by: Jarone Ashkenazi
The first game of the World Cup kicks off at 1:00 pm PT as the whole world - well not every single person but almost everyone - anxiously waits for host country Brazil to take on the Croatians. Will recent turmoil in Brazil (political protests, airport staff strikes and much more) derail the Brazilians dream run to hold the Cup? Or will the Selecao rise above the chaos and win its sixth trophy?
For those who are not sports or soccer fans, HBO's Game of Thrones has captivated audiences around the world since its first episode "Winter is Coming" on April 11, 2011. After an epic and gory episode last Sunday, this upcoming Sunday will mark the final episode of Season 4. Will Tyrion die after his champion was brutally squashed? (Here is a link to watch the dual between The Mountain and Prince Oberyn Martell). What is going to happen to Jon Snow when he goes north of the wall to meet Mance Rayder?
Given the two big events this week, I thought to combine the two and pick from the main characters of Season 4 and pick the best Starting XI under soccer's 4-2-3-1 format.
For those not familiar with the 4-2-3-1 format: there are 4 defenders, 2 defensive midfielders, 3 attacking midfielders and 1 forward (and obviously a goalie as well). The 2 defensive midfielders in front of the 4 defenders (2 full-backs and 2 central defenders) give support to the defense, while one player is more defensive minded helping breaking up opposition attacks and the other is more of a play maker and link between the defense and the offense. The 3 attacking midfielders provide most of the creativity for the team. The central creative force is the man in the middle playing off of the main striker. And last but not least, there is the striker who needs to be a clinical finisher.
Goalie qualities: good hands, last line of defense, commands his penalty box
Goalie: Tywin Lannister - Tywin is Hand of the King, second in command, and patriarch of the Lannister family, the most powerful family in Game of Thrones. He has ultimate control over the Realm and no one dares to cross his (goal)line. Tywin was picked as my goalkeeper because any team would want him as the last line of defense to repel any attackers.
Central Defender qualities: strength, concentration, repel opposition attacks, tall
Left-Center Defender: Brienne of Tarth - Brienne is tall, strong, loyal and unyielding fighter that lives her life serving others. Brienne began as a knight in Renly Baratheon's Rainbow Guard and then pledged an oath to Catelyn Stark to deliver Jamie Lannister to Kings Landing in exchange for her daughters. Brienne was chosen as my left-center defender as she is a strong, tall, confident and un-afraid.
Right-Center Defender: The Hound (Sandor Clegane) - The Hound is a huge, strong, loyal and armor wearing warrior. Sandor first served as King Joffrey's bodyguard, then was named to the Kingsguard, and now travels with Arya Stark in order to trade her for a hefty reward. The Hound is my other center-back (paired next to Arya) as he is a menace to anyone that comes his way and is loyal to whomever he defends.
Full-back qualities: defend oppositions wingers, strong tackler, pace, power, good crosser
Right Full-back: Grey Worm - Grey Worm is a young, skilled, ruthless, quick soldier and captain of the Unsullied. He is one of Daenerys' personal protectors that often leads stealthy attacks. Grey Worm is my right full-back as he is a quick, smart and doesn't back down from any opposition and will support Daenerys in all of her attacks.
Left Full-back: Arya Stark - Arya is a left-handed, fiery, quick young girl who is interested in fighting and exploring. Thanks to half-brother Jon Snow, her sword 'Needle' proves to help her in defending her life and in killing those on her list she says ritually before sleeping. Arya is my right full-back paired next to The Hound (as they have built a strong bond in Season 4) as she is a ruthless young, fast Water Dancer that is keen to go on the attack.
Defensive Midfielder qualities: tackling, distribution, control under pressure, makes his mark felt on the game, good decision maker
Left-Defensive Midfielder: Ramsay Bolton - Ramsay is a cruel, wild and savage man who takes delight in torturing others. He is the bastard son to Roose Bolton who tortures Theon Greyjoy and turns him into a puppet named Reek; Ramsay eventually earns his fathers' respect and family name by taking Moat Cailin. Ramsay is my defensive-minded defensive midfielder as he will do all the dirty work without needing a pat on the back.
Right-Defensive Midfielder: Littlefinger (Petyr Baelish) - Littlefinger is a smart, power-hungry, controlling and ambitious man who came from nothing and is now a extremely powerful character. Recently, Littlefinger killed his wife Lysa Arryn and starts falling for Sansa Stark constantly trying to amass power. Littlefinger is my attacking-minded defensive-midfielder as he always is in control of the Game of Thrones and is decisive and tactical with his advances.
Attacking Midfielder qualities: play-makers, speed, good decision maker, attacking instinct
Left-Attacking Midfielder: Jamie Lannister - Jaime is an arrogant, cunning, born warrior who chooses to follow a course of action always to its conclusion. Jamie is the eldest Lannister, member of the Kingsgaurd and currently lost his right hand while he was being returned to Kings Landing by Brienne. Jamie is my attacking left midfielder as he is now left-handed and always is up for attacking.
Center-Attacking Midfielder: Tyrion Lannister - Tyrion is a smart, shrewd, cunning, calculated and brave little man (he is a dwarf). Tyrion became Hand of the King in his father's absence - and did a really good job controlling the Realm - but now is convicted of killing his nephew King Joffrey. Tyrion is my center-attacking midfielder due to his smarts, decision making and surprising bravery.
Right-Attacking Midfielder: Daenerys Targaryen - Daenerys is a young, beautiful, independent, and just leader. After being in exile she rose to be Khal Drogo's wife and now she is leader of the Unsullied, Queen of the Andals and has three dragons. Daenerys is my right-attacking midfielder as she is backed up by Grey Worm on the right-wing and is a helpful, caring and assist-minded leader who can summon her three dragons to help attack.
Striker qualities: strong, physical, killer instinct, finisher
Striker: Jon Snow - Jon is a strong, brave, quick-thinking, resourceful, perceptive leader who is a gifted swordsman. Jon is the bastard son to now deceased Lord Eddard Stark, who was sent to the Nights Watch. After a foray north of the wall, Jon returned and became leader defending currently against Mance Rayder's advances. Jon is my striker as he is strong, possesses leadership qualities and is a born finisher.
Well that is my starting XI for the Game of Thrones roster....just a little bit more than an hour left until kickoff!