World Cup 2018 Team of the Tournament

GK: Hugo Lloris, France

France and Tottenham Hotspur’s evergreen captain, Lloris has been his usual self in Russia. With four clean sheets to his name, Lloris has led from the back as he kept France in key games as they were crowned world champions for the second time. His most notable save coming minutes after France took the lead against Uruguay in the quarter finals. Former Southampton defender, Martin Caceres, powered a header goal-bound from an out-swinging freekick. The ball looked destined to hit the back of the net but Lloris had other ideas diving to his right with a strong right hand and palming it away. Fortunately for France, Godin couldn’t divert the ball into the net as he fired the rebound over. Despite an uncharacteristic error leading to Croatia’s second goal in the final, Lloris has shown his class and professionalism throughout the tournament.

RB: Kieran Trippier, England

England’s most unlikely hero. Trippier played his way into England fans’ hearts this summer with professional performances, assists and goals. Over the past couple of seasons, he’d been used in rotation at Spurs; firstly with Kyle Walker and most recently with Serge Aurier. However, after his heroics in Russia, there can only be one man for Pochettino for the coming season. Tripper epitomises the modern fullback and flourished in Gareth Southgates 3-5-2 formation and of course, we will never forget him opening his England account by bending free-kick into the top corner against Croatia; sending England fans into ecstasy.

CB: Samuel Umtiti, France

FC Barcelona’s Umtiti has marshalled the France backline alongside el Clasico rival Raphael Varane. The 24 year-old scored Les Bleus’ winner against Belgium when he flicked a near post header past Thibaut Courtois in the Red Devils’ goal. Umtiti is comfortable on the ball which allowed France to play out from the back to build key passages of play; the Frenchman has averaged 34.7 passes per game with a 89.4% pass accuracy. During the tournament, Umtiti has averaged 5.7 clearances and 0.7 tackles per game.

CB: Jose Gimenez, Uruguay

Atletico Madrid and Uruguay’s Jose Gimenez proved this summer why he’s one of football’s hottest properties. Alongside club teammate Diego Godin, Uruguay boasted one of the World Cup’s meanest centre back partnerships. Gimenez grabbed Uruguay’s opening goal at the tournament as they sneaked a win against Egypt. A free-kick from the right hand side proved too inviting for Gimenez as he powered a header past Mohamed El-Shenawy in the dying seconds of the game. The Uruguayan averaged 2.3 tackles, 3.3 interceptions and 5.4 clearances per match during the tournament as he guided his country into the quarter finals. Had Edinson Cavani been fit and Luis Suarez had his shooting boots on, Uruguay may had reached further in Russia.

LB: Diego Laxalt, Uruguay

You would be forgiven had you never heard of Diego Laxalt prior to the tournament in Russia. The 25 year-old has only featured for mid-table club sides in Serie A during his career but his recent performances for Genoa and his national team has caught the attention of the likes of Chelsea. Laxalt proved to be a key asset for Oscar Tabarez down the left hand side defensively and offensively as he averaged three tackles and one interception per match.

CM: Ngolo Kante, France

France’s 5’6’’ midfield general. Kante’s performances for France at this World Cup comes as no surprise to fans in England following his tireless work rate for Chelsea and Leicester City. Kante has given Pogba the freedom to drive forward and be more affective in opposition’s defensive third whilst providing the back four with key defensive cover. Kante, as ever, has been a consistent performer for France in Russia and Chelsea are reportedly trying to fend of interest from Barcelona for Kante’s services.

CM: Luka Modric, Croatia

Following a victorious Champions League campaign with Real Madrid and captaining Croatia into the final of the World Cup, Luka Modric has asserted himself for the 2018 Ballon D’Or award. He spearheaded his nation to the final in Moscow but he couldn’t guide them over the final hurdle and with two goals and an assist in Russia, the former Tottenham midfielder showed his class throughout the whole tournament. It’s hard to pinpoint his best performance due to his consistent exceptional performances and as a result, Modric was awarded the Golden Ball award.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne transferred his outstanding form during City’s rampant 2017/18 Premier League campaign to the World Cup in Russia. His one goal of the tournament turned out to be the strike which knocked tournament favourites Brazil out in the quarter finals. De Bruyne registered two assist and averaged 3.8 key passes per match whilst being the heartbeat of the Red Devils’ midfield pulling the strings and showcasing his talents on the grandest stage of them all.

RW: Kylian Mbappe, France

Magnifique. It’s hard to believe this exceptional talent is only 19 years-old; his electric pace, close control and smart finishing lit up the World Cup. He outshone Lionel Messi against Argentina in the round of 16 by winning a penalty during the opening exchanges and by taking, then doubling, France’s lead in a four second half minutes. Mbappe arguably won France the World Cup by slotting the ball past Subasic from long distance to pull Les Bleus clear of their Croatian counterparts. PSG now have a task on their hands to fend off interest from Real Madrid.

ST: Harry Kane, England

Russia 2018’s Golden Boot winner; Harry Kane showed why he is one of world best strikers during the Three Lions’ run to the semi-finals. Kane lead by example on the pitch by grabbing two goals against Tunisia, including the last gasp winner, a hat trick against Panama and the opening goal, from the spot, against Colombia. You could argue that Kane wasn’t as effective during the latter stages of the tournament, but a combination of fatigue and being man marked constantly may have contributed to the goals drying up. Like Mbappe, Kane may be in demand from the European champions, Real Madrid, following Ronaldo’s move to Italy.

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

Ronaldo’s performance against Spain during Portugal’s opening game confirmed him as the greatest of all time. He kept his nerve and composure to slam a penalty past David De Gea in the early stages of the match, and then again to strike a stereotypical ‘CR7’ free-kick to level late on and to grab his hat-trick. At 33, Ronaldo looks as if he could continue playing at the highest level forever but unlike at Euro 2016, Ronaldo couldn’t lead Portugal to being champions two years later as they were eliminated to Uruguay in the round of 16.

Bench: Jordan Pickford (England), Benjamin Pavard (France), Harry Maguire (England), Paul Pogba (France), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Ante Rebic (Croatia), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

Sub-edited by Ciaran Wiseman

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