Four players eligible for the Hyundai Best Young Player Award were in action on Day 12 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. FIFA.com reflects on how they performed.
Giovani dos Santos: The Mexico playmaker was his usual lively self during the first half, constantly probing for openings. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez evidently took note and ordered Jorge Fucile to pay closer attention to the 21-year-old thereafter. Dos Santos consequently found space harder to come by in the second half. He was nevertheless arguably El Tri’s brightest attacking player, and finished the match having completed 24 of 32 attempted passes.
Ki Sung-Yueng: The Korea Republic midfielder delivered his best performance to date in a 2-2 draw with Nigeria. Defensively, he put himself about, winning his fair share of 50-50 challenges and covering 10,551 metres. Offensively, he completed ten of 13 attempted long balls and created Lee Jung-Soo’s goal with a pinpoint free-kick. A figure of influence until his 87th-minute withdrawal.
Sotiris Ninis: Introduced as a 54th-minute substitute, the Greece youngster swiftly managed what many of his team-mates had repeatedly failed to do: dispossess Lionel Messi. It went downhill from there for Ninis, however, as he gave away the ball cheaply and struggling to fathom Argentina’s pass-and-move style.
Javier Pastore: With 13 minutes remaining in Argentina’s first-phase campaign, Diego Maradona afforded the Palermo attacking midfielder his FIFA World Cup debut. Pastore was quickly in the thick of things. He completed 17 of 23 attempted passes, one of which helped create his side’s second goal in a 2-0 win over Greece.