Eight of Barca’s World Cup players won a winners medal, two more reached the quarter finals and one got to the last 16, with only three of the 14 representatives of the club failing to get through the group stage.
Six of the Barca players in Vicente del Bosque’s title winning team were
regulars throughout the tournament-Puyol, Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Villa, whilst
Pedro made his mark starting in both the semi final and final. Victor Valdes was the only Spanish
player from Barca who didn’t get a game. The Spanish players join the Brazilians Romário and
Rivaldo in the list of World Cup winners who were playing for the club when they lifted the title.
Messi and Aves reach quarter finals
A lot was expected of both Argentina and Brazil, but both sides went out in the quarter finals, as they did in 2006, despite good performances from Messi and Alves.
Leo Messi played all five games for Argentina and captained the side against Greece. Group wins against Nigeria, South Korea and Greece were followed by the defeat of Mexico in the quarter finals before the Germans steamrollered Maradona’s team out of the competition.
Messi played a similar role to that which he’s enjoyed at Barca in recent months, sitting behind the strikers Gonzalo Higuaín and Carlos Tévez and in front of the holding midfielder Mascherano and won plaudits for his performances, despite Argentina’s exit.
For his part, Dani Alves played in four of Brazil’s five games, but not in his preferred full back role, as Dunga preferred to use him as a wide midfielder. Alves started the last three games for Brazil, including the quarter final defeat to Holland.
Márquez makes last 16
History repeated itself for Mexico, who again went out to Argentina in the quarter finals after a game marked by poor refereeing that left the Mexicans unable to improve on their 2006 result. Rafa Marquez, who was used in all the games as a defensive midfielder rather than as a centre half played in all four games for Mexico and scored the opening goal of the Tournament in the inaugural game against South Africa.
Abidal, Henry and Touré make early exits
Éric Abidal and Thierry Henry didn’t have a happy tournament as the French team imploded and crashed out in the group stage. Henry failed to start a single game and Abidal started the first two playing at centre half. The Ivory Coast, with Toure Yaya still a Barca player, also failed to get through to the last 16, coming third in a tough group behind Brazil and Portugal.