rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » FIFA World Cup: Team of the Tournament

FIFA World Cup: Team of the Tournament

July 15, 2018 07:42 IST

Reuters sports writers chose their team of the tournament:

 

Hugo Lloris, France

Hugo Lloris

IMAGE: Hugo Lloris makes a save during a FIFA World Cup game. Photograph: Kevin C Cox/Getty Images

Understated and under-rated for both club and country, goalkeeper Lloris's skills finally got the attention they deserved at this World Cup.

Diving saves at key moments against Uruguay in the quarters and Belgium in the semi-final were crucial in France's march to the final.

 

Sime Vrsaljko, Croatia

Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko challenges England's Raheem Sterling during the FIFA World Cup semi-final. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

IMAGE: Sime Vrsaljko challenges England's Raheem Sterling during the FIFA World Cup semi-final. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Vrsaljko is the epitome of a modern fullback in that he operates not just by defending the right flank, but also as aproto-right winger as well as in midfield.

With Luka Modric playing not far in front of his defence, Vrsaljko has pushedforward and filled in space in the middle of the pitch.

 

Harry Maguire, England

England's Harry Maguire celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Sweden in the quarter-final. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

IMAGE: Harry Maguire celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Sweden in the quarter-final. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Unknown outside England before this tournament, Maguire quickly had fans scrambling to find out more about the 25-year-old Leicester defender.

Solid in defence and always a threat at set pieces, Maguire is the epitome of the new England.

 

Diego Godin, Uruguay

Uruguay's Diego Godin, right, during the quarter-final against France. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

IMAGE: Diego Godin, right, during the quarter-final against France. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Godin's performances in this World Cup belied all the old chestnuts about violent Uruguayan defenders.

Godin committed just five fouls in his five matches, as many as he received.

He was outstanding in marshalling a defence that was one of the best in the entire tournament.

 

Lucas Hernandez, France

Lucas Hernandez in Atletico Madrid colours. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

IMAGE: Lucas Hernandez in Atletico Madrid colours. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Hernandez was another little-known French player who rose to prominence at the World Cup.

The 22-year-old Atletico Madrid defender made his debut for France only in March, but he fitted right in on the left flank.

His positional play -- aided byfrequent spells for his club in central defence -- has been excellent.

 

Paul Pogba, France

Paul Pogba

IMAGE: Paul Pogba celebrates scoring a goal. Photograph: Toru Hanai/Reuters

Pogba often flatters to deceive at the club level, but he has been superb at this World Cup, working off the tireless ball-winner N'Golo Kante.

His rangy runs forward and vision in the middle of the pitch have been key for France, as has his presence at set pieces.

 

Luka Modric, Croatia

Croatia's Luka Modric celebrates after defeating England to reach the World Cup final. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

IMAGE: Luka Modric celebrates after defeating England to reach the World Cup final. Photograph: Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

In a team packed with top talent, Modric is the one Croatian who has consistently lived up to his reputation.

The Rolls Royce of footballers, he glided elegantly through every game, seemingly never tiring and rarely missing a pass.

 

N'Golo Kante, France

N'Golo Kante has '15 lungs' according to France teammate Paul Pogba. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

IMAGE: N'Golo Kante has '15 lungs' according to French team-mate Paul PogbaLuka Modric celebrates after defeating England to reach the World Cup final. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The diminutive Frenchman is finally getting the plaudits he deserves.

Paul Pogba has the haircuts and Kylian Mbappe the headlines, but it is Kante, with his phenomenal work rate in midfield, who has been the key to France's success.

 

Eden Hazard, Belgium

Eden Hazard

IMAGE: Eden Hazard, always at the heart of the action. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Like Modric, Hazard is a top candidate for player of the tournament.

His drives from midfield and dribbles in and around the box were inspirational in taking Belgium to the semi-finals.

Often fouled, he avoided histrionics and can consider himself unlucky not to be playing in Sunday's final.

 

Edinson Cavani, Uruguay

Edinson Cavani celebrates after putting Uruguay ahead in the World Cup Round of 16 match against Portugal. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

IMAGE: Edinson Cavani celebrates after putting Uruguay ahead in the World Cup Round of 16 match against Portugal. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Cavani is used to playing second fiddle to Luis Suarez at the international level and Neymar at their club Paris St Germain, but here in Russia he took centre stage for Uruguay, scoring three goals in four games, including two crackers in their last-16 win over Portugal.

It is perhaps no coincidence that Uruguay's only defeat came when he was absent through injury.

 

Kylian Mbappe, France

Kylian Mbappe

IMAGE: Kylian Mbappe, 19, scored two goals in the Argentina game, becoming the first teenager since Brazilian great Pele in the 1958 final to score two goals in one World Cup match. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Mbappe showed in Russia that it is he and not his Paris St Germain team mate Neymar who is most likely to succeed thirty-somethings Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world over the next decade.

His backheeled pass to put Oliver Giroud through on goal against Belgium was one of the most sublime moments of the entire tournament.

 

Substitutes

Kasper Schmeichel, Denmark

Kieran Trippier, England

Yerry Mina, Colombia

Andreas Granqvist, Sweden

Kevin de Bruyne, Belgium

Denis Cheryshev, Russia

Hirving Lozano, Mexico

Philippe Coutinho, Brazil

 

Coach: Didier Deschamps,. France

Didier Deschamps

IMAGE: France Coach Didier Deschamps. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Deschamps was criticised for leaving out some big names but there was method in his madness.

His side was balanced and played for each other and while France were not always attractive they were always in control.

If France beat Croatia in Moscow the former Olympique de Marseille and Juventus midfielder will join Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer as only the third man to both play for and coach a World Cup-winning side.

Source:
© Copyright 2018 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.