Stats Zone World Cup 2014 Team of the Tournament
Attacking midfield: Arjen Robben (NED)
When this World Cup recedes far enough into history to be represented by a few brief memories – Vines of the mind – one of them will be Arjen Robben running at terrified defenders on a rapid counter-attack. Against Spain he clocked up 23mph and made Sergio Ramos, hardly a lardy lump, look like he was running through custard.
The avatar of the low-possession counter-attacking football to which half the world now subscribes, Robben clearly loved taking on opponents: only Messi attempted more duels (128 v 141) and won more (70 v 75), and only Messi created more overall chances than his 17.
But the Dutchman wasn't all about tearing up the space between the halfway line and the box: only Thomas Müller (47) had more touches in opponents' area than Robben's 45; only Karim Benzema and Robin van Persie got more shots on target than his 9, and it's worth noting that he only put one effort off-target. If only his team-mates had shared his accuracy in that drab semi-final – only one of the seven Dutch efforts was on-target – he might have reached a final against many of his Bayern team-mates in a team not blessed with quick defenders...