The worst XI of the World Cup so far: Manchester City and Chelsea stars feature

David Silva Spain

David Silva and Diego Costa top the bill of World Cup flops in Brazil so far.

This year's World Cup in Brazil has been absolutely sensational. Some performances, however, have not...

GK - Charles Itandje

After his Rob-Greenesque gaffe against South Korea, Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev must have thought he had his place in this side nailed down. But Iker Casillas then went one better against Chile, proving himself as a consistent underperformer in Brazil.

Unfortunately for Charles Itandje, though, neither did quite enough to beat the Cameroon goalkeeper, who produced a truly comical display in his side's 4-0 defeat to Croatia. The icing on the cake was Ivan Perisic's strike to put Croatia 2-0 up - Itandje had passed the ball straight to him and dived out of the way to leave him a virtually empty net to finish in.

Leighton Baines

England fans may have been calling for the return of Ashley Cole after their 2-1 defeat to Italy in Group D. Leighton Baines simply failed to turn up.

The Everton man may have been left exposed by Wayne Rooney and later Danny Welbeck down the left - but that was no excuse for being beaten in a one-on-one with such ease and letting his opposite number whip a simple cross into Mario Balotelli for the Italians' winning goal. Going forward, meanwhile, Baines offered similarly little.

Gerard Pique

The pin-up boy of Spanish and Catalan football for so long, Gerard Pique appears to have left his football boots back home. Criticised for his form at Barcelona this season, the 27-year-old showed no signs of defying his critics against the Netherlands, as Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie rendered him completely futile.

Pique was subsequently dropped by Vicente Del Bosque for Spain's next game - the 2-0 defeat to Chile.


What is there to say? The Portuguese defender was sent off before half-time for headbutting an opponent. When will he learn?

Maxi Pereira

Another inclusion to have been sent off during his opening game, Uruguay's Maxi Pereira will sit out his side's clash with England knowing he has most certainly seen better days.

The experienced full-back was helpless as Costa Rica shocked World Cup fans with a ruthless 3-1 victory at Uruguay's expense, making matters no better by lashing out late on to receive his marching orders. In so doing, Pereira received the first red card of the tournament - so we can blame him for setting a bad example to those that followed!

David Silva

A creative midfielder who always promises so much, David Silva simply hasn't delivered for Spain this summer. Perhaps tired by Manchester City's demanding season - which saw him lift the Premier League title - the 28-year-old has failed to live up to his previously high standards for Del Bosque's team, giving passes away cheaply, controlling the ball poorly and offering zero threat in the final third.

Silva also missed a crucial chance to put Spain 2-0 up against the Netherlands during their 5-1 defeat to the Dutch. How different would things have been had he put it away?

Wilson Palacios

A third man to make our XI to have been sent off, Wilson Palacios let Honduras down when his country needed him most. One of his side's most senior players, the Stoke City midfielder produced what can only be described as an ill-judged rugby match against France, as he received his marching orders after giving away the penalty that opened the scoring.

The French won the game 3-0, a scoreline that would have been much tighter had Palacios bothered to stop and think for a second.

Alex Song

The last of our suspended World Cup stars, Alex Song makes it into midfield for a truly bizarre sending off. After running into Mario Mandzukic, the Cameroon and former Arsenal midfielder decided to vent his frustration... by elbowing the Croatian in the back.

No one will ever know what was going through his mind as he committed the... unconventional foul, though the referee had the best view in the house of the incident. Off Song went, after a forgettable initial performance, with his side going on to concede three more without him. Nice one, Alex.


In a more attacking role, we welcome Hulk, whose World Cup blushes were spared by injury as he sat out Brazil's 0-0 draw with Mexico. In the Selecao's opener against Croatia, the 27-year-old made minimal impact as he proceeded to sky every shot and waste every cross he took from a decent attacking position.

Wasteful and greedy are certainly two words you could associate with Hulk's ineffective performance - and it was no coincidence that his being taken off by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari worked in tandem with Brazil's ascendancy in the final third.

Emmanuel Emenike

A man whose pace could strike fear into the hearts of defenders the world across, Emmanuel Emenike simply didn't show up in Nigeria's opener against Iran. The forward wasn't the only one to blame in the first game of the World Cup that could actually be said to have turned viewers away from the action - but his poor finishing and bad decision-making was a significant factor for the scoreline remaining goalless.

Diego Costa

Although Theofanis Gekas deserves an honourable mention for hitting the bar with a header that was easier to score for Greece, only one man can complete the worst XI of the World Cup so far - Chelsea-bound Diego Costa.

The Brazil-born striker has proven an unworthy risk for Del Bosque's Spain side, looking out of place and offering little in the way of fluidity to Spain's tiki-taka system. Costa was replaced by Fernando Torres after producing nothing of note against the Netherlands, while all he could manage against Chile was an overhead kick that wasn't converted by Sergio Busquets. In both games, he missed good chances.

Chelsea fans will hope he regains form and fitness in time for next season, or the £30 million plus free the club are likely to pay for him might seem like a hefty, hefty sum.

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