Daniel’s World Cup 23 of Awesomeness and Whatnot

Lots and lots of coaches and such have brought 23-man teams to Brazil for the World Cup, or they’re about to. I’ve decided, from the many players in this World Cup, which 23 I would take. But I’m looking for specific types of players.

(Note: I’ve assigned them all squad numbers; because I’m obsessed interested in squad numbers for no real reason.)

Streaky strikers who get no respect:

7-Mario Balotelli

9-Fernando Torres

17-Jozy Altidore

18-Chris Wondolowski

4 different leagues represented in my forward corps, and all of the players get a bad rap for not being as good statistically as Messi or Ronaldo. Or in Wondo’s case, getting a bad rap for not being able to magically turn opposing teams into Spain or Brazil.


2-Clint Dempsey

Deuceface. Beef jerky. Don’t tread on this team.

Miniature Spanish attacking midfielders:

8-Andres Iniesta

10-Juan Mata

11-David Silva

20-Santi Cazorla

Top European teams, especially in the EPL, like to build around small attacking midfielders, lots of them Spanish. Of this group of 4, Silva clocks in at the tallest at 5-foot-8, while Cazorla is the smallest at 5-foot-6. Barcelona is built around little attacking midfielders, while many MLS teams have a little Argentine as the playmaker. While South America makes a lot of teeny-tiny playmakers, Spain has built a dynasty around them. They’re wonderful! You know how Athletic Bilbao only signs Basque players? I want to see a La Liga team that only signs players 5-foot-9 and shorter! I’d move to Spain and be a season ticket holder!

Like, really tall people

16-Lacina Traore

Yeah, okay, he isn’t in the World Cup. But he’s 6-foot-8. I probably won’t play him, but if the players want to shoot some hoops in between practice I could give them a real test. The Gentle Giant plus me and my double-spin-jump-shot?  No chance whatsoever.

Central Midfielders WHO CAN FLY*!!!!!

*Most of them probably can’t fly. Much. But they can do other cool stuff.

4-Michael Bradley


15-Kyle Beckerman

19-Yaya Toure

21-Andrea Pirlo

Bradley is the General. Yaya Toure can do everything, and he has a falcon. Xavi and Pirlo are really good at passing, in case you’ve been living under a rock. Beckerman has dreads, which can throw off the opponent (in snobby continental accent: “What kind of footballer has hair like that?”), plus an underrated ability to pass the ball and be in the perfect position defensively and basically keep everything under control. Plus the General likes him. And what the General says always goes. He’s the General.

Anyways, all of these guys have one thing in common: they take control of the game. They can lead the team without saying a word. They control the defense and the offense.

Defenders who maybe one time defended for about 10 minutes and then got bored and made a run into the attacking third without even caring about “defensive responsibilities” because HAHAHA!!

3-Jordi Alba

5-Sergio Ramos

12-DeAndre Yedlin

14-David Luiz

You know what I think is fun? When defenders are like “you know what? I know I’m a defender, but who cares? I’ve always liked Diego Maradona, why don’t I try and do his stuff.” Steve Nicol hates it.

Full-backs are often supposed to go forward, but there aren’t many more pleasing/horrifying sights than seeing a centerback in the attacking half.

Yeah, I only have 4 of these guys. Whatever. The idea is that they don’t defend anyways, so we can insert a midfielder into the lineup if needed and it’ll all be fine.

Oh, and we have David Luiz with his trademark Straight Into the Wall free kick!


I actually have my three GKs chosen by three different criteria:

Good with his feet (and everything else, and being cool):

1-Manuel Neuer

Good at yelling in slow motion:

13-Thibaut Courtois

Around my height:

22-Nick Rimando


Ray Hudson

Who else?


Well, that’s my roster. And yeah, I do have only 22. See, I have Michael Bradley. The General. He counts as two anyways, right?

Starting lineup

I’d play a 3-3-2-1-1 formation, because this is all in my imagination and defense doesn’t matter because we’re in a U-6 league:









Striker: normally Jozy Altidore. He’d play 60-70 minutes, tire the defenders out, and then a super-sub would come on.

Second striker: either Fernando Torres, Mario Balotelli, or Clint Dempsey. This player tries to score from Altidore’s lay-off passes.

Wide midfielders: these would be inverted players: Iniesta, Cazorla, or Dempsey (all righties) on the left with Mata or Silva (lefties) on the right. I’ll explain why they’re inverted shortly.

Central midfielders: Michael Bradley and Yaya Toure.

Defensive midfielder: a regista. One of Pirlo, Xavi, or Beckerman.

Wingbacks: wait, not only do I have a back three, but my outside defenders aren’t centerbacks? And not only are they not centerbacks, but they’re wingbacks? So I’m basically playing a 1-7-2?!? Yes, yes I am. Jordi Alba always on the left (lefties Mata or Silva or full-back Yedlin will play there if he gets hurt or needs a rest) with David Luiz vs. DeAndre Yedlin on the right. Oh, the reason that the wingers are inverted is because these guys are basically wingers in attack.

False centerback: this player will pretend to be a centerback, but then run forward and commit stupid fouls and misplay passes and whatnot. Sergio Ramos is the starter, with David Luiz backing him up.

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Courtois will get quite a few minutes as well) in the sweeper-keeper role. He’s allowed to do whatever he wants, including fouling people in the box, because Nick Rimando is good at stopping PKs. In fact, he’ll get better at stopping PKs because that’s mostly all he’ll do in practice as the third-string goalkeeper.


This team is a World Cup winner, right? Can you make a better team that’s filled with only 2014 World Cup players who aren’t on my team (for those purposes, swap out Traore for Messi and add Cristiano Ronaldo to make it 23)? Comment below, and spread the word of Daniel’s Soccer Emporium. Bookmark. Follow. Next post on Wednesday.


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