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No Neymar in World Cup team of the tournament ahead of last 16

| 29.06.2014

BBC voters and the stats bods of Opta have had their say on who they believe would make the best starting XI of the World Cup so far, so here at news.Ladbrokes towers we thought we’d offer up a team to rival both.

We may just shock you with a few of our picks, particularly as the 3/1 favourites Brazil’s talisman fails to make the grade….

GK: Keylor Navas – Costa Rica

Yes, Mexico’s Guillermo Ocha made the save of the tournament so far prompting comparisons with Gordon Banks keeping out Pele. But overall Levante’s keeper has stood out. Navas has only been beaten from the spot, while keeping out Italy and England as well for the supposed minnows.

RB: Mathieu Debuchy – France

Frustratingly for Newcastle fans, Debuchy seems to save his best form for major tournaments and has averaged a whopping 4.5 tackles per game from two group games.

CB: Thiago Silva – Brazil

Arguably the most accomplished defender in world football, PSG’s rock is also Brazil’s most reliable defender.

CB: Mamadou Sakho – France

After a shaky start in Liverpool red last season, Sakho looks every bit the £18m defender at the World Cup. He’s started all three of France’s games in Brazil and made into the top 10 performers in a recent FIFA stats release.

LB: Daley Blind – Holland

The provider of the unofficial ‘assist of the tournament’ so far when swinging in a wonder cross for Robin van Persie in Holland’s first match, the Ajax man has since proved it was no fluke by adding two more assists.

DM: Marcelo Diaz – Chile

Diaz is the glue that holds together Chile’s attacking unit in front of him. The Basel midfielder is tenacious – making more tackles than any other teammate – while his passing is so accurate that he’s completed 16 out of 18 long balls attempted.

CM: Mathieu Valbuena – France

The Marseille midfielder is the heartbeat of this expansive French side and has already got his name on the scoresheet. However, it’s his string-pulling qualities – where he averages three key passes per game – which mark Valbuena out.

AM: James Rodriguez – Colombia

Talking of ‘string-pullers’, the man being likened to legendary Colombian number 10 Carlos Valderrama (minus the throw) is arguably the best in Brazil. At only 22, Rodriguez has three goals, and two assists, while according to Whoscored.com, he also completes over 3 successful dribbles per game.

RWF: Lionel Messi – Argentina

Four goals and all of them right out of the very highest draw, say it all about this phenomenal player. He just needs the rest of Argentina’s stars to offer him a bit more support in this tournament.

LWF: Arjen Robben – Holland

His performance against Spain will linger long in the memory banks, especially those grey cells belonging to Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos whom Robben terrorised on matchday one. Three goals and one assist only scratch the surface of his contribution to Holland’s cause.

CF: Thomas Muller – Germany

No place for Neymar then as Germany’s four-goal man gets the nod instead. While Neymar’s own goals haul and fancy flicks are also mightily impressive, Muller is simply Mr World Cup for his country after winning the golden boot four years ago as well. Efficiency over flair wins the day.

If you strongly agree/disagree, post your comments below or tweet @ChristianCrowth

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.