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Our Team of the World Cup

July 17, 2018 10:29 IST

Here's Rediff.com's team of the tournament, folks!

What an entertaining month of football it has been!

This World Cup saw a record number of own goals, penalties and, of course, VAR!

The final was as entertaining as the tournament which saw 6 goals (which included the first own goal in a final, a penalty and VAR!)

Rediff.com's Laxmi Negi picks the best of the best.

 

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris, France

Hugo Lloris

IMAGE: Hugo Lloris had one crazy moment during the final. Happily, it didn't come to haunt the French captain in the end. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Tottenham's goalkeeper didn't have a dream start during the build-up for the World Cup.

But who cares about that. When it mattered the most, the French captain stood tall, especially against Uruguay in the quarters and Belgium in the semi-finals.

 

Centre-back: Lucas Hernandez, France

The Frenchman was solid throughout the tournament.

He was sharp in defence and dangerous going forward. Hernandez registered two assists and proved his worth at left back.

 

Centre-back: Raphael Varane, France

Varane was arguably the best defender at the World Cup.

The Real Madrid centre-back was effective for France from the word go till the final.

He was crucial in the quarter-finals when he scored a crucial goal to beat Uruguay.

He was a rock at the back for Les Bleus when they neutralised Belgium in their 1-0 semi-final victory.

 

Centre-back: Benjamin Pavard, France

The VfB Stuttgart defender scored against Argentina and since then was great at the back. He was creative in the final when needed.

An unknown entity in France, after the World Cup victory he is living his dream.

 

Central midfielder: N'Golo Kante, France

N'Golo Kante

IMAGE: N'Golo Kante has '15 lungs' joked teammate Paul Pogba. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Kante played 90 minutes of every match until the final.

The Chelsea man was the heart and soul of this France squad in the middle and without him this triumph would not have been possible.

This ball-stealing midfielder plays the game with an impressive subtlety.

 

Central midfielder: Luka Modric, Croatia

Luka Modric

IMAGE: Luka Modric with his Golden Ball Award after the 2018 FIFA World Cup final. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The more you say about this midfield maestro, it is not enough.

The artistry of the Golden Ball winner's game is difficult to put into words.

Right now, he is lauded as the world's best central midfielder and his goalscoring showings in the group stage against Argentina and Nigeria were followed up by string-pulling in the knockouts.

Croatia's star man have been a phenomenal leader and rightfully enjoyed one of the great individual tournaments.

 

Attacking midfielder: Philippe Coutinho, Brazil

Philippe Coutinho

IMAGE: Serbia's Nemanja Matic challenges Brazil's Philippe Coutinho. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Brazil was knocked out in the quarter-final against Belgium, but Coutinho was their best player in attack.

The Barcelona midfielder scored his country's first goal of the tournament with a superb strike against Switzerland.

His creativity got them the decisive goal in the win over Costa Rica.

In his five games, he scored twice and set up another two goals and that's why it is hard to forget him.

 

Attacking midfielder: Paul Pogba, France

Paul Pogba

IMAGE: Paul Pogba celebrates with his mother Yeo Pogba. Photograph: Darren Staples//Reuters

What Manchester United could not do with Pogba, France has done.

They got the best out of him. His passing was key to a number of moves throughout the competition.

He was outstanding in the semi-final win over Belgium and brilliant again in the final, where he scored a crucial goal.

 

Left winger: Eden Hazard, Belgium

Eden Hazard

IMAGE: Eden Hazard, tackled by England'S Harry Maguire. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Three goals scored, but just as important was his ability to set up Kevin De Bruyne against Brazil or pull defenders away like on the winning goal against Japan.

That's why the Chelsea star is a worthy runner-up in the Golden Ball.

The Belgian captain was excellent throughout the tournament.

 

Centre forward: Romelu Lukaku, Belgium

Romelu Lukaku

IMAGE: Romelu Lukaku scores against Panama. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

An integral member of a star-studded Belgian attacking unit, Lukaku's speed and power helped Belgium's run to the semi-finals.

With four goals under his belt in the group stages -- even though he didn't find the net in the knockout stages -- Lukaku played a pivotal part in the tournament.

Harry Kane won the Golden Boot with six goals, but for his all-round game, Lukaku has been selected in my team.

 

Right winger: Kylian Mbappe, France

Kylian Mbappe

IMAGE: Kylian Mbappe scores France's fourth goal in the final. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The 19-year-old striker had a World Cup to savour.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward was sensational in the win over Argentina when he scored twice.

He scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the final and is only going to get better from here.

 

Substitutes:

Thibaut Courtois, Belgium

Sime Vrsaljko, Croatia

Ivan Rakitic, Croatia

Diego Godin, Uruguay

Edinson Cavani, Uruguay

Mario Mandzukic, Croatia 

Harry Kane, England

 

Manager: Zlatko Dalic, Croatia

The man who believed and took Croatia to the World Cup final.

Laxmi Negi / Rediff.com