FIFA updates World Cup player rankings: Lahm rises, Chilean defense supreme

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The Independent Football

A FIFA player ranking recalculation on Saturday, June 26 showed that German defender Philipp Lahm was one of the tournament's most improved players during the final World Cup group games, with the 26-year old German captain rising to third place overall.

As a right-back who can play on the left as well on either wing, Lahm's positional understanding is coupled with an excellent passing accuracy, and at 5ft7in (173cm), he proves that size isn't everything - even for a defender.

Chilean central defenders Medel and Ponce were the only two to maintain their positions - first and second respectively - while Argentina's hat-trick hero Gonzalo Higuain was among seven players to drop out, making way for new faces that cement the importance of defensive positions among World Cup teams.

Among those was the French-born Algerian goalkeeper Raïs M'bohli, who saved 14 of the 15 shots fired at him over three matches, and Portugese stopper Eduardo, who saved all of the 10 balls sent his way.

Though reigning champions Italy limped out with no wins, FIFA's Castrol Index found no fault with left-back Giorgio Chiellini, and England's Steven Gerrard was one of few midfielders present.

01) Gary Medel: Defender, Chile - 9.79 point average
02) Waldo Ponce: Defender, Chile - 9.74
03) Philipp Lahm: Defender, Germany - 9.69
04) Martin Demichelis: Defender, Argentina - 9.65
05) Gonzalo Jara: Defender, Chile - 9.62
06) Joan Capdevila: Defender, Spain - 9.58
07) Max Pereira: Defender, Uruguay - 9.55
08) Antolin Alcaraz: Defender, Paraguay - 9.52
09) Rais M'bolhi: Goalkeeper, Algeria - 9.50
10) Giorgio Chiellini: Defender, Italy - 9.44
11) Gerard Pique: Defender, Spain - 9.47
12) Cristian Riveros: Midfielder, Paraguay - 9.42
13) Eduardo: Goalkeeper, Portugal - 9.40
14) Paulo da Silva: Defender, Paraguay - 9.37
15) Mauricio Isla: Defender, Chile - 9.35
16) Diego Lugano: Defender, Uruguay - 9.33
17) Steven Gerrard: Midfielder, England - 9.31
18) Gregory Van Der Wiel: Defender, Netherlands - 9.29
19) Sergio Ramos: Defender, Spain - 9.27
20) Alvaro Pereira: Midfielder, Uruguay - 9.25
Source: FIFA.com/castrolindex

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