5. Claudio Marchisio
Italy manager Marcello Lippi said before the tournament that the Juventus midfielder would be Italy’s playmaker. A lot was expected of him given Andrea Pirlo’s injury that kept sidelined for the Azzurri’s first two games, it was believed that he could be a key player for his side and really make a name for himself in the tournament. However this didn’t prove to be the case, he started Italy’s opening games against Paraguay and New Zealand, firstly playing behind the strikers in the first game and then out on the left hand side in the second, however he just could not get a foothold in either game and was substitued in the second half of both matches. As a result of his two awful performances he didn’t start Italy’s final World Cup match against Slovakia and with the form that he was showing wouldn’t have made the slightest difference.
The Brazilian midfielder is regarded as one of the best players in the world yet found it hard to breathe any life into the Brazil side. Robinho and Elano turned out to be the Selecao’s most creative outlets, and although Kaka did show some glimpses of his quality it just wasn’t enough from a player of his standards. He didn’t have a great season for Real Madrid and found himself in and out of the side, although hit may seem unconceivable from such a player her may have lost some confidence due to his poor first season. But that still isn’t an excuse for him not to play to his best for his country; and a player who should be lighting up a tournament with his skill and great goals is going to be best remembered in the tournament for getting harshly sent off against the Ivory Coast.
3. Fernando Torres
Liverpool’s number 9 has found the World Cup very tough, he hasn’t a scored a single goal in the tournament and has looked like he couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo in front of goal. Had it not been for David Villa shouldering the team’s attacking responsibilities then Spain could well have crashed out by now. Apart from Spain’s opening group game Torres has started every single one of their games, and you would have thought that a great striker like him would have hit the back of the net at least once by now. Torres was injured at the end of Liverpool’s season last year so it could be that he was rushed back too quickly to play for Spain, whatever his condition though El Nino has definitely disappointed at this World Cup.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
The most expensive player in the world failed to live up to his reputation in the World Cup and was very lacklustre, scoring only one goal in the tournament in Portugal’s 7-0 mauling of North Korea. Ronaldo had a great debut season for Real Madrid scoring 33 goals in 35 games for the club and for the past few season has been a fantastic player both at Madrid and for Manchester United. However he wasn’t able to take that form to South Africa, and with his ability really should have been one of the players of the tournament. What makes his underperformance worse is that manager Carlos Queiroz entrusted him with the captain’s armband, yet a no point during the tournament did he ever look like a leader out on the pitch. Love him or hate him, everybody surely wanted to see him have a good World Cup as he is fantastic to watch and Ronaldo really disappointed with his performances.
1. Wayne Rooney
The man who was to shoulder England’s World Cup responsibilities was the biggest flop at the World Cup by far. Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that the pressure got to Rooney, but he should know as well as anybody that a great player like him should thrive under the pressure and not become overwhelmed by it. Also it’s not as though he was unlucky in the tournament or simply didn’t play well but he looked like he couldn’t be bothered and wasn’t trying. Whether or not that’s a case of burnout from playing too many games in the season is unknown, but you would think that he would give that bit extra for his country and at least try.
Who do you think flopped at the World Cup?