The worst XI of the World Cup so far: Valencia and Lukaku feature

Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia and Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku have added their names to the list of World Cup stars to struggle in Brazil so far.

Since our last XI, the World Cup has continued to amaze but not always for the right reasons.

Charles Itandje

Retaining his place in the side, despite the heroic efforts of Igor Akinfeev to displace him, is Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje. After his horror show against Croatia, you thought the worst was past the ex-Liverpool man. Not quite.

Against Brazil, the 31-year-old continued his poor form, as Cameroon bowed out of the group stage with a 4-1 defeat. Although the brilliance of Neymar almost single-handedly proved the difference between the two sides, many onlookers were forced to utter the phrase 'but what on Earth is the 'keeper doing?' while watching.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto

Joining his fellow countryman is Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who had a poor overall tournament that was brought straight into the spotlight after he headbutted team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo.

Frustration got the better of the Tottenham full-back and frustration is all he is likely to feel looking back on a truly awful tournament for Cameroon.

Hong Jeong-Ho

At centre-back, there is only one man for the job: South Korea's Hong Jeong-Ho, who was absolutely run ragged during his side's 4-2 defeat to Algeria. In a manner befitting of this all-out-attack World Cup in Brazil, South Korea's loss was pulsating and a joy to watch for the neutral.

But if it was good defending you were after, Jeong-Ho will not have made an impression, after giving the ball away, falling over and running completely the wrong way, pretty much whenever he was called upon.

Any England Defender

Fact: no worst World Cup XI could exist without an England player. The problem is, however, they were all so bad, who do you choose?

To play it safe, then, (sorry) we'll let you pick your choice of any Three Lions defender, as they were all rather horrific. Leighton Baines proved he doesn't know the first lesson of being a full-back: don't let your man cut inside. Glen Johnson proved he is still a wannabe right-winger who only occasionally remembers his job is to defend. Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill, meanwhile, were both at fault for crucial goals conceded.

Any England Midfielder

In probably the biggest English achievement at the World Cup, Roy Hodgson's men have won two places in our XI! Once again, take your pick...

Steven Gerrard, although arguably misused and unfortunate for his part in Luis Suarez's winner against the Three Lions, had a tournament to forget, while the same applies for Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson.

The England midfield made a better go of things against Costa Rica, but against a side with little to play for and already through to the knockout stages, Hodgson's men still couldn't produce a convincing attacking display.

Wilson Palacios

Keeping his place in the side just like Itandje, Stoke midfielder Wilson Palacios will be looking to dust himself down and pretend this World Cup never even took place. After his sending off against France, the 29-year-old had to miss Honduras' narrow 2-1 defeat to Ecuador.

Once he returned, though, Palacios made a minimal impact as his side managed to lose 3-0 again, this time to Switzerland.

Alex Song

Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song has also had a tournament to forget. Then again, so has the whole Cameroon team. We still can't figure out quite what move the midfielder was trying out when he elbowed Mario Mandzukic in the back but, at this point, it's a moot point.

Since his sending off, Song hasn't really done enough to redeem himself and, after a World Cup plagued by disagreement over bonuses, the Barcelona man will be hoping for a brighter future at international level.

Antonio Valencia

The Manchester United man has disappointed so much, especially with his sending off against France, that this here space has been deemed too small to describe Antonio Valencia's group stages.

Instead, here's a whole article on it: Is Man United winger the worst player at this year's World Cup?


Fortunately, Brazil forward Hulk missed his side's second game against Mexico due to injury. If he hadn't, people might have paid more attention to just how ineffective he has been so far this summer. Instead, the 27-year-old started both Brazil's big wins against Croatia and Cameroon, painting the picture that Hulk had something to do with them.

In truth, he had nothing to do with them - and Chelsea's Willian should replace him in Luiz Felipe Scolari's line-up.

Diego Costa

For someone who Spain took such a gamble with, Diego Costa has left Brazil with absolutely nothing to be proud of. The Chelsea-bound striker simply couldn't adapt to the Spanish style and proved cumbersome as the defending World Champions' title defence fell at the first hurdle.

David Villa's impressive performance against Australia showed just how Spain should have played against the Netherlands and Chile, Vicente Del Bosque is likely to rue starting Costa ahead of the Spanish veteran.

Romelu Lukaku

Even more worrying for Chelsea fans is the fact that it is another of their strikers that completes this XI. Indeed, Belgium's Romelu Lukaku has made no impact whatsoever on the World Cup, with Divock Origi outshining him in every way possible.

Lukaku has looked slow, tired and short of ideas, also reacting petulantly to being substituted against Russia. The 21-year-old still has time to prove himself in Brazil, but little he has done so far will have convinced Jose Mourinho that he should be part of his Chelsea plans.

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