Nepali Times Asian Paints
Nepali Times Eleven

The Forwards
Written off by critics prior to the start of the tournament, Ronaldo has finally proven his worth at this world cup, an achievement that can only be improved upon if Brazil go on to win the tournament for an unprecedented fifth time. Ronaldo leads the top scorers so far along with team-mate Rivaldo and Germany's Miroslav Klose, but (till presstime) has had more shots on goal than any one else in the tournament.

Joining him is Turkey's shaven-headed and hugely impressive Hasan Sas who seems to have stolen Zidane's fire at this world cup, playing in a very similar role in an uncannily similar style to the French number ten, but with far more aggression. The third forward is Ronaldino who lit up the World Cup with two magical moves that downed England, just before being controversially sent-off. The sheer audacity and genius of his chip over David Seaman was perhaps the goal of the tournament.

The Midfield
Japan's Junichi Inamoto, who bears an extraordinary resemblance to an Anim? figure with his dyed blond hair leads the all star midfield. Inamoto's excellent attacking play, superb finishing and defensive work made him one the most exciting players of the tournament in the first round despite Japan's early exit.

Germany's new star Michael Ballack gets a place for recording the most assists in the tournament so far. His contribution has been crucial to Germany's route to the final considering how important lone goals have been to their advancement in the knockout stages of the tournament.

The United States' Claudio Reyna and Korea's Yoo Sang-Chul were instrumental to both their countries' surprising run to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

The Defence
England's Rio Ferdinand, Spanish captain Fernando Hierro and Senegal's Omar Daf have been among the most impressive defenders of the competition so far. Hierro has been like a human wall for Spain, and is one of the best in reading the game and being where the ball is when it counts. Rio Ferdinand has been there to score goals for England as well as defend, and Daf has always been an integral part of Senegal's devastating counterattacking moves as well as recording the highest number of tackles per game in the tournament.

The Goalkeeper
Oliver Kahn
has arguably been the best keeper in the World Cup. He literally took over the faltering German defence against the United States in the quarter-finals, stopping everything the Americans threw at him.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)