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Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Monday, 12 July 2010 13:44 UK

Garth Crooks' team of the World Cup

Garth Crooks
By Garth Crooks
BBC football reporter in Johannesburg

After 64 games, the first World Cup on African soil ended as many expected - with favourites Spain lifting the trophy. But we have seen some great football from some great footballers along the way.

Here's my 2010 World Cup finals team of the tournament (4-3-3):

Team graphic

Iker Cassilas

Goalkeeper
Spain

The Real Madrid goalkeeper and Spain captain has been instrumental to the success of his team. His penalty save against Chile, clean sheet against Germany and string of match-winning saves in the final, including the stop with his feet to deny Arjen Robben, did it for me.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Left-back
Netherlands

The Dutch captain has been an inspiration to a side who went about their business in a less flamboyant manner than usual. His goal against Uruguay in the semi-finals was a sensational strike. Sad to see him leave the football stage for good in such a disappointing manner. Perhaps he can win the trophy for the Dutch one day as a coach!

Arne Friedrich

Centre-back
Germany

The pundits said the Germans were suspect at the back. But the Germans proved those opinions were completely wrong by conceding only five goals during the entire tournament. Friedrich was immense alongside defensive partner Per Mertesacker. His goal against Argentina wasn't bad either.

Carles Puyol

Centre-back
Spain

The Barcelona defender made his mark on the final when he impeded Arjen Robben as he was running in on Spain's goal and got away with it. His header in the semi-final was another seminal moment in a tournament when Spanish football at times looked imperious.

Gregory van der Wiel

Right-back
Netherlands

The Dutch right-back had a tremendous tournament. He was very consistent and for me just edged out the excellent Germany skipper Philipp Lahm.

Thomas Mueller

Midfielder
Germany

The World Cup always uncovers a diamond and Mueller was it in South Africa. The 20-year-old wears the number 13 shirt with an acute sense of history and retains the same passion for goals as his namesake. To win the Golden Boot at such a young age says it all. A terrific tournament.

Wesley Sneijder

Midfielder
Netherlands

Five goals in seven games says all we need to know about this player. His strike rate on the biggest stage in the world was the main reason Netherlands reached the final. Without doubt their most dangerous player.

Andres Iniesta

Midfielder
Spain

One of the best players in the world and only 5'7" tall. Along with Xavi and Alonso, he helped Spain dominate games. No wonder Cesc Fabregas could not force his way into the starting line-up. It was fitting Iniesta got the winning goal in the final. His man-of-the-match performance deserved it.

David Villa

Striker
Spain

In light of an abject showing from Fernando Torres, it was fortunate for Spain that they had someone up front who could score goals and create chances. Villa did both. Another kick in the teeth for English football lovers who think you have to be 7ft 2in to play up front.

Miroslav Klose

Striker
Germany

The old man might have struggled in the Bundesliga but you cannot deny the 32-year-old has the perfect temperament for the big game. Scored four goals in South Africa to move up to second in the World Cup scoring charts behind Brazilian Ronaldo.

Diego Forlan

Striker
Uruguay

How Manchester United could do with their former player now. This was a very different performer than the stage-frightened individual we saw at Old Trafford. Confident, composed and inspirational, the man from Atletico Madrid looked the part. Voted player of the tournament was the right decision by Fifa, which got everything right apart from the Jabulani ball. Diego was of the few players who could strike the damn thing.



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see also
Garth Crooks' team of quarter-finals
04 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Forlan collects Golden Ball award
11 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup third-place photos
10 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Blatter hails 'special' World Cup
11 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010


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