Mmmmm ……. not far from the truth
We all know this World Cup has been the graveyard for ‘superstars’ like Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Franck Ribery, Kaka, Didier Drogba, and Fernando Torres (so far).
Well, the ” superstar sentinels” also proved to be huge let downs.
Fabio Cannavaro: That goal given up to Shane Smeltz had Italy and the world reeling from the implications of a New Zealand win. That it happened with Cannavaro facing Smeltz is another story in the unraveling of the 2006 FIFA’s player of the year. His sure footed tackling and preternatural ability to get into positions to snuff out danger was widely regarded as responsible for Italy’s World Cup success. On a downward spiral since he returned to Juventus.
Patrice Evra: Actually any French defender will do- so shoddy were they at stopping Mexico and South Africa. But Evra chose to cover himself with brickbats off the field too as he led a player revolt against Raymond Domenech’s decision to fire Nicholas Anelka. The Man Utd full back was consumed by exposing the “traitor” who tattled to L’Equipe about that confrontation. He was benched for France’s most important World Cup match against South Africa.
John Terry: Nothing exposed Terry and his lack of pace and forethought as the Manuel Neuer boot upfield which he gave up on. That left Matthew Upson one on one with Miroslav Klose and you know how that would turn out. He was again guilty of not marking Thomas Mueller in those German breakaways. But off the pitch too, he continued the theme of clumsy divisiveness trying to takeover from Steven Gerrard and undermining Fabio Capello.
Nemanja Vidic: The Man Utd center back looked slow against Asmaoah Gyan as the Ghanaian striker had his way. Against Germany, Vidic handled Arne Friedrich’s cross in a defensive meltdown and was saved further embarrassment when Lukas Podolksi failed to convert his spot kick. Against Australia, a win or a draw would have seen the Serbs book a place in the Group of 16 but Vidic failed to deal effectively with a long ball into the box and Tim Cahill seized his chance yet again.
Ricardo Osorio: The long time Stuttgart right back, part of their Bundesliga winning team in 2007 and a constant presence in El Tri since 2003 made one of the most inexplicable blunders this World Cup gifting the ball to Gonzalo Higuain. Argentina got its second goal and with Tevez scoring a third, made it impossible for Mexico to come back even though they looked the brighter team in the second half.
Jay De Merit: He is not a superstar when you compare him to the ones above. But he also provided one of the biggest talking points in the group stage- the USA’s ability to give up early goals. From Steven Gerrard to Asamoah Gyan- De Merit demonstrated a lack of spring in his step in the first minutes of any half. Against Ghana it proved fatal. Given his Premiership experience and Bradley’s faith in him as the one constant central presence, his defending can be regarded as a major failure.