the semi-finals
the final weekend

team of the tournament: my pre-cup predictions

As part of the predictions competition I entered prior to the start of the tournament, we were asked to pick a "Team of the Tournament". Here is who I chose:

GK David De Gea, Spain. Started out with that awful performance in the 3-3 draw with Portugal, and the rest of his tournament only looked good in comparison to that stinker. Losing GK in the shootout with Russia.


D Marcelo, Brazil. Solid in all 3 of his starts.

D Daniel Carvajal, Spain. OK in two starts, late sub against Russia, didn't play in the Portugal match.

D Joshua Kimmich, Germany.  Played OK as Germany crashed in the group stage.


M Neymar, Brazil. He'll be remembered as a failure, but he had a very good tournament, with two goals and an assist and five strong performances. For all the talk of diving and theatrics, Neymar was actually fouled a lot (he was fouled more times per game than any other player):

M Toni Kroos, Germany. Had the wonder goal against Sweden, but Germany went scoreless in his other two matches.

M Lionel Messi, Argentina. Actually played better once Sampaoli moved him to forward, but I had him down as a midfielder. Like Neymar, will be remembered for his team's failures, but he had a good tournament, as well, with a goal and two assists.

M Mohamed Salah, Egypt. Scored Egypt's only goal in both of the games in which he played, but this was not the tournament I thought he would have.


F Harry Kane, England. Probably my best pick, leading goal scorer with one more match to play. He has been scoreless in his last two games, though.

F Luis Suárez, Uruguay. Had three great games sandwiched between two stinkers.

F Robert Lewandowski, Poland. Three and out for Poland, and Lewandowski was one of the reasons.


Champion: Germany. Oops.

Top Scorer: Neymar. Not quite.