Inthe first 4 editions after the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or awards were merged in 2010, there was never a goalkeeper whom got nominated into the last 3 contenders. Finally in 2014, Manuel Neuer of Germany became the first man between the posts who successfully entered the 3-horses race for the FIFA Ballon d’Or Award.
It won’t be easy for Neuer to win the award, though, considering his opponents are the regulars: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, Neuer’s success on winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup could be advantageous for the Bayern goalkeeper. After all, Neuer’s Germany beat Ronaldo’s Portugal and Messi’s Argentina in the event. This success can be considered equal Lev Yashin achievement, the one and only goalkeeper before Neuer who winning UEFA Ballon d’Or back in 1963.
The eyes can easily monitor Neuer’s qualities. His remarkable saves surely among them. He also likes to charge outside the penalty’s box to secure his area, which is not only another one of his quality, but also quite the entertainment for the viewers. His performance amplified new definition of modern goalkeeper as not only the one who responsible as goal guardian but as one of important outfield player as well. This matter might outcome new approach in the future of goalkeeper coaching method.
To show how special Neuer is, we will share his statistical numbers that we collected during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Here they are:
Total number of actions done by Neuer in which his hands were not involved. The number resulted in 71% out of his total actions throughout the tournament. Only 29% out of his total actions in which his hands were involved. Quite low for a goalkeeper.
Total number completed pass sent by Neuer throughout the competition. The number resulted in 82% pass accuracy. Passing was also Neuer’s most frequent action, which amounted in 56% out of his total actions. Maintaining possession also one objective in Neuer passes action as 72% of his attempts are short passes.
Total number of passes received by Neuer throughout the competition. The number resulted in 29% out of his total actions, his second-most frequent action.
Total number of saves made by Neuer in 7 matches in the competition. Only 3 teams managed to score against Neuer: Ghana (2 goals), Algeria (1 goal) and Brazil (1 goal).
Total number of defense actions done by Neuer throughout the competition. The number resulted in only 1% out of his total actions, his least-frequent action. Those 7 defense actions in details are 5 clearances, 1 tackle, and 1 pass interception. He did all of those with no hand. Nonetheless the few numbers, not many goalkeeper able to perform defense action in every match.
Here are the more detailed facts on Manuel Neuer’s performance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup (click on image to enlarge):
Here is another Fun Statistical Facts from the 2014 AFF Championship. These players recorded most actions in each particular parameters (click on image to enlarge).
Safiq Rahim, 6 goals
The Malaysian central midfielder won the Top Scorer award, ahead of any other strikers in the competition. Charyl Chappuis (Thailand) and Le Cong Vinh (Vietnam) stand behind Safiq with 4 goals each.
Prakit Deeprom, 3 assists
Prakit provided assists in 3 occasions: Thailand’s first goal in the competition, scored by Mongkol Thosakrai against Singapore; Adisak Kraisorn’s winner against Malaysia in the group stage; and for Kroekrit Thawikan’s first goal against the Philippines in the 2nd leg semifinal.
Chanathip Songkrasin, 21 chances created and 19 dribbles
No wonder Chanathip won the Best Player award. His contribution to Thailand’s triumph was so immense that he created 21 chances throughout the competition. Le Cong Vinh came second with 14, and Soukaphone Vongchiengkham (Laos) and Pham Thanh Luong (Vietnam) share the third spot with 12.
Chanathip’s quick feet also made him the slickest player in the competition who successfully fooled his opponents 19 times with dribbling. He doubles the advantage number of this particular record ahead of Faris Ramli (Singapore) and Kyaw Ko Ko (Myanmar) who each has only 9.
Le Cong Vinh, 10 shots on target
Cong Vinh only missed to score in 1 match out of 5. In total, he fired 10 shots on target which produced 4 goals. Behind him are Philip Younghusband (Philippines) with 9, and then Kyaw Ko Ko with 8.
