Manchester United targets, Aston Villa's captain and a surprising Brazil star all feature.
There were some superb defensive performances during the World Cup which both improved and backed up the reputations of players from leagues all over the world.
Germany’s back four will take most of the plaudits because their country won the tournament, but there were some solid performers from other nations who deserve a lot of credit.
We’ve assessed five different areas and taken a look at the best performers in each.
|John Anthony Brooks||USA||DF||1||1||45|
Any defender who can weigh in with goals is worth his weight in gold. Manchester United target Mats Hummels and former Chelsea man David Luiz both appear at the top of this list, scoring at important times in big games for Germany and Brazil.
|Daniel van Buyten||Belgium||DF||8||5||480|
For all the criticism of Brazil’s defence during the tournament, no defender made more outfield blocks than Thiago Silva. That tells us that the PSG man was spot on in terms of his positional play all over the pitch, making it difficult for forwards to get clear shots away on goal.
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||DF||20||7||677|
|Cristian Gamboa||Costa Rica||DF||18||5||426|
It’s clear to see why Manchester United are being consistently linked with Dutch defenders with Stefan de Vrij and Daley Blind both appearing in this section. However, bear in mind that Blind made performances in a holding midfield role.
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||DF||50||7||677|
|Giancarlo Gonzalez||Costa Rica||DF||47||5||510|
Ezequiel Garay mastered the art of no nonsense defending for Argentina, clearing his lines when the situation dictated. Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert will also be very pleased to see Ron Vlaar in the mix as he’s a key figure in the Villa back four at the moment.
Defensive Duels Won
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||DF||53||7||677|
De Vrij also appears at the top of this list, winning more duels than any other player. If United are thinking about making a move for him, it will be interesting to see if they have much competition because the stats certainly suggest they should do.