Stats Zone World Cup 2014 Team of the Tournament

Right-back: Philipp Lahm (GER)

Lahm started the tournament in midfield, where he has been a key player all season for no less a judge than Pep Guardiola – but when injuries struck the squad, he moved back to his original right-back position and Germany's shape looked all the better for it. Not that Lahm had been poor in midfield, but his nous in the increasingly important position of full-back gave Jogi Löw's side a creative outlet they simply didn't have on the left, where the lumbering Benedikt Höwedes manfully but unproductively square-pegged.

The captain was near the top of the tournament scores with and without the ball. Only Toni Kroos (605) made more passes than his 583, which he completed with 90.74% accuracy; only Kroos and Mesut Ozil made more passes in the final third. As for the dirty stuff, only five men made more blocks than his 5, and he provided 23 clearances – more than most, although he would always seek to create rather than clear. 

With full-back being easily Germany's weak spot, the skipper sacrificed his new midfield position to help out where he was most needed at what may have been his last World Cup: he turns 31 in November, and of this squad only Miroslav Klose and reserve goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller are older, and Lahm would easily be the biggest miss at Russia 2018. For all the plaudits given to Germany's overhauled youth system, how Löw must wish he had two or three young Lahms coming through the ranks.