As the World Cup heads towards its conclusion, it is only right that we begin to reflect on who has made a real impact on this tournament, and left many a memory to look back on with fondness.

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5. Neymar

Despite having to cut his tournament short through a terrible back injury, Neymar has done his bit to try and help Brazil achieve history. His four goals and one assist were vital in dragging Brazil through their group.

Although not statistically as productive as Thomas Muller for Germany, I feel he deserves his place in this list purely because of the amount of pressure on him from playing for the host nation.

4. Louis Van Gaal

Van Gaal throughout this tournament has given Manchester United fans plenty of reason to be excited about the upcoming season. Moments have ranged from the sensational opening match drubbing of Spain, to the battling and resolute victory over Mexico, to the penalty drama vs Costa Rica.

In each instance, Van Gaal has shown his tactical flexibility, and his ability to get a result no matter the circumstance. The decision to sub his goalkeeper in the 120th minute vs Costa Rica, while at first frowned upon, was later praised as a true tactical masterstroke, as Tim Krul went on to guess the right way for every single penalty, saving two of them.

3. Tim Howard

It is only fair that amongst the plaudits dished out for forwards, we take a moment to appreciate the men who keep them out at the other end. Tim Howard has once again proved himself to be a very reliable keeper, providing an assured presence at the back for the USA.

His record 15 saves vs Belgium in the last 16 means he simply has to be a part of this list, even if it ultimately wasn't enough to keep the USA in Brazil.

2. Lionel Messi

With the weight of pressure on Lionel Messi's shoulders, it is fair to say he has coped fairly well. The hope of a nation, he has delivered when it has mattered most. Moments such as his last minute goal vs Iran in the group stage, and his very late assist against Switzerland, have highlighted the kind of player Messi is.

He will keep going, and sometimes that is enough. Perhaps the best is yet to come from this man, and who knows he could be number one by the time this World Cup is finished.

1. James Rodriguez:

The Colombian has been the star man of this tournament, with six goals and two assists backing up this claim. Perhaps little known to most fans in Britain before the tournament, he has shone and grown game by game, with performances that exude a class and confidence betraying a man who is only 22-years-old.

Having also scored one of the goals of the tournament vs Uruguay in the last 16, Rodriguez can look back on this World Cup with a true feeling of satisfaction that he has made a name for himself.

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Topics:
Brazil Football
Neymar
Tim Howard
Lionel Messi
World Cup
Football