GK: Joao Ricardo (Angola) – this would have gone to Trinidad´s Shaka Hislop, but in the second game he didn´t actually have much to do due to England´s ineptitude. The Angolan keeper hasn´t conceded a goal since the fourth minute of his World Cup, not for lack of action in front of him. Without the most talented or experienced team, the Angolan has been both brave and lucky in the opening two games, a feat any successful number 1 needs.
DL: Philip Lahm (Germany) – A fantastic goal and two very solid performances. Has shown how to defend and attack, as well as his ability to use both feet. The comparison is to his counterpart Arne Friedrich at right back, who´s clumsy nature and poor positioning have caused concerns in the German back four.
DR: Ulises De La Cruz (Ecuador) – biased or not, this guy hasn´t played club football all season and is still one of the most important players in a high-achieving Ecuador side. If the Ecuadorians finish second to Germany they may well meet England in the second round, and if Trinidad have taught us anything it is that struggling players in the English leagues can still upset on the biggest stage.
DC: John Terry (England) – much criticism has been thrown at the England team yet Terry has remained as reliable as we have come to expect from his club form. An acrobatic clearance off the line against Trinidad saved a lot of English bluses and he still finds time to be a threat at set pieces. An air of stability in an otherwise misfiring team.
DC: Phillipe Senderos (Switzerland) – helped make sure that France still haven´t scored at a World Cup since they won it. Plays years ahead of his age and gets more bonus points for his tantrum following his side´s failure to score from a free kick. A well-built skinhead who looks more natural in the stands than on the pitch, but he will do well there for the time being at least.
MR: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – had some amazing tricks against Angola and has also brought some end product to his skills in the last year or so. Ronaldo is showing maturity by the day and could become a genuine world best with his lust for dramatic poise.
ML: Arjen Robben (Holland) – played as a forward against Serbia & Montenegro but was at his most dangerous when he came down the left. A constant thorn in the opposition´s side and is another player who not only plays with maturity, but looks about 40 too. Seems to thrive on the big stage and could finally make the Dutch team realise their potential.
MC: Paulo Figueiredo (Angola) – hard-working central midfielder who is the piece of genuine class in the Angolan team. Whilst Akwa gets the plaudits as the main scorer and all-round star, Figueiredo´s first touch and short-passing game should not go unnoticed. Applied himself well against Portugal and held the Mexicans to a goalless draw.
MC: Tomas Rosicky (Czech Rep) – ran the Americans completely dogged for 90 minutes in Gelsenkirchen, not to mention two great goals. Links up very well with Nedved and they both appear to enjoy their football at their first World Cup. Like Nedved, often comes very deep to collect the ball before surging upfield and causing all sorts of devestation. Will enjoy his time at Arsenal where the service can be just as good.
ST: Fernando Torres (Spain) – could have gone to David Villa for they both played well against Ukraine, but Torres just wins it for me. Was very direct and could have scored more. Spain finally look to have a decent team and an ability to deliver, but it remains to be seen if they have peaked too soon.
ST: Hernan Crespo (Argentina) – would have gained more of the plaudits yesterday had he not have to share them with five other goalscorers. His movement was second to none and was the main striker through the middle whilst the others ran around him like fireflies in the night. Took a neat finish and did the same against the Ivory Coast to ensure Argentina´s presence in the next round.