Football | July 16, 2018

World Cup: Team of the Tournament

After defeating Croatia 4-2 in the final, France became just the sixth nation to win multiple World Cups, alongside Brazil (5), Italy (4), Germany (4), Argentina (2), and Uruguay (2). But which French players made it into our Team of the Tournament?

Thibaut Courtois – Golden Glove Winner – Clean Sheets (3), MOM (1)

A towering presence in goal, Courtois had to settle for a bronze medal, after his team succumbed to Samuel Umtiti’s header in the semi-final.

Kieran Trippier – Goals (1), Assists (1), MOM (1)

His delivery from set-pieces proved to be England’s biggest weapon in Russia. This was punctuated by a stunning free-kick against Croatia in the semi-final. Also one of the Three Lions’ most creative outlet from open play.

Raphaël Varane – Goals (1)

The outstanding defender at the World Cup. Varane finishes off the season with the two biggest prizes in football, the Champions League and the World Cup. His crucial header helped Les Bleus past Uruguay, but defensively he dominated everything in the air and on the ground.

Samuel Umtiti – Goals (1)

His lapse of concentration in France’s opener gifted Australia a penalty, but he more than made up for that error with the winning goal in France’s toughest game against Belgium. Along with Varane, Umtiti looked unflappable at the heart of the French defence.

Paul Pogba – Goals (1), MOM (1)

The Manchester United midfielder answered his critics with a Man of the Match performance in the World Cup final. Pogba has played a disciplined role throughout the tournament for France and helped instigate counter-attacks with his range of passing.

N’Golo Kanté – MOM (2)

Despite failing to get to grips with Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić in the World Cup final, which ultimately led to him being replaced early in the second half after picking up a yellow card, Kanté had an immense World Cup for France. In 1998, Didier Deschamps was the team’s water carrier, that role is now being fulfilled by the hardworking Chelsea midfielder.

Luka Modrić – Player of the Tournament – Goals (2), Assists (1), MOM (1)

After playing an integral role for the champions of Europe Real Madrid, Modrić was key in Croatia’s run to their first ever final. He may be unlikely to play that decisive pass, or score the winning goal, but the midfield maestro made Croatia tick, and put them in a position to be successful.

Ivan Perišić – Goals (3), Assists (1), MOM (1)

José Mourinho’s failed transfer from last summer, the Inter Milan wide-man showed that he has a physical prowess, an eye for goal with direct play, and a quality of service from the left channel. Perišić followed up his goal and assist semi-final performance with an outstanding equaliser in the final.

Kylian Mbappé – Young Player of the Tournament – Goals (4), MOM (1)

His box-to-box run against Argentina, his flicked back-heel pass to Olivier Giroud in the semi-final, and the first teenager to score in the World Cup final since Pelé in 1958, Mbappé could have easily been named the player of the tournament for his exploits. In a tournament that brings pressure like no other, the 19-year-old played with a joy and freedom that had the world marvelling.

Antoine Griezmann – Goals (4), Assists (2), MOM (1)

The Golden Boot winner at the European Championships in France, Griezmann often failed to live up to the standards he has set himself. Nevertheless, the quality of the Atlético Madrid forward’s set-pieces ensured that he still played a pivotal role in France’s second World Cup win.

He assisted Varane and Umtiti’s crucial goals in Les Bleus’ route to the final, and in the showpiece match, his cross forced Mario Mandžukić to head into his own net, before he coolly slotted away a controversial penalty, which arrived from another one of his dangerous corners.

Eden Hazard – Goals (3), Assists (2), MOM (4)

Uncontainable on the break and deadly in possession, Hazard was one of the few Red Devils to perform against France in their semi-final clash. Notching an impressive four Man of the Match awards, the number 10 led his country to their best ever World Cup finish, and proved himself to be one of the best players on show in Russia.

Subs: Jordan Pickford, Yerry Mina, Ivan Rakitić, Denis Cheryshev, Mario Mandžukić.

More Articles Like This

Next Article