It's been a few days since that final on Sunday, but we thought we'd have a lttle look at the marketplace after the tournament and those players who went some way to improving their resume, along with a few who didn't do themselves any favors.
Those who have done well to boost their resumes in the 3-4 games they played in South Africa.
Charlie Davies, USA
Finally, it looks like the US may have found a speedy, counterattacking foil for Altidore or Ching, a guy who can sprint around for 80 minutes and create space for his strike partner. While his ball control wasn't the best, Davies did step in and mature quickly throughout this tournament. His role in Donovan's goal against Brazil sums up his usefulness to this team. Time to stop dicking around with other options at #2 striker and give him a full run. I think he's ready.
Jay Demerit, USA
What a titan back there! His time in the Colaship has really steeled him, and he defended with grit, determination and aggression. It shouldn't be long until an EPL team lacking in that physical central defender comes in to nick him from Watford. I could have picked Onyewu, but every ball that Oguchi won in the air, he'd immediately give away on the ground. Much more of a liability than his batterymate Demerit, who was poised and stoic to the bitter end.
Mohamed Aboutrika, Egypt
While the African continent champs left a rather weak mark on this tournament, I was impressed by their attacking midfielder Aboutrika, whose workrate was a constant nuisance against Brazil and Italy. Loved to get wide and whip balls into the six-yard-box, loved to test the opponent's offside trap wherever possible, and wasn't afraid to take it up the middle, either. Everyone gushes over Mohamed Zidan up front, but he'd be nothing without Aboutrika.
Matthew Booth, South Africa
Sure, he's slow, white and at times uncoordinated, but who else looked upon him and thought he'd be perfect at Bolton or Wigan or
West Ham Sunderland? Just the type of space-filling, hoof-capable central defender that could suit a low-EPL or Colaship team.
Luis Fabiano, Brazil
If you weren't familiar with the Sevilla striker, you certainly are now. It took him a game or two to get going, but Fabiano showed that he is due for a more high-profile club with five well-taken goals and his invention up front.
Felipe Melo, Brazil
Arsenal want him. 'Nuff said. An impressive tournament at the base of their defensive midfield alongside former Gooner Gilberto Silva, young Melo gave the backline plenty of protection and looked just as comfortable in the tackle or on the counter-attack.
Katlego Mphela, South Africa
In terms of output for minutes played, Mphela showed he could be worth a flier for any club seeking some pace and excitement up front. Plus, he showed in the 3rd place game that he's pretty good from the free-kick. Tons of pace, tons of energy, and enough of both to ask questions of any backline.
Not even Kevin Keegan would buy this lot!
Anyone on New Zealand
Lord, were they awful. They were Torres-fodder in Game One, Bernard Parker's plaything in Game Two, and woeful in front of goal against Iraq in Game Three. I looked at this team and saw nothing worth liking.
DaMarcus Beasley, USA
In some ways I feel bad for the soccer-challenged left-winger/left-back, whose absence from the team immediately correlated to goals, success, and upsets. Beasley was dire in the two games he played, consistenly giving the ball away and not doing much offensively to atone for his waste.
Wael Gomaa, Egypt
Just about every goal that the Pharaohs conceded was indirectly his fault, as it was normally his marker wriggling free to thump the ball home. Weak in the air, indecisive with the ball in front of him, and generally clueless at the back. It says a lot that Egypt played with a sweeper behind their back 4, and Gomaa still sucked even with the extra cover.
Juan Manuel Mata, Spain
Didn't see much playing time, and perhaps rightly so. Reminded me of a less-talented Joe Cole for his unflinching ability to dribble into a swarm of defenders and lose possession. Not the best crosser of the ball from the left, and every time he cut inside from the wing to shoot, it ended up in the heavens. The 21-year-old from Valencia has a ways to go before he unseats someone in that starting XI. Shit, the fact that Albert Riera emerged seemingly as Spain's top dog on the left says it all! That's your fault, Juan!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009