All the players involved in the draft must be judged for there performances during the 00s and at there relative 'best'.
Formation is 4-1-2-2-1/4-2-3-1
Going to go with a bit of a change of tactics for this game. Going to be quite rigid in defence, with neither of my fullbacks being given much opportunity to get forward and instructed to stay back, with Alonso and Mascherano playing quite close to them in the middle of the pitch to counter any attacking threat that Zerf's team might bring.
Not going to play too deeply or too highly though, so a medium defensive line will be employed to keep Drogba away from goal where his heading ability could potentially damage us but not too far away so his pace will have an effect either. Lucio has been brought into the team with this in mind, with the heading abilities of Lucio and Hyypia we should be able to negate any threat Drogba has with Mascherano and Alonso looking to snap up any drop downs and second balls. Lucio's pace will also be enough to help track Drogba too.
Attacking wise it'll be a little different as well. The rigidity of the 6 at the back will be enough to see my attacking midfield 3 not to do much defensive work for the side. Instead they'll play a fluid role across the pitch to provide each other and Klose with the bullets to fire in. Klose however will be tasked with hassling and harrying the defenders from the front to make sure they don't have time on the ball to do what they want and make mistakes we can capitalise on.
ChrisWilliams' Player Bios
Goalkeeper - Victor Valdes
Barcelona goalkeeper Valdes is considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers in their history, having won 19 titles with the club, including five La Liga titles and 3 Champions League titles during his time there. He broke into the first team in 2003, becoming their first team goalkeeper, and won the award of being the best goalkeeper in La Liga in the 2004-5 season. Valdes has broken many Barcelona goalkeeping records in his 330 appearances and his best season is undeniably the 2008-9 season where he helped Barca to an unprecedented treble of the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey. He’s vastly underrated, and is unlucky to have been behind two other world class keepers in Pepe Reina and Iker Casillas in the pecking order for Spain, where he was a member of the squad that won Euro 2008.
Right Back – Markus Babbel
Babbel signed for Liverpool in 2000, leaving Bayern Munich to join Gerard Houllier’s Anfield revolution. His spell at Anfield was characterised by his solid defending his raiding runs down the right hand side, adding a brilliant attacking option to the teams right hand side. Between 2000 and 2001 Babbel won five trophies at Anfield, including the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup treble in the 2000-1 season, scoring in the UEFA Cup final and also winning the 2001 Community Shield and European Super Cup. Babbel contracted the severely debilitating disease Guillan-Barre Syndrome soon after in 2001, and was out for a year with the disease, and his career never fully recovered although he did himself. He played for Blackburn and VfB Stuttgart before retiring in 2007 and turning his hand at management. Babbel made 51 caps for Germany during his career.
Centre Back – Sami Hyypia
Quite simply, Gerard Houllier’s best signing for Liverpool. Hyypia was a mountain of dominance after signing for Liverpool in 1999. Dominant in the air, strong in the tackle and competent with the ball at his feet Hyypia will rightly go down as one of Liverpool’s best ever centre halves and is considered one of the best foreign players to have played in the Premier League. During his time at Liverpool Hyypia won 2 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, 2 Community Shields, 1 European Cup (and was runner up once), one UEFA Cup and 2 European Super Cups. In 2002 he replaced Jamie Redknapp as Liverpool captain, before being replaced himself by Steven Gerrard. A fantastic role model to younger players, a fantastic centre back, and my captain.
He’s up there in the very top bracket of defenders, consistently world-class throughout the decade from his Bayer Leverkusen days to his Bayern Munich days to his Inter Milan days
Left Back – Marek Jankulovski
Marek Jankulovski is a former Czech Republic player who is equally adept at playing at left back and left wing. He’s particularly renowned for his technical ability and his crossing ability, and with a striker as powerful in the air as Klose and also Ronaldo on the right wing his crossing will provide plenty of goals for those two. Jankulovski made 77 appearances for his national team, scoring 11 goals in the process and was part of the AC Milan side that won the European Cup in 2007, along with the FIFA Club World Cup in the same year.
