He was named after one of England's greatest goalscorers but it is at the other end of the field that Gary Medel is forcing observers of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ to sit up and take notice. The Chile defender has posted two performances of such skill and consistency that he has raced to the top of the Castrol Index.
Chile have taken six points from a possible six and the impact they are making in their first FIFA World Cup since 1998 is underlined by the presence of three of their team in the top six of the Castrol Index, an innovative system which uses the latest technology to objectively analyse and rank player performances.
Before arriving in South Africa, Medel, who is still just 22, had already put down a marker as one of South America's burgeoning talents, but his claims to fame have now reached a far wider audience. He was named at birth after Gary Lineker but his drive and tireless running as a wingback or holding midfielder for his club Boca Juniors make him better known by the nickname ‘El Pitbull’.
However, it is as a central defender that he has shone at South Africa 2010, showing a maturity beyond his years and working well in tandem with Waldo Ponce, who sits just behind him in second in the Castrol Index. Ponce was another Chile player to maintain his standards as Marcelo Bielsa's team followed up an impressive performance against Honduras with another narrow victory over Switzerland. Castrol Performance Analysts were impressed with a defensive group that has still to concede a goal and which has allowed only three long-range shots on target in the tournament so far.
Carlos Carmona, a veteran of two FIFA U-20 World Cup tournaments - Netherlands 2005 and Canada 2007 - has also excelled for Chile, covering the hard yards in a midfield department known for their tireless work-rate and energy.
South American players occupy the leading four positions, emphasising the impact made by the continent's representatives at South Africa 2010. Paraguay's Antolin Alcaraz benefitted from another solid defensive performance against Slovakia in the second round of games to cement the good impression he made against Italy.
The reigning world champions have struggled to show anything like the form that carried them to the winners' rostrum four years ago, but Gianluca Zambrotta has played himself into contention for the Castrol Index pole position with some outstanding play at both ends. With his attacking forays from right-back, Zambrotta has caught the eye with some impressive passing and also his attempts on goal. Castrol Performance Analysts have rated highly his contribution to a back line that in their last fixture allowed New Zealand just one shot on target - albeit one that resulted in a goal.
Zambrotta's rating came as no surprise to Castrol global ambassador Arsene Wenger, who said of the AC Milan star: "He is the most offensive defender Italy have and maybe their most complete defender as well. He is a counter-attacking full back and a big fighter who could have an important role to play in the tournament."
Strikers step up
Although defensive players still dominate the Castrol Index, the second round of matches have been notable for the determination of the attacking and creative players to show what they can do after an indifferent start to South Africa 2010.
Scoring honours went to Gonzalo Higuain, with the first hat-trick in the competition as Argentina romped to a 4-1 victory over Korea Republic. It enabled him to make a considerable forward move in the Castrol Index, leaping above team-mate Gabriel Heinze, who was the stand-out performer in the first round of matches.
FIFA.com will be publishing the latest Castrol Index after every round of matches here at South Africa 2010, and in the meantime you can read more statisitical analysis and delve deeper into this unique ranking system by following the links on the right.