Dietmar Hamann has backed Germany to win the 2014 World Cup – no surprise there.
After all, the former Liverpool and Manchester City midfielder is German and played for his country in the 2002 World Cup final, which they lost 2-0 to Brazil.
Moreover, Die Mannschaft do genuinely look like they could win the tournament this time. Having humiliated hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, Joachim Low’s side will be high on confidence.
Hamann, who won the FA Cup, the UEFA Cup and the Champions League among other trophies during his time at Liverpool, has also backed two of the Germany players to be contenders for the Golden Ball award, given to the best player of the tournament.
‘Because I think Germany will win the World Cup, I would choose a German for the Golden Ball’, Goal.com quotes the 40-year-old as saying. ‘My selection is Neuer with Mats Hummels a close second’.
Manuel Neuer for the Golden Ball is a somewhat surprise choice. While the Bayern Munich star is regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in the world, he has not really been tested as some of the custodians of other teams have in the tournament – well, not consistently enough.
True, the 28-year-old demonstrated some amazing ‘sweeping’ skills against Algeria in the round of 16 and made a brilliant save from a Cristiano Ronaldo effort against Portugal in the group stage, but there are at least two other goalkeepers who have been more active and perhaps more impressive: Keylor Navas of Costa Rica and Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico.
|Team||Saves||Saved Ibox||Saved Obox||Good High Claim||Accurate Goal Kicks||Total Keeper Sweeper||Apps||Mins|
|Keylor Navas||Costa Rica||21||12||9||7||25||4||5||510|
Many will agree with Hamann’s suggestions about Mats Hummels being a contender for the Golden Ball.
The 25-year-old Borussia Dortmund star has been a figure of strength in defence for Germany and has led his team from the back.
The former Bayern Munich player’s best game of the tournament was against France in the quarter-finals, in which he scored the only goal of the game and made some crucial interceptions in defence.
Recent media reports have suggested that Manchester United are stepping up their pursuit of the £20 million-rated defender. If the Red Devils do get him at that price, then it could go down as the bargain deal of the summer.