With the World Cup in Brazil having reached its dramatic conclusion on with Germany making history by becoming the first Europeans ever to win the Jules Rimet trophy in South America, so to does our own fantasy football competition draw to a close. Some may have enjoyed the summer spectacle, others perhaps not so much, but the ending was as fitting a finale to football’s biggest competition in the world as one can remember.
Mario Gotze’s strike in the second half of extra time proved enough to seal the German’s fourth world title and bring them on a par with European counterparts Italy, confining Argentina – and captain Lionel Messi – to the annals of history as this year’s runners-up. Messi was the joint-most expensive player for our fantasy managers to have in their squad alongside Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Barcelona favourite certainly had the better tournament overall than the former Man Utd man – Portugal crashed out in the group stages after all.
But who were the players who really, truly earned their places in EFL’s “Team of the Tournament”? Which goalkeeper had the steadiest hands, which defenders had the more solid presence? Which midfielders covered every inch of the pitch and mastered their distribution to their strikers, and which forward men had the most fun in front of the onion bag? It is worth mentioning, this list disregards the about having only three players from any one national team – these were the players who, if you had them in their position, would have proven the best around, but the whole time could not have been selected at any one time, and cost would be another ruling-out consideration as you will soon see.
This is also seperate from our “Best XI” page on the homepage, as this represents literally the top points scorers in each respective position.
When examining the top stopper between the sticks, in terms of which players would have won our fantasy managers the most points, it is interestingly a three-way tie – Jasper Cillessen of the eventual third-placed Netherlands, Sergio Romero of runners-up Argentina and cup winning stopper Manuel Neuer all finished on a nice 150 points tally – some way ahead of fourth placed keeper Keylor Navas of Costa Rica, who managed 115, albeit in two games less.
Of the three top stoppers, Neuer held a value of €13.50m – not bad considering his side won the cup outright, but rivals Romero and Cillessen both came in at €8.00m, and in fact their stats were identical overall – a points-to-value (P/V) ratio of 18.8, seven starts, four clean sheets and four goals conceded apiece. Arguably, Romero featured in the final while Cillessen was in the third place fixture, so perhaps Romero deserves the nod here, with Cillessen given a place on the bench.
Looking at right back, things get a little tricky pinpointing one particular star in that position, but looking at defenders in our fantasy game list Jerome Boateng of Germany would qualify to feature in this spot – and he finished fifth in the overall list of defenders, with a nice return of 115 points from an €8.00m value. However, for the purposes of this competition Daley Blind of the Netherlands is listed as a defender, and so could have certainly done a job for anyone who thought to bring him in – he finished top of the pile with 160 points from a €7.00m value, so he should perhaps get the nod over Boateng for a place in the team.
His compatriot, Stefan de Vrij, also deserves a spot in the center of defence with 130 points returned while holding the same value as Blind – so perhaps not quite as good a return, but certainly right up there with the best of them.
In the other two defensive spots, German defenders Mats Hummels and Philipp Lahm take the remaining spots with 155 and 130 points respectively. Hummels actually didn’t fall too far short of Blind in terms of good value, as he cost just €7.50m, with Lahm coming in at €11.00m. That takes the total cost of the squad so far to €40.50m.
Now on to the midfield – it is little surprise that Germany and the Netherlands have done well in these areas too, but here we see the first addition of players outside of the final four – Colombia make a contribution at this stage with one player in the team and one narrowly missing out. Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri also falls just shy of a spot too, so honourable mention to him and Colombian Juan G. Cuadrado.
Germany’s Thomas Müller contributed the most points with 180, meaning he did what he had to do to pretty much vindicate his €13.00m value. He finished a little way ahead of Colombia’s James Rodriguez, whose 155 points from a €9.00m value represented better value than that of Müller. Toni Kroos of Germany and Arjen Robben of the Netherlands make up the midfield quartet, with 110 and 105 points respectively from values of €6.50m and €13.00m.
When we move up front, we finally fine a line without Germany and Netherlands dominating the points tallies – though we do have a certain second Argentinian, and finally a face from the host nation Brazil as the two strikers in our 4-4-2 formation.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi proved the best points front man in a tournament that was all about the goalkeepers and midfielders. His finishing tally of 90 is somewhat uninspiring considering our fantasy game, but that was enough to end the summer as the top forward. His value of €21.00m, though, gave him a P/V ratio of just 4.3 – lower than his striking partner in this team, despite the Brazilian finishing five points behind the Argentinian.
Messi’s club team-mate Neymar came second in the list and represents fourth-placed Brazil’s only face in the best team of the tournament, but that five-point deficit was offset by a lower value of “only” €14.50m – so his P/V was 5.9. Better than Messi’s, but arguably still not amazing considering.
That takes the total value of the “team of the tournament” to a whopping €117.50m, so well above the initial budget of €100.00m our fantasy managers were faced with, and given the “three players from any one nation” rule it wasn’t strictly possible to get too close to this exact selection given Germany and Netherlands’ almost total domination of the defence and midfield, but if you had any of these players in your squad, or any number of them in your squad, then you chose just about the best you could have done.
It is somewhat unsurprising that the majority of the “best team” came from the sides that featured much later on in the tournament considering they had more games in which to grab points, and so it is perhaps worth it to give another mention to Colombian star James Rodriguez, who forced his way into this side despite having made only four starts and one appearance as a sub – two whole games than his team-mates in this list.
Team of the Tournament:
Sergio Romero (Argentina)
de Vrij (Netherlands)