By Joe Meloni
The stat lines of a few of the world’s best through the first few weeks of the 2010 World Cup may have left a few of the game’s newest fans a little confused. They’re wondering why Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo failed to lead his nation deeper in the tournament with a dazzling set-piece or two. They sat waiting as Spain and Portugal battled in the Round of 16, but they wound up remembering the name Gerard Pique instead as the massive Barcelona defender helped stifle Ronaldo and the entire Portuguese attack. Those opting to watch Argentina clamored with anticipation while Leo Messi left a defender or two in his path only to hit a ball wide or send one sailing into the crowd. It was Messi’s countryman Gonzalo Higuain drawing most of the praise for the Argentines in their run to the Quarterfinals.