Four tightly contested quarterfinals have passed us by with diligent displays and standout sensations rewarded in this Best XI of the second knockout round.
Here is the team:
GK- Keylor Navas (Costa Rica)
In case most thought that Tim Howard was the undisputed best goalkeeper of the tournament, the soon to be ex-Levante netminder proved once again that his credentials for that honor are even better than the American stalwart. Navas (along with his valiant back line) prevented the formidable Dutch attack from scoring to ensure that Los Ticos would not suffer a single defeat in regulation in Brazil. His 7-save display was the final chapter in an amazing story that likely will see him move to Atletico Madrid in a few weeks time. The 27-year-old could not pick a better place to continue his amazing rise in the last 12 months.
LB: Jose Maria Basanta (Argentina)
With the suspension of Marcos Rojo, all eyes fail on the unheralded 30-year-old figure, who is the last member of a Liga MX side in the tournament. In what could have been a major weakness for Alejandro Sabella’s side against the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin Mirallas, Kevin De Bruyne, and Dries Mertens, Basanta was rarely exposed or challenge in his best performance for his nation. Considering that it was the Monterrey’s man biggest match of his career and only his 13th cap for his nation, Basanta’s unexpected great display could be one of many omens that this could be the year of Argentina’s third world championship.
CB: Thiago Silva (Brazil)
He may have picked up the most ridiculous yellow card of the tournament, but that unfortunate moment could not overshadow another great display in defending by the Brazilian captain. His sneaky run past a pedestrian Carlos Sanchez for his goal provided the host nation with the start they were looking for against dangerous Colombia. Silva made sure that Teo Gutierrez didn’t have any real chance in the match and continued his resolute marking when Adrian Ramos came in. While David Luiz’s free kick wonder winner garnered the most praise, Silva demonstrated that even with his silly challenge on David Ospina how great at his position he really is.
CB: Mats Hummels (Germany)
The Borussia Dortmund star provided the latest example of how a world class player can really make a difference for any country. Hummels was simply everything for Jogi Low’s men against France, not only out strengthening Raphael Varane for the winner but being ubiquitous when a Les Blues attack was eminent. Timely blocks throughout on Karim Benzema, as well as not allowing Germany to be terribly exposed to long balls like they were against Algeria in his absence, gave Die Mannschaft the type of defending they will need to win a fourth world championship.