Hot World Cup player of the day: Ryan McGowan (Australia)

20 Jun

Photo via Goal.com

Australia may have been one of the first teams eliminated from the World Cup (along with my beloved Spain), but 24-year-old Ryan McGowan has come a long way in just two matches. He made his World Cup debut Saturday when he was called on to replace an injured teammate early in the second half. And with Ivan Franjić still injured, McGowan (who plays with Shangdong Luneng  Taishan in China) started Wednesday’s match against Netherlands. Although Australia was defeated 3-2, he was able to show his strength as defender and provided the assist for Tim Cahill’s goal.

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Hot World Cup player of the day: Aleksandr Kerzhakov (Russia)

19 Jun

Photo: Adidas

Zenit St. Petersburg’s Aleksandr Kerzhakov didn’t start Tuesday’s match, but he ended up as Russia’s hero of the day. After an uneventful first half, Korea finally scored the opening goal with only 20 minutes left in the match. 31-year-old striker Kerzhakov was called on shortly thereafter and scored an answering goal within minutes, ending the match in a draw.

Hot World Cup player of the day: Mats Hummels (Germany)

17 Jun

Photo via football.co.uk

Although Thomas Müller’s hat-trick undeniably made him the star of the day, the always lovely Mats Hummels also played his part in Germany’s 4-0 win over Portugal yesterday. Not only did the 25-year-old Dortmund player provide a solid defence, but also scored a header of his own. Unfortunately he had to leave the pitch early due to a thigh injury, but he should recover before long.

Hot World Cup player of the day: Raphaël Varane (France)

17 Jun

Photo via CaughtOffside

I love this kid. At just 21, Raphaël Varane still plays for France’s U21 team as well as the senior team, but he’s proven to be a highly talented defender that plays both intelligently and fairly, as he showed in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Honduras. At 1.91 m (6’3″) and with that infectious smile, he’s easy on the eyes too. Luckily for me, he plays for my favourite club, Real Madrid. For now.

Hot World Cup player of the day: Salvatore Sirigu (Italy)

15 Jun

 

Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio

Surprise! Although there were plenty of lovelies to choose from in yesterday’s four matches, Italian goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu deserves special mention. With legendary captain Gianluigi Buffon out with an ankle injury, 27-year-old Sirigu was called in at the last minute to play his first ever World Cup match yesterday. Despite the sudden pressure, he played a great match against England, only letting in a single goal from Daniel Sturridge. But maybe that should be expected, since he’s been named the best goalkeeper in Ligue 1 for the last two seasons for his performance with Paris Saint-Germain.

Hot World Cup player of the day: Rafa Márquez (Mexico)

14 Jun

Photo via unamásuno

So I’m breaking tradition here by not featuring a Spanish player on a day when Spain played, but I don’t want to think about that match right now! So instead, let’s look at 35-year-old veteran defender Rafael Márquez, who has just become the first player to captain in four World Cups. He was indeed a solid leader for Mexico yesterday, who persevered through some dodgy calls to a well-deserved victory against Cameroon.

Hot World Cup player of the day: Oscar (Brazil)

13 Jun

 

Oscar

Photo via euro football web

And so it begins! There were some pretty iffy calls in yesterday’s match between Brazil and Croatia, but 22-year-old Oscar really did perform well and scored Brazil’s third goal. The Chelsea midfielder first impressed me by scoring a hat-trick against Portugal in the final of the 2011 U-20 World Cup, but he’s turned out to be tasty as well as talented. Just look at those Gourcuff-esque brows!