2009 FIFA Confederations Cup All Star Team
Now that the FIFA Confederations Cup is drawing to a close, let's take a look at the best players from this tournament. Many unexpected players have turned in stellar performances.
The formation for this team will be 4-4-2, while I will pick four subs, one for each position. This team is entirely of my opinion, so if you feel that a different player is better in a certain position, feel free to comment. Or, if you feel the need to create an entirely different team with a different formation, then please comment.
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard
Tim Howard was clearly the standout goalkeeper in the tournament. He had outstanding performances against Spain and Brazil.
His ability to withstand pressure from the best in the world was clearly shown in his performances in the semifinal match. He had outstanding saves against Torres, Xabi Alonso, and David Villa.
In the final against Brazil, Howard once again had many outstanding saves against Robinho, Felipe Melo, Gilberto Silva, Lucio, and Luis Fabiano. He was not at fault on any of the goals given up.
He capped the tournament all off with the FIFA Golden Glove award, given to the best goalkeeper in the tournament.
Right Back: Maicon
Maicon won this position fending off competition from the likes of Siboniso Gaxa and Daniel Alves.
Maicon scored a goal against the USA and set up goals against world champions Italy. His runs down the right flank terrorized the defense especially against the USA and Italy.
Maicon's strongest competition was fellow Brazilian right-back Daniel Alves. However, while Alves did very well offensively, he was a bit shaky on defense. Maicon had strong all-round performances in his position.
Center Back: Oguchi Onyewu
Oguchi Onyewu was a rock in the back for the USA.
With Carlos Bocanegra out with an injury, Onyewu took the initiative to be the leader in the back in front of Tim Howard. Onyewu was unbeatable in the air against Italy, Egypt, and especially Spain. Also, when a low cross that beat all other American defenders was swung into the box, Onyewu was the one to clear it.
Onyewu was extremely solid, and was a clear choice for one of the center back slots.
Center Back: Lucio
Like Onyewu, Lucio was a rock in the back for Brazil.
Lucio was one of the reasons that Brazil was able to slip by Egypt with a win. With seconds left on the clock, Lucio volleyed a corner kick at goal which was stopped by the hand of an Egyptian defender. This resulted in a penalty, which Kaka was able to convert, allowing Brazil to collect three points.
Lucio was a rock against Italy, South Africa, and the USA. Not only that, but he was also able to embark on offensive runs.
In the final against the United States, Lucio scored the game winning goal off a corner kick and helped Brazil win the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Left Back: Joan Capdevila
Joan Capdevila's setting up goals for Spain made him an easy choice for the left back position. Capdevila was also solid defensively, minus the performance against Jozy Altidore and the USA.
Capdevila set up many goals against New Zealand, and also set up the game winning goal against Iraq. He was one of the tournament's most potent attack forces down the left wing.
Defensive Midfielder: Felipe Melo
Felipe Melo had to hold off competition from Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Gilberto Silva, and Ramires.
Felipe Melo scored the first goal for Brazil in their group stage match against the USA. He had an incredible work rate and unlike some other players, did not make badly timed tackles which earned him red cards.
Attacking Midfielder: Kaka
Kaka scored two goals against Egypt and also added two assists against the USA and Italy. He had a good pass completion rate throughout the tournament.
He was instrumental in Brazil's Confederations Cup winning team, and was able to cap off the tournament by winning the FIFA Golden Ball, which is given to the best player in the tournament.
Kaka was consistently a threat to the opposing team, and although he wasn't at his best, he was able to make a good impression in this tournament and was able to hold off competition from other players to claim the attacking midfield position in this team.
Left Winger: Landon Donovan
Landon Donovan had a standout tournament, and silenced his critics who say that he does not show up in big games.
Donovan performed well as captain while Bocanegra was out, and set a good example for his team through his work rate. He scored a penalty against Italy.
Against Spain, Donovan was all over the field. At times he orchestrated the offense and other times he was sweeping away a Spanish cross. He set up Michael Bradley's goal against Egypt and Clint Dempsey's goal against Spain. His work rate, accurate crosses, and team leadership skills made him a great choice to fill this position.
In the final against Brazil, Donovan had another great game, by being able to score the second of the Americans' goals.
Right Winger: Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey scored two of the most important goals of his career in this 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, one against Egypt which sent the USA into the semifinals, and one against Spain which sealed one of the biggest upsets in US Soccer history.
Dempsey won two consecutive Man of the Match awards, the first to achieve this in a Confederations Cup. He won many balls in the air and sacrificed his body to get the ball every time. He never gave up and always worked hard.
In the final against Brazil, Dempsey scored the first goal, and after the game was able to win a thoroughly deserved Adidas Bronze Ball award, given to the third best player in the tournament.
Striker: David Villa
David Villa scored one goal each in the first three matches of the tournament and also racked up an assist. He was the most dangerous Spanish forward in this tournament.
Although he didn't score against the USA, he was a constant threat.
In the end, he won the Adidas Bronze Shoe for being the third highest scorer in the tournament, falling short to teammate Fernando Torres only on minutes played.
Striker: Luis Fabiano
Luis Fabiano scored one goal against Egypt and two against Italy.
He was a nagging threat in the box and on set pieces and also drew fouls to set up set pieces. Fabiano was able to translate his World Cup Qualifying scoring success into scoring success at the Confederations Cup, and he didn't disappear in the big matches for his country like other strikers.
He scored two goals in the final of the Confederations Cup, and afterwards won the Adidas Golden Shoe for being the top scorer in the tournament with 5 goals and the Adidas Silver Ball for being the second best player at the tournament.
Goalkeeping sub: Julio Cesar
Julio Cesar was a rock between the sticks against Italy and South Africa.
His many saves against South Africa kept the scoreline 0-0 until Dani Alves could score the free kick. Also, he did the same against Italy until Luis Fabiano could score.
Defensive Sub: Matthew Booth
Matthew Booth was a rock in the back for South Africa. He rarely disappointed and was dangerous on set pieces, also (although he did miss a few good chances). Overall, he had a good tournament for the Bafana Bafana.
Midfield Sub: Steven Pienaar
Steven Pienaar was all over the field all the time for South Africa. He never gave up, and not only made solid tackles but also orchestrated the offense.
He had a solid tournament, and was instrumental in his side's advancement in the Confederations Cup.
Striker Sub: Fernando Torres
Second highest scorer in the tournament, Fernando Torres scored the fastest hattrick in Confederations Cup history (17 minutes) in the group opener against New Zealand.
He was a bit quiet throughout the rest of the tournament but did threaten the opposition constantly.