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World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 4 with Karim Benzema, Djourou and Valbuena

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2014

World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 4 with Karim Benzema, Djourou and Valbuena

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Day 4 of the FIFA World Cup is over and done with, with three more teams picking up three points at the first attempt as Brazil 2014 continues to hold a no-draws-allowed policy.

    Switzerland beat Ecuador, France destroyed Honduras and Argentina took victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina, with a number of individuals from each side impressing in turn.

    Karim Benzema was tormentor-in-chief for France as he scored twice and had the shot which led to the other goal, but who else joins him in our team of the day? This time up we're in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

GK: Alexander Dominguez, ECU

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press

    Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez was beaten twice from a combined range of about four yards, seeing his team lose 2-1 in the final seconds of the match against Switzerland.

    There was nothing he could do to prevent the two goals, which came from excellent deliveries from Ricardo Rodriguez, but aside from that he made several good, albeit routine stops and took the ball authoritatively in the air.

    Athletic, tall and powerful, he's an impressive last line of defence for Ecuador who will certainly be called upon a lot more often in the upcoming two matches.

RB: Mathieu Debuchy, FRA

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Mathieu Debuchy was excellent for France, constantly raiding down the right flank from his full-back position and exploiting the space ahead of him.

    Early on he was the constant out-ball for the French team as they sought to get behind a packed mass of Honduran defenders, and he used the ball well from the channels, making short passes or deep crosses from the byline.

    He took some rough treatment like most of his team-mates, but he also remained vigilant to the rare threat of the Honduras counter-attack.

CB: Johan Djourou, SWI

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Swiss centre-back Johan Djourou was the best player on the pitch in the day's opening game, sweeping up behind his partner, clearing his lines from most set plays and distributing the ball well to the midfield.

    Most notably, he showed excellent acceleration and awareness to break back toward his own penalty area and clear danger twice when Ecuador attackers may have otherwise had a free shot on goal.

    Djourou was not a certain starter before the tournament, but on this evidence he's certain to stay in the team from now on.

CB: Ezequiel Garay, ARG

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Argentina weren't at their best for most of the match, but their defence and Bosnia-Herzegovina's failure to commit many men forward until late meant the Albiceleste rarely looked in danger of conceding too many clear chances.

    Ezequiel Garay marshalled Edin Dzeko very well for most of the game, sticking tight when the forward was isolated around the penalty area and keeping his position when the striker dropped deep.

    He cleared balls into the box comfortably, defending well on the deck and in the air, and he looked a very solid player throughout the 90 minutes, even when pressure built up late.

LB: Patrice Evra, FRA

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Opposite to Debuchy, Patrice Evra was almost as impressive for France from left-back.

    He got forward well, linked play between Blaise Matuidi and Antoine Griezmann and looked to break behind the defensive line and into the penalty area when he could.

    Evra was tested a few times by the pace of Andy Najar but coped well going back toward his own goal and seemed to survive a late injury scare as well.

CM: Miralem Pjanic, BiH

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Bosnia-Herzegovina were the better side in the first 55 minutes or so of their opening game against Argentina, and much of that control was due to the excellence of Miralem Pjanic.

    The creative midfielder was exceptional in possession, distributing and receiving the ball neatly in the middle third of the pitch and running rings around Javier Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez.

    Pjanic pushed further up into an offensive playmaking role later in the game as Bosnia looked to spring a late surprise but spent most of the game as one of the double pivots.

CM: Blaise Matuidi, FRA

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Another impressive performer for France was central midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

    Vital to the three-man midfield Didier Deschamps employs, he was majestic in the first half in controlling space, keeping the ball moving forward quickly and closing down the opposition whenever they threatened to break out of their defensive shape.

    Matuidi quietened down after the break once the game was safe, showing his ability to dictate play rather than cover great tracts of ground to bully the opposition.

RW: Mathieu Valbuena, FRA

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Mathieu Valbuena was awesome for France in the face of Honduras' immense provocation and crowded defensive thirds.

    The creative wide man drifted infield, roamed both flanks and constantly looked to make telling passes and dribbles toward the opposition's penalty area.

    He's the key attacker in France's fluid, fast-passing approach play and comes into the tournament in terrific form for his nation.

AM: Enner Valencia, ECU

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Enner Valencia was Ecuador's main threat against Switzerland and scored the opening goal of the game. His header was simple enough from close range, but his movement in the box saw him evade attention and was timed perfectly to meet the cross.

    His all-round approach was impressive indeed, linking play between midfield and attack and frequently looking to release Jefferson Montero down the left.

    Ecuador suffered a cruel late defeat but will be hopeful that with Valencia in good form they could yet pick up better results in the group.

LW: Antoine Griezmann, FRA

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Like Valbuena, Antoine Griezmann drifted freely from his starting wing role, looking to make the most of spaces between the Honduran defensive lines and move on the ball quickly.

    He was incredibly unlucky not to score with an effort which hit the crossbar but was instrumental in his side keeping up a relentless possession-based, offensive-minded approach to the game.

    A great start to the World Cup for France and for Griezmann, who has profited immensely from the non-selection of Samir Nasri and the injury to Franck Ribery.

CF: Karim Benzema, FRA

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Two goals, a big part to play in the third and an all-round awesome performance from France striker Karim Benzema.

    The Real Madrid man was a powerful, perpetually moving presence leading the France attack and gave no rest to the Honduras defence throughout the 90 minutes.

    His penalty was well-struck, but his second goal, a drilled, high effort on the angle, was impeccable. A top-class forward display.

     

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