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FIFA World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi, Neymar, Arjen Robben and other top performers

Saturday, 12 July 2014 - 11:49pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been one of the best World Cups so far in recent memory and is now in its last stage with only the grand finale remaining. Germany go head to head against the Lionel Messi-led Argentina side, at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

Everyone expected this year's World Cup to be full of spectacular goals, and it didn't disappoint. There were many top performances by several different players, but then there were these five who caught our attention and left us wanting for more.

Lionel Messi (Argentina)-

Arguably the best player of this generation, Messi, almost single-handedly guided Argentina into the FIFA World Cup final. Proving all his critics wrong, this Barcelona genius has dazzled defences and the audiences at the World Cup. He has 4 goals from 6 games, and would be hungry for more in the final against Germany. He stole the show in Argentina's opening game against Bosnia & Herzegovina, dribbling past three defenders and slotting it in past Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. The magician was at it again against  a stubborn Iranian side, scoring the winner with an absolute beauty. In Argentina's final group game against Nigeria, he scored twice with one of them being a sublime freekick. Can Messi guide Argentina to their third World Cup title?

James Rodriguez (Colombia)-

James Rodriguez. A name to remember, this 22-year old Colombian playmaker lit up the World Cup his displays of skill and god gifted talent. James is currently the top scorer at this year's World Cup with 6 goals. James was on target for Colombia in their opener against Greece. He was on target again, against the Didier Drogba led Ivory Coast. His exquisite finish against Japan in their last group game proved that James is definitely one for the future. But his greatest moment came in the round of 16 encounter against Uruguay, where he scored an absolute stunner of a volley, and is arguably the best goal of the tournament. 

Manuel Neuer (Germany)-

Germany are more than fortunate to be having someone like Manuel Neuer between the posts, the 6'3 Bayern Munich star has been one of the reasons why they made it to the World Cup final. The Bayern Munich stopper acted more as a fifth defender than a goalkeeper with a total of 21 touches outside the box. He can tackle, he can dribble, he can defend and he's a goalkeeper. He would be looking to do the same against Messi & co. in the final. 

Arjen Robben (Netherlands)-

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is fast. Gerard Pique and co. would know better as Robben tore apart the Spanish defence in Netherlands' opener. The world champions just couldn't keep up with Robben's pace, with the winger scoring two fantastic goals. His second goal was more like a 100m dash with Gerard Pique towards the Spanish goal, as Robben's run was clocked at 37km/h. In total, he has 3 goals to his name this World Cup.

Toni Kroos (Germany)-

Probably one of the most underrated players in the world at the moment, this Bayern Munich midfielder has proved all his critics wrong at this year's World Cup. Kroos delivered one of the outstanding performances of the FIFA World Cup semifinal round and in the process climbed 18 places to the top of the Castrol Index ranking. The 24year old scored Germany’s third and fourth goals in Belo Horizonte against hosts Brazil, the third an impressively fierce first-time strike from the edge of the box and contributed as much as any player in Joachim Loew’s side to a remarkable team display. A direct replacement to Bastian Schweinsteiger, Kroos is one to look out for the future.

Thiago Silva (Brazil)-

Leader of the Brazilians, the PSG centre-back has been the Selecao's most important asset. His stellar performances against Chile and Colombia helped Brazil progress to the semifinals. But, in his absence because of a second yellow card in the tournament, Brazil were drubbed 7-1 in the semis by a rampant Germany. Silva was probably the difference as Brazil's defence were left clueless after conceding 4 goals in 6 minutes. 

Thomas Muller (Germany)-

The Bayern Munich striker was the top scorer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and now is a close 2nd to James Rodriguez on 5 goals. Muller helped Germany reach the finals with impressive performances in the group stages, which included a hat-trick against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal. Muller would be looking to help Germany win their fourth World Cup at the Maracana on Sunday.

Neymar Jr (Brazi)-

The superstar from Sao Paulo, Neymar, had the expectations of a billion people riding on him and he didnt disappoint. He was intstrumental in Brazil reaching the semifinals, scoring 4 goals in the World Cup. The Barcelona star's exquisite dribbling and trickery were a treat to watch. Sadly, Neymar's world cup ended in the Selecao's quartefinal game against Colombia, fracturing his vertebra after Juan Zuniga's challenge.

Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)-

The short, stocky Bayern Munich midfielder was one of the most impressive playmakers at the World Cup. He was influential in Switzerland's opener against Ecuador with an assist. He then went on to score a hat-trick against Honduras, one of them being a picture perfect curler. Definitely one to look out for in the 2018 FIFA World Cup if the Swiss qualify.

Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)- 

The Mexican stopper's heroic saves against Brazil and Croatia were one of the many reasons why Mexico made it to the last 16, finishing second in their Group behind Brazil. His performance against Brazil won him the man of the match award and several offeres from big name clubs. 

Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria)-

Even though Nigeria lost to Argentina and France, Enyeama's saves helped the scoreline to be much more subtle. Playing his club football in France at Lille, he has caught the attention of clubs like Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund after his impressive performances. 

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