Central Midfield – Javier Mascherano
Mascherano is a defensive midfielder famed for his tough tackling and constant pressurising of opponents. He started his career with River Plate in Argentina in 2003, and played for Corinthians before moving to West Ham in 2006 with Carlos Tevez. Mascherano didn’t settle at West Ham and he eventually moved to Liverpool on loan in 2007, where he quickly became a fan favourite and guaranteed first team starter, and was a member of the team that lost the European Cup final to AC Milan in that season. Not reknowned for his goalscoring abilities at all, Mascherano is a tough tackling defensive midfielder who is excellent at winning the ball back. Captain of Argentina under Diego Maradonna, he’s also a real leader in a team that has many.
Central Midfield – Xabi Alonso
Engine room of the midfield. Alonso joined Liverpool from Real Sociedad in 2004, and went on to win the European Cup in 2005 in Istanbul. He had an excellent first season at Anfield, wowing the fans with his fantastic long range passing and, further on in his Anfield career, his long range shooting! A good tackler, a great passer of the ball, and my ‘quarterback’ from midfield. By far his best season during the 00s was the 2008/9 season where Liverpool came so close to winning the title, and he was the best player in a side that beat Real Madrid 4-0, Man Utd 4-1 and Aston Villa 4-0 within a week.
Right Wing – Cristiano Ronaldo
Goalscorer extraordinaire. When he joined Man Utd in 2003 Ronaldo was a raw talent that needed tuning – eventually being tuned to being one of the best players in the world, 2nd behind Lionel Messi. He won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, scored 84 goals in 196 appearances for Man Utd during the decade and broke George Best’s goalscoring record for midfielders in the 2007/8 season, scoring 35 goals in 37 appearances (based on wiki). He plays best when able to roam around from the right wing, but Ronaldo is dangerous all over the pitch with his free kicks, shooting power, pace, skill and heading ability.
Attacking Midfield – Zinedine Zidane
The France and Real Madrid legend needs no introduction, he was arguably the finest player of the last decade. He will be the playmaker of my side, dictating the tempo of the game and playing the killer passes while also keeping a serious goal scoring threat. He will also be the penalty taker. Left Wing – Franck Ribery
Ribery is a right footed player who prefers to play on the left wing, but is equally capable of using both feet effectively. He’s described as a player who is fast, tricky and an excellent dribbler who has great control of the ball at his feet. He’s also known for his energy, skill and precise passing. He currently plays for Bayern Munich in Germany joining in 2008, where he is a fan favourite, but before he played for several clubs before then including Marseille and Lille.
Striker - Miroslav Klose
Klose is not only a goalscorer, his strength and skill enable him to hold up play so his attacking team mates can join the attack. He’s one of the best headers of the ball I’ve ever seen. He’s played 121 times for Germany, scoring 64 goals during that time and scored 120 club goals during the decade for the clubs he’s played for. Klose’s best season by far came in 2005/6 where he won the Bundesliga Top Scorer award with 25 goals, German Footballer of the Year, World Cup Golden Shoe scoring 5 goals and was name in the 2006 World Cup all star team.
Zerforax's specific tactics for this game
CW's side, especially in attack is obviously impressive. However Maicon and Evra are great fullbacks of the 00's to counter the strength in Ribery and Ronaldo on the flanks.
No doubt the midfields would somewhat negate each other with Toure attempting to neutralise Zidane, Viera using his muscle on Alonso to stop him dictating the game and no doubt Mascherano would try to neutralise Scholes. Hopefully the strength of Viera and Toure would prove a problem for Alonso and Mascherano and in turn stifle Zidane.
A key tactic will be to press and put pressure on Mascherano, who is the weakest passer and player on the ball in both midfields.
CW's side is somewhat weaker in defence. Lucio and Hyypia are not the quickest pair and in turn, Drogba's pace along with Robben and Vicente aiding him, would perhaps prove a tough task for them. Imo the weaker position of CW's fullbacks, so if my wingers can pin them back, in turn the fullbacks being able to support would force CW's wingers back too.
To be honest, both teams are similar in many respects and it would be a very close game. The difference imo would be the lesser work rate in CW's side, compared to the strength, height and physical presence in my side.
CW has stated that his tactic would be to have the back 6 (FB, CB and CM) to sit deeper and further back with his front 3/4 all having more attacking freedom - this (imo) will lead to a gap between attack and defence which my team will try to further expose by playing as a large unit - all defend together and attack together to always provide numbers against CW's isolated units.
