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World Cup 2014: Player Power Rankings After Quarter-Final Matches

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJuly 6, 2014

World Cup 2014: Player Power Rankings After Quarter-Final Matches

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    Welcome to the latest round of FIFA World Cup 2014 player power rankings, where we order the stars of the tournament based on their form in the five games played so far.

    Every game has been watched and analysed, and players have all been given a mark out of 10 for their performances so far. Player form is decided by extracting the mean from their total showings, then a little tweaking is done to iron out any anomalies.

    With only eight teams left in the competition, it's getting ever tighter when placing players, while the pool to pick from is diminishing in front of our very eyes.

40.-21.

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    40. Robin van Persie, Netherlands

    39. Angel Di Maria, Argentina

    38. Juan Zuniga, Colombia

    37. Stefan de Vrij, Netherlands

    36. Mathieu Debuchy, France

    35. Eden Hazard, Belgium

    34. Mesut Ozil, Germany

    33. Celso Borges, Costa Rica

    32. Abel Aguilar, Colombia

    31. Junior Diaz, Costa Rica

    30. Ron Vlaar, Netherlands

    29. Hugo Lloris, France

    28. Carlos Sanchez, Colombia

    27. Bryan Ruiz, Costa Rica

    26. Cristian Gamboa, Costa Rica

    25. Axel Witsel, Belgium 

    24. Marcos Rojo, Argentina

    23. Blaise Matuidi, France

    22. Nigel de Jong, Netherlands

    21. Mario Yepes, Colombia

20. Joel Campbell, Costa Rica

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Last Round: 20

    Differential: None

    Joel Campbell was withdrawn early against the Netherlands on account of being absolutely shattered.

    He ran himself into the ground during the round-of-16 clash with Greece, leading the line solo, devoid of runners and carrying an Oscar Duarte-less outfit through a real defensive struggle.

    He was ineffectual against the Oranje.

19. David Luiz, Brazil

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Last Round: N/A

    David Luiz has been solid if unspectacular during this tournament, but he stepped up—big time—against Colombia.

    His epic free-kick from 30 yards sealed a 2-0 lead of Colombia and with it, essentially, the game. With Thiago Silva suspended for the semi-final, Luiz now takes on a new role of leadership and importance on the field.

18. Antoine Griezmann, France

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Last Round: 32

    Differential: +14

    If France were to score a goal against Germany during their quarter-final clash, it would likely have been through Antoine Griezmann's creativity and movement.

    He performed well, taking on Philipp Lahm and flummoxing him once or twice, and provided a great ball across the box for a runner to nearly tap home.

17. Javier Mascherano, Argentina

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Last Round: N/A

    Javier Mascherano may just be one of the most overlooked performers at the FIFA World Cup 2014, as his slick passing into Lionel Messi and solid defensive ethic has enabled Argentina to reach the semi-finals.

    He's not renowned for forward passing or attacking intent at Barcelona, or at his previous clubs for that matter, but in the absence of many of his teammates, he's stepping up and driving his team on.

16. Thomas Mueller, Germany

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    Martin Rose/Getty Images

    Last Round: 18

    Differential: +2

    Thomas Mueller's first-day hat-trick against Portugal is now a long way away. Barring the sweet strike against the USA to win the game, he's done very little of note since.

    Four goals is not to be sniffed at—he's in our top 20 for a reason—but his performances are sloping off. He rises two spots due to several players exiting the competition.

    Just watch him bag a brace against Brazil now!

15. Thiago Silva, Brazil

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Last Round: 50

    Differential: +35

    Thiago Silva put in an absolutely magnificent defensive display to stifle Colombia and capped off his performance with a goal.

    His well-guided effort at the back post early on set the tone for a stubborn, resilient victory, and the only blot on his copy is the yellow card he (foolishly) picked up. He misses the semi-final as a result.

    How do you replace the best centre-back in world football? Dante's a good start.

14. Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, Colombia

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Last Round: 15

    Differential: +1

    Juan Guillermo Cuadrado moves up due to the quirks of constructing power rankings during a knockout competition. With the likes of Guillermo Ochoa, Jose Juan Vazquez and Charles Aranguiz gone, the Colombia midfielder actually moves up despite having an off game.

    Colombia manager Jose Pekerman withdrew him for Juan Quintero late against Brazil to inject a little more guile and creativity into his side's attempt to break down the Selecao.

13. Oscar, Brazil

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Last Round: 16

    Differential: +3

    Oscar put in another disciplined performance against Colombia, doing whatever Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari asked of him and tracking back on the wings superbly.

    He completed five tackles, per WhoScored.com, which is an unusually high number for a player of his ilk, but it represents the type of game the Selecao were involved in: a scrap in midfield with turnovers aplenty.

