By Steve Crane,
Where did all the Superstars go? This world cup was due to be lit up by the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Torres, Henry and Kaka, but in truth, they hardly got going. Granted, every time Messi gets on the ball, the anticipation is enormous, and the talent that he possesses is not in question. But he didn’t perform as HE expected, nor did he score a goal, and what happened to the rest of them.
I’d like to discuss where it all went wrong and which unexpected or unknown players have taken the world cup by storm. Part of the problem for me was that the individual superstars believed in the hype and went into the competition with a strange mindset that they HAD to make it happen and HAD to be the stars as expected. I saw so many ‘Hollywood’ passes it was unbelievable. It was as if they did not trust their teammates to make it happen, therefore trying to do too much on their own.
Torres came in after having injury problems, this may be an excuse for him, but he’s started every game and looked very average at best, his movement and pace were lacking and his goalscoring touch has deserted him. Ronaldo simply tried too hard, no question. His teammates are not to his standard, but he was just off his game. Similarly, Henry, His season at Barcelona was patchy, he did not feature in the starting eleven often, and his World Cup was forgettable, sad because it will be his last. Rooney was plain and simply just awful. His touch was abysmal, his passing woeful and his attitude despicable. He sulked around the field and provided nothing of a positive nature for the whole tournament. Kaka did ok, but did not stand out at all.
Those that have shone at this tournament, Forlan, Robben, Sneijder, Villa, Gyan, and most of the German team! The Germans hit the ground running, demolishing Australia in their opener, with Müller, Özil, Klose, Podolski, Lahm and Schweinsteiger standing out. Many, including myself, thought this may be a one off as Australia were so poor, but they have repeated their form throughout. They play without fear and are so positive it puts many of the other teams to shame.
These players grasped their moment, didn’t get sucked in to the hype, and played their game to the best of their ability. They had a desire to play well and win for the team, not about personal accolades, although that has come with their performances.
For me, the player of the tournament was the German midfielder Khedira. He went about his business in a very understated manner, no flashy flicks or dribbles, but one of the most productive cogs in the German machine. He was a relative unknown on the World stage, but now is set to become a name everybody knows. He won many balls in the midfield, his distribution was excellent and he was very disciplined and allowed players around him to move forward with confidence that if a move broke down, he would be there covering their position. He also knew how to get into the box and demonstrated a cool, brave finishing ability.
This will be a World Cup that people will remember for the noise of the vuvuzelas, the first African host and for being a world cup where no one player has really stood out and made a name for himself. The World Cup of the Super flops.