The core attributes of the team are pace, passing and power.
The midfield triumvirate all have the ability to play on the ball and pick out a pass. Few players are able to compete with the tough tackling and strength of each of Viera and Toure, and when combined together, this midfield will not be dominated by any other team. Scholes adds a huge element of control and extra passing ability to the midfield, which will better link up the attacking trio of Vicente, Robben and Drogba but also add creativity and a joined complete attack. The core of the team will be able to dominate the essential central area of the pitch for control.
The defence all are capable of great defensive displays and each have formed an essential component of hugely successful teams which concede few goals. No nonsense and aggressive, they will be a wall to try and break down. Each will be instructed to hold their defensive positions to retain the shape and stop any counter attacks though at any one time, one of the fullbacks have the licence to join any counterattacks. As the wingers will have more freedom, the fullbacks have a disciplined role to play but with Toure and Viera able to cover gaps at the back, both fullbacks will make important attacking forays into the opposition’s half to add extra options and width.
The wingers have blistering pace with great speed on the ball but and with dribbling skill and technique which will terrify any who stand in their way. Though not always the most hardworking, they will be asked to track back and help their fullbacks to win back the ball before launching forward to attack. Both have the licence to attack the goal or bring others into play.
Drogba spearheads the bunch, his ability in the air and to hold the ball up means he can aid the wingers who can race past him or hold up the ball before bringing the midfield into play. He is instructed to bully the defenders and make himself available when looking to attack or relieve pressure.
Without the ball, the team is instructed to defend slightly deep and control the opposition by keeping them at bay, using the power in the side to win the ball back in key positions, the pace in the flanks can move from defensive positions to offensive positions in a blink of the eye and the midfield will join where necessary, with each able to cover ground quickly, while retain shape and cover. One midfield player will always stay back as an anchor to provide cover but as all three can play box to box, it can vary on the situation and whoever is best placed to attack. The team will play on the counter with pace and power with devastating effect.
With the ball, the passing ability of Scholes, Viera and Toure means there will be control and a great percentage of possession in the middle of the pitch. The wingers will be brought into the game and with attacking fullbacks, should be able to make inroads into wide positions against any team.
A number of key players have great ability to shoot from distance and score wonder goals, meaning teams should be wary of backing off them (Drogba, Robben, Scholes, Maicon). The final nail in the coffin for any side is the ability from set pieces, with wicked delivery and shooting (Scholes, Drogba, Robben), the height in the team, from the defenders (Maicon, Gallas), to forward (Drobga) to midfielders (Viera, Toure), all have enough ability to trouble any team in the air and score vital goals.
Zerforax's Player Bios
Drogba may polarise opinion with his theatrics but they win him and his team cheap free kicks in dangerous positions or relieve pressure. That should not take away from the fact that on his day, Drogba is unplayable with his devastating style of play with pace, power, aerial ability and sheer determination. In the 00’s Drogba has scored over 30 goals in 3 seasons and propelled his side to 3 league titles, 3 FA cups and 2 league cups – his ability to score all important goals in the big games make him an indispensable player to any side. Few defenders are able to cope with his physical strength or his ability to hold to ball up and bring the rest of his team into play.
Robben is known for his dribbling skills, speed, crossing ability and his accurate long-range shot. The flying Dutchman has been a key component of the Dutch national side and many giants in the game such as Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. His speed on the ball makes him a dangerous proposition for any defence and coupled with his ability to cut in from the right flank to devastating effect, he is a player any team should be wary of. Injuries might have hampered his playing time but a fully fit Robben is among the best modern wingers of the game.
Vicente is an old school left winger with outstanding technique, pace and scoring ability. It is no coincidence that Vicente’s best two seasons coincided with Valencia going on to with La Liga in both seasons, above the hugely popular and mighty Real Madrid and Barcelona. In the early 00’s, he was so highly sort after that bids of 36mil euros were rejected from Real Madrid, along with quickly picking up 38 caps for Spain by the time he was 23. His ability to pick a pass, drive to the goal to score, cross or beat his man means at his peak, he had every tool a winger needs to be a thorn in any side. Injuries took their toll on Vicente but for the first half of the 00’s, he was one of the best and most sought after wingers in the game.
