Tag Archives: Arjen Robben

New Post: The Top 10 Performances at World Cup 2014 including a US Star

By, Kyle Gibson

The World Cup is officially over, but I don’t want to admit that yet. Here’s a list of my Top Ten individual performances at World Cup 2014.

10. Marc Wilmots- Belgium Manager

Yeah, I know Wilmots is a manager, not a player, but unlike some coaches (cough cough, Scolari) who had a poor tournament, Wilmots was able to shine as manager of Belgium. 4 of his team’s 6 goals were scored by substitutes. That’s a manager who knows how to make a move.

9. Tim Howard- USA GK
Howard became the most capped US Goalkeeper at a World Cup and recorded 15 saves in the loss against Belgium. Howard played well in every game, keeping the US in the match in every game, with a very inexperienced back line.

8. Thomas Muller- MF/F Germany

Muller scored 5 goals for the 2nd consecutive World Cup, finishing 2nd for the Golden Boot. He would be higher on this list, but his form slacked off slightly after the Group Stage.

7. Javier Mascherano- MF Argentina

If you want to summarize Mascherano’s tournament with a single play, think back to the game saving slide tackle he made in the semifinals against the Netherlands. Superior performance for a man who thrives at doing the dirty work.

6. Manuel Neuer- GK Germany

Neuer showed he’s more than your average goalkeeper when he had 16 touches outside the box against Algeria and even took a throw-in during the Final against Argentina. Germany had a few shaky moments at the back, but always had Neuer to back them up. His save on Bemzema in the France game was nothing short of special.

5. Paul Pogba- Midfielder France

The young player of the tournament, Pogba has the potential to be a force for France in up to maybe 3 more World Cups. He has a temper, which can get you in trouble in a tournament with yellow card suspensions, but there’s no denying the already refined talent of a player so young.

4. Arjen Robben MF/F Netherlands

Robben is pure theatre. He is a villain, he is a scapegoat, he is the new face of diving in soccer. Above all that, he is one of the greatest players on Earth. I know he didn’t have a goal in the knockouts, but Robben’s performances did not drop off after the group stages. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a soccer player who thrives in big moments like Robben.

Lionel Messi- Mr. Everything, Argentina

Messi didn’t bring home the prize for Argentina, but he really answered his World Cup doubters, scoring 4 goals, collecting an assist and bringing home the tournament’s Golden Ball Award for best player. His goal against Iran was a stroke of genius and his assist to Angel DiMaria was super clutch. Messi is probably the best player in the world. He did what he does.

2. James Rodriguz- Colombia

Rodriguez was captivating for Colombia, scoring in all 5 games he played and getting 6 total on the way to the Golden Boot trophy. His volley goal against Uruguay will be remembered for years to come, as will his unexpected seizing of the spotlight. I wasn’t expecting much from Rodriguez, hell, I didn’t know a ton about him before this World Cup. If he stays with Monaco, there will definitely be a spike in TV audiences for Ligue 1 games.

1. Neymar- Brazil

No one meant as much to their team at this World Cup, or maybe any World Cup since Maradona in 1986. When Neymar was injured by the spineless Zuniga, the world was robbed of a chance to see the clear-cut top performer at the competition in the semifinals. I still think Brazil would have lost to Germany after seeing that 7-1 dismantling, but by nowhere near as wide a margin. In the 2 games without Neymar, Brazil had no idea what to do offensively. I will truly never forget the performance he put on in front of his home nation, under tremendous pressure.

What’s your list? Comment below!

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New Post: Keys to Argentina vs Netherlands World Cup 2014 Semifinal

By, Kyle Gibson

Today’s semifinal might not make as much history as yesterday’s lopsided German 7-1 victory over host Brazil, but it should be a much better game.

Lionel Messi is hellbent on making his own mark on Argentina’s soccer history, while Louis van Gaal, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie attempt to become legends in Holland by winning a first World Cup trophy.

Here are they 3 Keys to the match, which should be super exciting.

Players Gotta Play

This sounds self explanatory, but this is a game where role players can only do so much. On the Argentine side of the equation, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi have to play well early and often. Two of the stars going into the tournament, Sergio Aguero and Angel DiMaria, are out with injuries. DiMaria produced the winning goal against Switzerland, while Aguero’s tricks would have created match-up problems for the Dutch. Messi, Higuain and Lavezzi are the last hope for this team going forward. Enzo Perez will more than likely fill in for DiMaria. He will have to play the game of his life.

For the Dutch, van Persie has failed to score in the last 3 games, but can get red hot at any second. Before the Quarterfinal against Costa Rica, Sneijder had 5 goals in his previous 5 knockout games. He’ll have to return to that form against Argentina.

Arjen Robben is Clutch

Arjen Robben, in my humble opinion, is the best player in the world when it comes to performing in big moments. It’s like Robben stole Ronaldo’s clutch gene and runs with it. No player is faster with a ball at his feet. No player is better at cutting back onto his left foot and no player is better at drawing fouls, real or imaginary. There is no greater soccer villain.

Robben, like van Persie, hasn’t scored since the Australia group stage match. This wasn’t something to worry about until this game against Argentina. Check the bottom of this post for Robben’s most clutch goal ever.

Argentina’s Fans are Amazing

I didn’t realize just how much supporters mattered at soccer games until I read Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography. Fans, more than any other sport, make a difference in soccer games. Argentina’s spectators have been the best besides Brazil’s, making every game feel like a Boca Juniors home game. For the Dutch, the distance from say..Amsterdam to Sao Paulo is 6,465 miles. The Netherlands will have some fans, but it will be completely outmatched.

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New Kicking it Podcast! 2014 FIFA World Cup Semifinals Preview and Predictions

In this edition of the Kicking It Podcast, Kyle and Richard break down each of the 4 teams left at the FIFA World Cup, Argentina, Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands. We discuss how each team did in the quarterfinals and make our bold (and probably wrong) predictions for the rest of the tournament.

Listen in the player below, or subscribe on iTunes by searching “Kicking it With Kyle Gibson.” Please allow a podcast up to 24 hours to appear on iTunes because of additional posting steps.