Football

THE NEAR-PERFECT 11

MANUEL NEUER  

The Goalkeeper of the Tournament, the best in the world and probably the best sweeper-keeper in the world, Neuer has no discernible flaws.

Even though the match was over he still made terrific saves from Oscar and Paulinho and savaged his defence for conceding a last-minute goal.

JEROME BOATENG  

Like Germany generally, he has improved as the tournament has progressed.

His pace pips Per  Mertesacker and complements Mats Hummels' ruthless consistency.

PHILIPP LAHM

The thinking fullback, Lahm reads the game effortlessly.

Within 15 minutes he had made it clear how foolish it was to pick him out as Germany's alleged weak link.

The Germany and Bayern Munich captain is not the quickest, but proves the late Ron Greenwood's maxim that the first two yards are in the brain.

MATS HUMMELS

The definitive German centre back, he has galvanised his side since recovering from a virus to face France.

One of the best players - at both ends - in the quarter-final, Hummels holds the defence together. Dependable and focused, he rarely makes a mistake.

BENEDIKT HOEWEDES  

It seems harsh, but Hoewedes is the player who stops this side from being a perfect 11.

Always aware that he's not playing in his natural position at left back, the converted centre half is reluctant to press forward as often as Lahm. But he is solid defensively and Brazil never bothered him.

BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER

Another performer who is excelling at the right time, Schweinsteiger has finally put his fitness woes behind him just in time for the final.

Loew deserves credit for retooling the German veteran's game slightly. His swashbuckling runs are less common, but he's a rock around the centre circle.  

SAMI KHEDIRA

Yet again, fortune favours the brave. Whether it was well planned or just serendipity, Khedira's injury problems have left him at the right time.

He enjoyed his best performance against Brazil, dominating midfield, slaughtering Fernandinho, scoring one and assisting in another.

TONI KROOS  

Kroos has made a late dash for Player of the Tournament in the knockout stages.

He played a key role in five of Germany's goals, stopped Brazil from going anywhere and never stopped running while making his game appear so easy and effortless. The perfect World Cup player.

MESUT OEZIL  

Brazil might have obliged, but Oezil finally woke up in the semi-final.

He is often a victim of his own hype following his devastating World Cup introduction in 2010 and being played out of position doesn't help, but had a hand in two goals and his confidence is back for the final.

THOMAS MUELLER

Who needs a No. 9 when you're blessed with the complete forward player.

His volleyed opener broke Brazilian backs and he was pivotal in the second and third goals. His off-the-ball running is quick and instinctive and his first touch always decisive. A nightmare for defenders. 

MIROSLAV KLOSE  

The old warhorse refuses to go the knackers' yard quietly.

He broke Brazilian Ronaldo's record of 15 World Cup goals and was a permanent pest against Brazil, bending their centre backs out of shape.

Don't bet against him adding another in the final.

PERFECT SUBSTITUTE

And just for good measure, the Germans are also blessed with the substitute of the tournament.

Andre Schuerrle has come off the bench a couple of times to positive effect and his superb brace against Brazil gives Germany coach Joachim Loew a healthy selection headache for the final.

World Cup