Viera’s height, stamina, and physical strength makes him a great midfield general, while his composure and the quality of his passing cemented his position as one of the greatest midfield players to grace the modern game. Integral to Arsenal’s invincible season, and to France’s success on the international stage, Viera is a tough tackler, has finesse in his passing but able to stretch his legs powerfully to cover huge distances making him a great box to box player. He was always able to contribute an important number of goals every season at every level along with assists and important tackles.
Toure’s stature cannot be ignored – tall, powerful, deceptively quick but his learning at Barcelona adds an element of technique on the ball and finesse in his passing ability. Toure is a versatile player who shifts from defensive and offensive positions to dominate the midfield, his stamina making him a dangerous player for the full ninety minutes. He is a cornerstone of the Ivory Coast team, a player who always has a few goals and assists in his game and a massive player who dominates the centre of the pitch. During the 00’s, he played an important role at the base of the Barcelona midfield trio.
The ginger maestro, the one club man and citied by many as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. Praised by the likes of Xavi, Zidane, Bryan Robson, Henry, Fabregas and Viera - all have said that Scholes is one of the finest central midfielders they have ever had the pleasure of playing against, whilst people make fun of his tackling ability, Scholes’ passing was absolutely phenomenal. He is able to control the tempo of the game, playing short passes and making the right ones. Able to pick out a needle from a haystack with his long range passing, it was consistently that good. Scholes had a thunderbolt of a shot to his repertoire as well being able to pop into attacking positions from the midfield. Integral to Man Utd, he won 10 premier leagues, 3 F.A cups and 2 Champions leagues. Its a shame England never utilized him properly because he was that good, as Xavi had said if he was Spanish he would have been rated more highly. His passing, movement and shooting made him a fantastic player.
Evra was originally an attacker, which explains why Evra is able to offer a genuine attacking outlet down the left flank. He is a modern full-back who is renowned for his pace, athleticism, and determination. Despite his noticeably small frame, Evra is also strong in the air. He has been a strong leader for Manchester United side and ever present in the hugely successful side. With no obvious weakness to his game, Evra has been praised as one of the best left backs of the 00’s.
During his time at Inter, he has established himself as a reliable wing-back, solid defensively with an ability of making emphatic runs down the right wing, often setting up goals or scoring himself with his powerful right foot. Displacing a great player such as Javier Zanetti from the right back position is no easy feat but he has proven himself as one of the best wing-backs in the modern game. Once his legs are stretched, few are able to keep up with Maicon’s pace and power. Maicon is a no nonsense customer who’s physical presence is imposed on any attacker down his flank but his tactical nuance should not be understated. He was a key component of the Inter side which won 4 successive Serie A titles and the Champions League.
Nicknamed the 'Berlin Wall' Cannavaro’s raw, dominant style lands him a position as one of the great European defenders. Arguably the greatest defender of the 2000s, Cannavaro is known for his aerial ability, strength and fantastic positioning. The ‘Berlin Wall’ offered a rock solid nature to any defence he graced. So much so that he was awarded the FIFA Ballon D’or in 2006, as well as the FIFA world player of the year award in the same year - making him the only defender to have completed such a feat.
Gallas’ controversial personality off the pitch should not take away from what he achieves on the pitch. He proved himself as a leader for Chelsea and then Arsenal. A fiercely determined player, who only wishes to win, he has speed, power, a great reading of the game to make him a difficult defender to get the better of. He is also able to add goals to the team’s cause, scoring an important handful of goals every season, usually from set pieces. He has been the mainstay central defender for France in the 00’s with 84 appearances in the period and 5 goals.
For the early part of the 00’s, Toldo was the first choice goalkeeper for Fiorentina and Inter Milan, the latter who paid the huge sum of 25million euros (£16.5mil) in 2001 to sign the highly rated safe pair of hands. His most successful period in internationals was helping Italy achieve runners-up status in Euro 2000 after Buffon had suffered a broken hand. A world class keeper in his prime, he was dominate in the air, great reflexes and shot stopping ability, a keeper who can be relied upon to step up if the defence fails. One of the best goalkeepers of the early 00’s.