Seven Tottenham players were called up to their national sides to represent their countries at the biggest stage in football – the FIFA World Cup. Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembélé & Nacer Chadli were called up by Marc Wilmots to represent Belgium, Nabil Bentaleb was part of Algeria’s squad at the age of 19, Paulinho was a member of Brazil’s attempt to win their sixth World Cup, Hugo Lloris captained France & Benoit Assou-Ekotto was part of Cameroon’s World Cup squad.
Paulinho started all three fixtures for Brazil, however was very disappointing in the centre of midfield alongside Luis Gustavo. He struggled to make an impression & stamp his influence on the games and this resulted in many Spurs fans wanting him sold after a disappointing debut Premier League season. However, Brazil qualified with two wins and a draw & now face Chile in the Last 16.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Cameroon’s tournament was surrounded with much controversy as the players were unhappy with their payment – something I can’t seem to fathom, considering they are representing their country. They lost all three games, ironically, and Assou-Ekotto left his mark on his country’s failure by head butting his own teammate. A player that is now excess to demands at White Hart Lane, it should be the last Spurs fans see of him.
Hugo Lloris managed two clean sheets as France sailed through their group, undefeated, with two wins and a draw. A side full of talented individuals, Didier Deschamps has done a brilliant job to get them playing well without Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri. And with a captain and goalkeeper like Lloris, is it any wonder that the defence is looking extremely solid?
Vertonghen Chadli and Dembélé all started – and disappointed – in Belgium’s opener against Bentaleb’s Algeria. Vertonghen gave away a penalty that put Belgium 1-0 behind until Fellaini and Defour rescued the ‘Red Devils’ from an embarrassing defeat. All three were subsequently dropped for their second game, against Russia. Vertonghen replaced Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen at left-back when the latter went of injured halfway through the first half. Dembélé and Vertonghen were back in the Starting XI against South Korea and it was a dream night for Jan. He captained the side and scored the solitary goal to ensure his country qualified top of their group. Chadli was introduced during the second half.
Finally, Nabil Bentaleb started and completed all three of Algeria’s history making group stage campaign. Three solid performances helped Algeria to their first ever qualification to the Round of 16. Despite being only 19, Bentaleb has impressed on the world stage and is gaining more and more plaudits by the day. If there is one thing Tottenham fans have to thank Tim Sherwood for, it is the inclusion of young Nabil into the first team setup. He has a bright future ahead of him & Mauricio Pochettino will do well to have him starting many games next season.
So with Paulinho, Bentaleb, Vertonghen, Dembélé, Chadli & Lloris in the next round, we Spurs fans have plenty to look forward to when the tournament resumes on Saturday.
Good luck lads, we Can’t Smile Without You! COYS!