We’re working hard to put the finishing touches on our Fall line this month, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make time for a little World Cup. Or a lot of World Cup, if we’re lucky. We noticed that unlike most sports where 6’ 2” is considered undersized, the best soccer players in the world are not always really tall guys. In fact, we thought, you could probably put together a team of under 5’ 9” guys that could beat any team in the World Cup.
So that’s what we did. Say hello to the 2014 Jax Everett All-Stars:
The Front Three
Lionel Messi, Argentina, 5’ 7”: Arguably the best player on the planet today, Messi has a highlight reel unmatched by anyone at any height: six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, three European Golden Shoes and four consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Ors. As captain of the Argentinean national team and holder of more records than you can count, La Pulga (Messi) earns our vote as the captain of the Jax Everett All-Stars.
Sergio Agüero, Argentina, 5’ 8”: Breaking Maradona’s record as the youngest player to debut in the Argentine Primera Division at 15 years and 35 days, Agüero has triumphed at every level of the game since, winning the FIFA U-20 World Cup with Argentina in 2005 and 2007, scoring two goals in the semi-final win of Argentina’s win against rival Brazil during their gold-medal run at the Beijing Olympics, and competing for Argentina in both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2011 Copa América.
Neymar, Brazil, 5’ 9”: Neymar is exploding with popularity and for good reason. His style and talent has been compared to that of the Brazilian legend, Pele. He was named the South American Footballer of the Year in 2011 and 2012. In the 2013 Confederations Cup, Neymar scored Brazil’s second goal in the 3-0 trump over Spain. Though his is young, he shows true promise in this year’s FIFA Club World Cup. Neymar will be representing his home team of Brazil and proudly wearing #10 in this year’s competition.
Xavi, Spain, 5’ 7”: Xavi has been a fixture for Barcelona since joining their youth ranks at age 11, becoming one of the greatest center midfielders of all time in the process. Now 34, he’s played 700 matches, scored 82 goals and made more than 180 assists for over 50 players. In that time he’s led Barcelona to a number of titles, including seven La Ligas, three UEFA Champions Leagues and two FIFA Club World Cups. He also led the national squad to victory at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Expect this defending champion to defend his crown with style.
David Silva, Spain, 5’ 8”: Nicknamed, “Merlin” by his teammates, Silva has uncanny passing abilities and wicked possession-retaining skills. As a Spanish International player since 20, Silva has been apart of many winning squads, including the Spanish 2010 FIFA World Cup Championship team. In addition to being on teams that have won the FA Cup, Football League Cup and Premier League; Silva has also scored 20 goals in international matches throughout his career playing for Spain. Silva is expected to bring the heat in this year’s World Cup and be a key component his team will rely on.
Pedro, Spain, 5’ 7”: Another member of the defending World Cup and UEFA Euro champions, Pedro is a skillful, two-footed forward who can play either side of the pitch while slaying defenders with blazing speed and a sharp eye for the goal. A key player for FC Barcelona, he is the first player in history to score in six different competitions in a single season.
Ezequiel Lavezzi, Argentina, 5’ 8”: Renown for his speed, quick cuts and lethal finishing skills, Lavezzi first made his impact for the national team by scoring two goals during their 2008 Olympic gold-medal run. After missing the cut for Argentina’s 2010 World Cup team, he’s now a fixture of the squad, having appeared in eight of Argentina’s 2014 qualifying matches while scoring three goals in the process.
Eden Hazard, Belgium, 5’ 8”: Known for his fearless strike, creativity and speed, Chelsea’s star midfielder, Hazard will bring immense talent to the World Cup. With the ability to breeze past opposing players, Hazard is a defender’s nightmare. In what some claim was his best performance ever, Hazard led his team in a game-clinching victory of 4-3 over Sunderland in December of 2013. In April of this year, he won the PFA Young Player of the Year award and voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year. Don’t look past this guy, he can easily change the game with a dribble or swift turn of pace.
Dani Alves, Brazil, 5’ 8”: An indispensable part of Barcelona’s dominating run, Alves has helped the club win multiple titles, including the Spanish Super Cup twice, the European Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, two league titles, and a UEFA Champions League title. While having battled for playing time on the national team with the legendary Maicon, Alves’ drive, energy and effectiveness should secure his position as the first-choice starter for this World Cup.
Philipp Lahm, Germany, 5’ 7”: Long considered one of the finest players on the national stage thanks to his composure and ability to read the game (not to mention his vicious tackling ability), Lahm is perhaps the most cerebral player in the tournament. Nicknamed the “Magic Dwarf,” he regularly towers above other offenses with an unyielding will to dominate the ball and his opponent.
Javier Mascherano, Argentina, 5’ 9”: A cornerstone of Argentina’s dominant defense, this is Mascherano’s third consecutive World Cup. Only the second Argentine sportsman ever to win two Olympic gold medals (at Athens and Beijing), he has also won La Liga twice and the UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup once each, among many other honors.
Jorge Campos, Mexico, 5’ 8”: Keepers tend to be tall, so we had to jump in our pretend time machine to fully staff our pretend soccer team. One of the most notable Mexican players in the 90s, Campos was known for his tremendous leaping, speed and acrobatic style. He was also an effective striker; at times, he would start in goal and transfer upfield later in the match. His trademark, self-designed bright kits contributed to his popularity; truly, this is a man who belongs on our team.
Alejandro Sabella, Argentina, 5’ 7”: A plain talker and skilled manager, Sabella is known for his attention to detail and the ability to say precisely what’s required in any given situation. As a player he made his name through technique and brains over brawn, an approach he follows with his team today. As a result, Argentina qualified for the World Cup with the best attacking record in their group and second stingiest defense.
Who’d we miss? Who would you bench?