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David Luiz during the moment that defined his tournament.
We had to give a world-class goalkeeper a mention here, if only for the reason that he outperformed a prime selection of other world-class goalkeepers.
Cesar showed at 33 he still has years left plying his trade at the very top level.
As always, he was solid throughout, but it was in the final that he really came to the fore. A number of brilliant saves kept Spain from getting the goal that they so desperately needed to get back into the game, and he also put Sergio Ramos—usually lethal from 12 yards—off sufficiently that the Real Madrid centre-back put his spot-kick wide.
Cesar’s crowning glory? The 9th minute-penalty save in the semi-final, that stopped Uruguay from getting the early goal they needed to be able to sit back and play the counter-attacking game, which may have unravelled Brazil’s tournament.
A well-deserved Golden Glove.
As for David Luiz…
Well, try telling this to a Brazilian, but anyone who’s watched him in the Premier League for Chelsea knows that his defensive positioning is often far from good, and his on-field antics can sometimes be downright ludicrous.
But when playing for his country this summer, Luiz was the rock that held it all together. For much of the contest Brazil had an issue with their full-backs, Marcelo and Dani Alves, leaving far too much space for teams to counter into when venturing forward. Every time that happened though, David Luiz was there to clean up the mess.
His tournament was summed up in the final, when Pedro, through on goal, stuck his shot under the outstretched legs of Julio Cesar. With ball bobbling towards the empty net and no Brazilian player in sight, out of nowhere sprung the Sideshow Bob ’fro of David Luiz, who slid his leg across goal to send the shot spiralling over the bar.
Top effort, top performances, almost a top player. Now let’s see if he can carry it through into the rest of 2013 and 2014.