World Cup team of the first round of fixtures

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So after the first round of matches we're looking at one of the best starts to the World Cup. Highlights being Netherlands' 5-1 destruction of Spain and Costa Rica's surprise 3-1 win vs Uruguay. Now we take a look at some stand out performers, some shocks, some not so much.


There are plenty of managers in contention for this one. Louis van Gaal for one. But Carlos Queiroz for Iran showed why he's paid over £1 million per year. When I heard there was a Portuguese man in charge of Iran after Monday's performance I would have thought it was José Mourinho after Iran parked a bus in front of the goal.

But looking closer at the game I saw it was actually more to do with Sir Alex Ferguson's former assistant with a very dominant defensive display, one more like Newcastle than Chelsea.


Alireza Haghighi, after all the underestimation from the media, Iran proved they are no pushover. Haghighi made some great saves in gaining Iran their first ever clean sheet at a World Cup vs Nigeria. On his seventh cap for Iran he was close to grabbing the man of the match award.


Serge Aurier, he had a dodgy first 10 minutes vs Japan for Côte d'Ivoire but he came back strong setting up both Bony's goal and Gervinho's goal. The Arsenal target made his tenth cap in his World Cup debut and with a fairly solid defensive performance took the man of the match award and gets in my team of the round.


Mario Yepes, the former AC Milan and PSG defender, at the age of 38-years-old was supposed to be Colombia's weak link diminishing speed. Well what Yepes supposedly lacks in pace he makes up for with amazing positioning and a desire to get the ball back and get it away.

He was a stand-out in Colombia's 3-0 win over Greece. Making his 99th cap, Yepes proved he can run and he can play football, he kept a clean sheet and looked very good at not only defending but helping his younger teammates with his experience.


Mats Hummels had a good game against Portugal in Germany's 4-0 win over Cristiano Ronaldo's team. While he was troubled by Ronaldo on a few occasions he dealt with the Portugal front man for the most part. While the rest of the Portugal attack were probably better players for Germany than Portugal, Hummels did also score a bullet header.

Hummels had a solid game and you can only beat what's in front of you so for that reason Hummels gets in team of the round for the performance vs. Portugal in his 31st cap.


Daley Blind proved exactly why Van Gaal (apparently) wants to bring the defensive midfielder/left back to the Theatre of Dreams. He never stopped running, had pin-point passing and set up Van Persie's wonder header and Robben's first goal. In his 13th cap he was man of the match and gets in the team of the round.

Central midfield

Valon Behrami. The 29-year-old former West Ham and Lazio, now Napoli, Swiss machine showed exactly why he has almost 50 caps, sitting with 48 after his amazing display vs. Ecuador.

In the first half he was still Switzerland's best player by a clear margin. However, after a very good defensive display in the second half Behrami had his moment of genius. He made a great tackle when Ecuador probably would have scored if he didn't make the tackle, then he runs half the pitch, shrugging off a challenge before getting taken out, instead of rolling around he gets right back up, playing the advantage and Switzerland go on to score a magnificent team goal to win the game in the last minute. He probably would have been in the team anyway but that moment secured his place.

Central midfield

Andranik Teymourian. The 31-year-old former Fulham and Bolton, Iranian tank also had a great defensive display. Despite being a defensive midfielder in a defensive team performance he still looked Iran's best player going forward. He made John Obi-Mikel look as bad as, well John Obi-Mikel and without him Iran would have lost by many goals.

He was a leader in Iran's midfield that also holds 141 time capped Iran legend and captain Javad Nekounam. Teymourian won his 80th cap vs. Nigeria and bosses his way into team of the round.

Right winger

Joel Campbell, the Arsenal forward had a great performance vs. Uruguay as Costa Rica pulled off one of the shocks of the World Cup. To be honest any of Costa Rica's players could have got in team of the week but Campbell ran the front line and scored the first goal. The 21-year-old scored his tenth goal in his 34th game and got man of the match in his World Cup debut. For all of this he gets in team of the round.

Left winger

Arjen Robben. The 30-year-old rapid winger set a record as the fastest footballer ever clocking an incredible 37 kmph, just about four mph slower than Usain Bolt. Along with this insane record Robben scored two great goals in the Netherland's 5-1 destruction of Spain. He scored his 24th and 25th goals in his 76th cap for Holland and makes it into the team of the round as one of the star players.


Robin van Persie. The 30-year-old Man Utd striker scored probably the best header at a World Cup ever. Judas looked like Jesus as he gracefully converted Daley Blind's pin-point pass with a perfect looping header from the edge of the 18-year-box. He also pounced on Casillas' mistake to score his second goal before being substituted off. The 30-year-old scored his 44th and 45th goals in his 85th game but wasn't as insane as Robben but still did more than enough to get in team of the round.


Thomas Müller took his way up to eight World Cup goals at the age of just 24 with his hat-trick vs.Portugal. None were amazing goals but all were effective. Besides this Müller managed to get Pepe sent off for "headbutting" him by play acting that infuriated the Real Madrid defender.

It was very unsporting by Müller but for Germany it just helped them a lot and just added to his great performance for Germany. Müller scored his 20th goal in his 50th cap for Germany and was the first player to score a hat-trick so far this tournament so his inclusion in team of the round was never in any doubt.

Other shouts

Karim Benzema scored his 22nd and 23rd goals for France in his 67th cap for France was not enough to get him in the team of the round. Despite two goals he missed many chances, one goal was a penalty and his first half performance was diabolical. 

Raheem Sterling. The 19-year-old's fifth England cap was his World Cup debut and saw him earn man of the match. However, simply for not scoring that belter and getting everyone worked up he was never getting in this team.

Neymar. Despite the 22-year-old scoring his 32nd and 33rd goals for Brazil in his 50th cap for the host nation, one was a penalty and the other was a pea-roller. Furthermore neither goal should have been as Neymar should have been sent off and the penalty was never a penalty.

Oscar. The 22-year-old Brazil attacker scored his tenth goal in his 32nd cap for Brazil with a decent finish and was man of the match, covering the whole pitch with an insane work ethic. However, for the simple fact all the Croatia midfielders were better than him means he was never getting in team of the round. So throw Modric, Rakitic and Perisic into this list.

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Arjen Robben
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