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World Cup 2014: The best players of the tournament

The Independent’s team of writers make their individual choices for the best players of the World Cup in Brazil

It's been a fantastic month of football littered with brilliant matches. Our writers select their favourite players of the tournament.

SAM WALLACE - chief football writer

Lionel Messi/Thomas Müller

Bearing in mind this is written before the final, I have to go for one of the Germans without knowing whether they got over the line or not. Messi is the best player at this tournament. The most effective performer over the course of the tournament has been Müller. I’d like to think he shares qualities with some of the best English footballers in history but we don’t have anyone to compare to him at the moment.

IAN HERBERT - football correspondent

Arjen Robben, Netherlands

I covered a lot of the Netherlands and watched Robben operate on another level almost all the time. There is a simplicity and predictability about the way he cuts in from the right – stooped, ball at the left foot – but that doesn’t make him any easier to stop.

GLENN MOORE - football editor

Had Messi  led Argentina to success he would have edged it, but when it really mattered he was quiet. So it's James Rodriguez very narrowly ahead of Arjen Robben with Kaylor Navas and Alexis Sanchez also in contention. Probably not a German, not even the excellent Bastien Schweinsteiger, which is testament to what a fine team they are. 


JACK PITT-BROOKE - football writer

Toni Kroos

Just like his team, Toni Kroos got better and better as the tournament progressed. Running the midfield for Germany, with his astute runs and brilliant range of passing, he was decisive when it mattered, setting up the winner in the quarter-final and  scoring twice in the devastating semi.

TIM RICH - football writer

Manuel Neuer, Germany

Neuer has redefined the art of goalkeeping, acting almost as a sweeper against Algeria. His double save from Paulinho when Germany were 5-0 up in the semi-final was an example of the ferocity of his concentration. That he was visibly furious when Oscar scored to make it 7-1 demonstrates his overwhelming professionalism.

SIMON HART - football writer

James Rodriguez, Colombia

The excitement of seeing a player little known in England – James Rodriguez – blossom in an exciting Colombia side was a thrilling throwback to World Cup discoveries past. As for individual displays witnessed in the flesh, Toni Kroos stood out for his laser-precision passing against Portugal.

MIGUEL DELANEY - football writer

Javier Mascherano, Argentina

Messi may be Argentina’s most decisive and best player, but Mascherano best defined the grit and aggression that took them as far as the Maracana. It was his attitude that set the mood, his effort that so often saved them.