Charyl Chappuis, 11 crosses
Actually, Charyl’s 11 crosses record is in par with Manny Ott’s of the Philippines. But the Thai midfielder deserves better as he played more matches. The third spot is for Pham Thanh Luong with 10 crosses.
Sarach Yooyen, 307 passes
Playing in more matches surely provide advantage in this particular parameter. Sarach played in 6 matches with 539 total playing minutes. He completed 307 passes in that period, ahead of Nguyen Huy Hung (Vietnam) with 293, and Jerry Lucena (Philippines) with 265.
Tanaboon Kesarat, 24 tackles, 44 clearances, and 28 intercepts
The Thai defender showed his quality by displaying a very good defensive play despite his young age. He made the most of several parameters as well, which are surely benefitted by more matches that he played. His 24 tackles beat his teammates’, Narubadin Weerawatnodom, whom shares the second spot with Zubir Azmi (Malaysia) with 21. He made 44 clearances, which is more than Fadhli Shas’ (Malaysia) with 34, and his compatriot’s, Suttinun Phukhom, with 30. Lastly, his 28 intercepts is more than Suttinun’s with 20, and Amani Aguinaldo’s (Philippines) and Shukor Adan’s (Malaysia) who both have 19.
Achmad Jufriyanto, 9 blocks
Jufriyanto was one of the busiest Indonesian player in the competition. He successfully blocked 9 shots in the 3 matches he played. He made 6 out of those 9 in the match against Laos. He made 2 other blocks in the first match against Vietnam, and the other 1 in the second match against the Philippines.
Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, 21 saves
Even though he was left out in Malaysia’s last 3 matches (including the finals), Fahmi’s 21 saves record didn’t fall through. The record is even better than Kawin Thamsatchanan’s (Thailand) who has 18 in 7 matches. Fahmi also has better save success rate of 77% than Kawin’s 72%.
Every now and then, the winner of Best Player in a competition got people thinking and asking questions like “Why him?” It is true that everyone has their own opinion, but sometimes many people just couldn’t believe that the award went to the person whom, according to them, did not deserve it. For instance, ask any Indonesians on the topic of Best Player of the Indonesian Super League 2014.
However, the 2014 AFF Championship’s Best Player elect seemed to have successfully calmed any critics and drowned any raising questions regarding his quality.
Chanathip Songkrasin has simply stolen the show as he brought Thailand to their 4th South East Asian title. The attacking midfielder played an instrumental role on Thailand’s offense which exemplified his technique and intelligence. His contribution has made Thailand to be a rapid and aggressive team.
Many people might have overlooked Chanathip’s quality by judging on his posture. With only 1.58 cm tall, Chanathip would’ve easily be considered as inconsiderable for the fast-moving and pugnacious modern football. But he managed to deny those criticisms by hoisting up his self-confident as well as his skills.
He turned his pocket-size figure as an advantage. His small steps enable him to move quicker with the ball on his feet. His short comportment makes him sturdier and harder to bring down, especially when he is running.
In his 476 minutes involvement throughout the competition, Chanathip has created more chances than any other players, totaling up to 21 chances. Out of 14 goals in total for Thailand, he was involved in 4 of them by providing 2 assists and scoring the other 2. He also made the most successful dribbles in the competition with 19 in total.
“Messi Jay”, as he is nicknamed in his country, completed 222 passes with a remarkable 86% accuracy. In average, he made up to 37 successful passes per match.
He might has only scored 2 goals for Thailand in the competition. But those goals surely meant quite a lot for Thailand’s campaign in the knockout phase. The first goal against the Philippines in the second leg semifinal opened up the score line and brought Thailand ahead. While his second goal against Malaysia in the second leg final practically sealed the deal for The War Elephants to win the trophy.
We believe that there’s very little doubt on Chanatip’s appointment as Best Player. As some of you are trying to find an argument on why it shouldn’t be Chanathip, here is some statistical facts on him in the 2014 AFF Championship (click on image to enlarge).