Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Brazil World Cup All-XI (Best Eleven and reserves)

This appears on

My Brazil World Cup All-XI
by rick olivares pic Kai Pfaffenbach, Reuters

Now that the World Cup is over, we can say that we’ve seen a lot of outstanding performances not only by teams but also individuals.

So I’m going to pick out my starting eleven as well as my bench.

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Defenders: Philip Lahm (Germany), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Marcos Rojo (Argentina), and Mats Hummels (Germany)
Midfielders: Toni Kroos (Germany), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), and Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Forwards: James Rodriguez (Colombia) and Thomas Muller (Germany)

Why Neuer?
It’s like having another defender who also plays the sweeper position. When you have that much confidence in a goalkeeper, it makes it easier to play and link up on the attack.

Why Lahm?
Despite standing 5’7”, he is solid at the right back position. He is tactically sound and makes outstanding decisions. Rarely see him beaten.

Why Silva?
He’s blessed with size, good fundamentals, and presence in the back.

Why Rojo?
I thought that he replaced Dani Alves as the top wingback in this tournament. Able to run up the flanks and send crosses. Very good at tackling and makes good decisions. Plus, he’s only 24 years old. He’ll get better.

Why Hummels?
Even if he isn’t the fastest player in the world he will not give any forward a good angle to shoot. Makes good reads on defense and offense. Can score too. I like defenders who can score.

Why Kroos?
He was the best midfielder of the tournament for me. Able to spray passes forward with accuracy. Able to find open spots to fire away as well. Like all the other Germans, has sound tactics.

Why Schweinsteiger?
Because he is a rock at holding mid. Strong, able to whip accurate passes forward, bull strong to go up against the tough defenders. And here we go again…. Blessed with good field vision.

Why Robben?
No one had a better motor in the World Cup. Able to win free kicks, fouls and cards. Was the only able to gallop down acres of space to make crosses or try and slip through balls.

Why Messi?
He is the best player in the WORLD! Drew two or three defenders at a time once the knockout stages got going. That underscores his importance. Let the others beat you but not Messi.

Why Rodriguez?
One of the best revelations of the World Cup. Frightening in and around the box. Plays with an exuberance I like. And he scores goals.

Why Muller?
Heir to Filippo Inzaghi as the best poacher. This guy is deceiving. But he can score some.


Lahm     Silva     Rojo     Hummels

Kroos     Schweinsteiger     Robben     Messi

Rodriguez     Muller

My reserves would be: Karim Benzema (forward, France), Kaylor Navas (goalkeeper, Costa Rica), Ezequiel Garay (defender, Argentina), Paul Pogba (defender/midfielder, France), Neymar (forward, Brazil), Memphis Depay (midfielder, Netherlands), Mathieu Valbuena (midfielder, France), Javier Mascherano (midfielder, Argentina)

Coach: Louis Van Gaal (Netherlands)

Why Van Gaal? Prior to the World Cup, he made a name for himself as a tactical genius. He displayed it again except for that brief slip against Argentina.


  1. Thiago Silva on both your best eleven and worst eleven lists? haha

  2. He's that good and bad! Bwahaha!