The World Cup Hipster XI

GK: Fernando Muslera (URY)

Muslera is an incredibly gifted technical goalkeeper and has built up a reputation for making stunning reaction saves. This tournament places him in the shop window and it’s about time that he left Turkey.

LB: Ludwig Augustinsson (SWE)
Sweden have formed a reputation of having an organised and resilient defence, but in the form of Augustinsson they’re handed a fantastic attacking outlet with rapid acceleration and a dangerous delivery.

CB: Fabian Schar (SWI)
The 26-year-old centre-back has proven to be an incredible signing for Deportivo La Coruna. He’s added steel to a defence which used to be shaky, showing himself to be extremely calculated in tackling, interceptions and cross-field passes.

CB: Yerry Mina (COL)
The 23-year-old may be out of favour at Barca but this is no insult to his ability. He was originally a midfielder at 18, hence his technical qualities, but due to his monstrous physique and defending intelligence moved to centre-back.

El colombiano Yerry Mina se estrenó con el Barcelona y lo festejó con este baile

RB: Alvaro Odriozola (ESP)
This winger turned wing-back has been a revelation for Real Sociedad. He’s one of the fittest wing-backs in the game, boasts lightning pace and could prove to be a fantastic option off the bench for Spain, who seriously lack natural width.

DM: Leander Dendoncker (BEL)
Nainggolan has relationship issues with Martinez, Fellaini’s not up to scratch and Witsel’s plying his trade in China. Dendoncker could form a superb partnership alongside Moussa Dembele; he’s exceptional defensively, stands at 6ft 2in and has a glorious passing range.

CM: Hakim Ziyech (MOR)
He’s an absolute joy to watch for Ajax and has scored seven goals in 13 appearances for his country. He’s an elegant dribbler, possesses a wand of a left-foot and finds pockets of space with ease.

Fenerbahçe istedi Ajax’ı seçti!

AM: Emil Forsberg (SWE)
Following Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s retirement from international duty, Sweden have adopted a new style and Forsberg is right at the heart of it. He’s smooth on the turn, classy with the ball at his feet and has a killer final ball.

RW: Hirving Lozano (MEX)
Whilst many will be placing the hopes of a fine tournament for Mexico on Chicharito, Lozano will be the man tasked with creating his chances. He’s a direct runner who flourishes playing close to the centre-forward.

Evita el Tricolor caer en “honduras” en el Estadio Azteca (Video)

LW: Pione Sisto (DEN)
The Danish international is currently plying his trade for Celta Vigo, but tore Southampton and Manchester Utd apart for FC Midjytland. He’s mobile, loves to run at defenders and thrives off getting in behind. Sadio Mane-esque.

ST: Timo Werner (GER)
Werner’s made quite a name for himself in the Bundesliga over the past two years, scoring 31 goals in 55 appearances. But filling the boots of Gomez and Klose for Germany is one hell of a challenge. I think he’s up to it.

Manager: Janne Andersson
Life after Zlatan should have been tough. But Andersson’s created an extremely hardworking and disciplined side who play to their strengths.

 

BEST KITS:
I’m getting serious 1994 Carlos Valderrama vibes from this glorious new Colombia strip. It’s a beautiful modern kit with a retro twist which will be beaten by few others.

 

But as for the newly released Nigeria kit, have you ever seen a jersey with such stunning undeniable beauty before? I think it’s safe to say that I’ve just found my second team…

BEST FACIAL HAIR:
Mile Jedinak. The Australian midfielder’s facial hair reflects his physical stature; broad, robust and rigid. The former Crystal Palace captain has been dragged into the squad for experience and knowhow which is perfectly illustrated by the slight tints of grey shown in his beard.

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THE DARK HORSE:
José Pékerman’s Colombia at 50/1. They’ve got a strong centre-back pairing with with Mina and Sanchez, Ospina between the sticks and an electric frontline containing Rodriguez, Cuardado, Izquierdo and Falcao. Poland are the toughest team in their group.

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