12. Giancarlo Gonzalez, Costa Rica

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Last Round: 45

    Differential: +33

    Giancarlo Gonzalez makes a gargantuan leap from No. 45 to the top 15 here, and that's courtesy of a fantastic showing in the quarter-final against the Netherlands.

    He leads Costa Rica's defensive three and has been the most impressive of all despite not scoring a goal. He tackles hard, fouls when he needs to and gets his side through the contest.

11. Daley Blind, Netherlands

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Last Round: 13

    Differential: +2

    There were a few ropy moments for Daley Blind against Costa Rica, who was tested by the athleticism and pace of Cristian Gamboa, but he wasn't troubled too extensively over the course of 120 minutes.

    A clean sheet is a clean sheet—any defender will tell you that—and the Ajax man slammed in one particularly excellent low cross that should have been tapped home by any one of three Dutch players.

10. Neymar, Brazil

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Last Round: 6

    Differential: -4

    Neymar did very little against Colombia, then he exited the game on a stretcher only to find out he'd suffered a broken third vertebra after colliding with Juan Camilo Zuniga.

    His tournament is over, so his ranking last round (No. 6) is his peak for the World Cup. The Selecao must now work out how to play in his absence—something they simply haven't had to do since his induction to the team.

9. Luiz Gustavo, Brazil

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Last Round: 5

    Differential: -4

    Luiz Gustavo has enough in the bank, performance-wise, to retain the top spot among Brazilians despite missing the quarter-final matchup against Colombia.

    He'd have been useful—damn useful—but Fernandinho did enough to put James Rodriguez off and limit his impact. Neymar's rough game also contributes to Gustavo's retention of a high position.

8. Mathieu Valbuena, France

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Last Round: 7

    Differential: -1

    Mathieu Valbuena did his very best to impact the final third against Germany but had difficulty delivering the killer ball.

    There was space to be had in and around Benedikt Hoewedes, but he drifted too much. He wasn't as ineffectual as many of his other teammates, but we've seen a lot better during this tournament.

7. Lionel Messi, Argentina

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last Round: 4

    Differential: -3

    Messi didn't score in Argentina's 1-0 victory over Belgium, but he did appear the most creative and incisive outlet on the pitch.

    He dropped deep to pick up passes and fire them into the channels for wide runners to latch on to, serving up chances for Angel Di Maria and Ezequiel Lavezzi before influencing the Gonzalo Higuain goal.

6. Mats Hummels, Germany

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    Martin Rose/Getty Images

    Last Round: N/A

    Mats Hummels returned to the Germany XI with a bang, single-handedly winning the game by scoring a header and shoring up the defensive line.

    Without him it had looked pretty ropy, but in replacing Per Mertesacker and dropping a little deeper, Hummels was able to work in his area of choice—on the edge of the penalty box.

    Numerous blocks and tackles ensued.

5. Karim Benzema, France

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    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    Last Round: 3

    Differential: -2

    Karim Benzema started the tournament in spectacular fashion, but his performances have tailed off gradually, and it's led to France's exit at the quarter-final stage.

    We gave him two 10s for his first two games, an eight against Ecuador, a seven against Nigeria and a drab six against Germany. The defending was excellent, certainly, but the mercurial Benzema we wanted to see simply disappeared.

4. Keylor Navas, Costa Rica

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Last Round: 12

    Differential: +8

    Keylor Navas fought through the pain barrier to play against the Netherlands on Saturday evening and excelled between the sticks as usual.

    He made a number of incredible saves to deny the Dutch over and over, adopting a "Thou Shall Not Pass" mantra and forcing the game to penalties.

    Only the quality of the Oranje's penalty kicks denied him from being the hero once again.

3. Manuel Neuer, Germany

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    Pool/Getty Images

    Last Round: 10

    Differential: +7

    Manuel Neuer wasn't required to fly out of goal and save his side over and over this time, but he still put in a very solid performance and denied Benzema superbly late on with a firm one-handed save.

    He's an excellent presence to have, and while he is capable of sweeping up, Germany manager Joachim Low made the right choice in protecting him by setting his defensive line deeper.

2. Arjen Robben, Netherlands

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Last Round: 2

    Differential: None

    Arjen Robben destroyed Junior Diaz on Saturday night, dancing in off the right wing and creating chance after chance while drawing foul after foul.

    The Dutch winger walks the divide every game due to his tendency to make the most of challenges, but there's no denying he was absolutely irresistible against Costa Rica.

1. James Rodriguez, Colombia

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    Last Round: 1

    Differential: None

    Rodriguez retains top spot after another strong showing against Brazil, as despite being given a rather rough time by Fernandinho, he was able to dictate the game in the second half.

    The Selecao managed to hold him to just one goal from the penalty spot, though the No. 10 had actually started the move that led to the penalty from just outside the box, unchallenged.

    The neutrals' favourite player departs.

     

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