cup, but Argentina could thank Messi for getting to the final. Scoring four goals and assisting the other, Messi as always was difficult to contain. He scored the winner against Iran and helped Argentina beat Switzerland with a darting run late into extra time.
Prodigiously talented, Neymar was Brazil's goodluck charm, hero and inspiration all rolled into one. He almost single-handedly took Brazil into the semi-finals of the World Cup. Brazil really suffered in his absence, conceding a humiliating 10 goals in just two games.
The 24-year-old is likened to Xavi for his shots from distance and impressive passing accuracy. And in Brazil, he showed it to the world that it is not just confined to his club (Bayern). Scoring two and creating four, Kroos kept the midfield ticking and ensured its fluidity in all the games.
Position: Left back
The 24-year-old scored once and provided two assists, including the pass for Robin van Persie's famous headed goal against Spain, at the World Cup. His performances in Brazil have reportedly drawn interest from Man United who are looking to replace Patrice Evra.
Position: Central defender
While Boateng had a fantastic World Cup, he was at his absolute best in the final. He didn't put one foot wrong — made incredible tackles, interventions and was solid in the air too.
One reason Germany won the World Cup is because of their 'keeper. Neuer ensured Germany's defence could play a high line due to the speed with which he could read situations and thwart attacks — witnessed especially against Algeria.