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15th Jul 2018

JOE’s World Cup team of the tournament

Robert Redmond

The 2018 World Cup has drawn to a close.

It has been a wonderfully entertaining month of football in Russia, finished off with France’s 4-2 win over Croatia in the final on Sunday.

Here’s our team of the tournament:

Thibaut Courtois

There were a few contenders to be the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Jordan Pickford was brilliant for England and, until his howler in the final, Hugo Lloris hadn’t put a foot wrong.

However, Courtois was consistently the best ‘keeper in Russia over the last month. He was particularly brilliant against Brazil in the quarter-finals, making key stops to help Belgium get past the then-favourites for the trophy. No goalkeeper made more saves than Courtois (27).

Kieran Trippier

Trippier was England’s best player in Russia. The Tottenham full-back was a vital attacking outlet throughout the tournament down England’s right-hand side. His free-kick goal in the semi-final against Croatia was excellent.

Diego Godin

The Uruguay captain was fantastic at the tournament. Godin helped the South Americans go through the group stages without conceding a goal. A rock in defence and a true defensive leader.

Raphael Varane

Varane was the best defender at the World Cup and one of the best players on show over the past month. The Real Madrid star was one of the main reasons eventual winners France claimed the trophy.

Lucas Hernandez

The French full-back was solid rather than spectacular throughout the tournament. Hernandez registered two assists and proved worthy of his place ahead of the more attacking Benjamin Mendy.

Paul Pogba

This spot was set to go to N’Golo Kante, who was excellent in Russia, even if he was slightly below his usual best in the final. But it was ultimately too difficult to omit Pogba. The Manchester United midfielder improved as the tournament went on. He was outstanding in the semi-final win over Belgium and brilliant again in the final, where he scored and helped France win their second World Cup.

Luka Modric

The Croatia captain was awarded the Golden Ball for the best player at the tournament, and no-one could begrudge him the accolade. Modric was his country’s key player on their run to the final, the most intelligent midfielder on the pitch in every game. His goal against Argentina was one of the strikes of the tournament.

Philippe Coutinho

It might seem like a long time ago now, but Coutinho was brilliant for Brazil before they were knocked out in the quarter-finals against Belgium. The Barcelona midfielder scored his country’s first goal of the tournament with a sensational strike against Switzerland. He then got the decisive goal in the win over Costa Rica and set up Paulinho with a wonderful pass in the win over Serbia. In his five games, he scored twice and set up another two goals.

Kylian Mbappe

He’s not even 20, but Mbappe is already a World Cup winner and one of the best players on the planet. He was sensational in the win over Argentina, when he scored twice and helped send Lionel Messi home, and got his fourth goal of the tournament in the final. An incredible talent.

Eden Hazard

The Belgian captain was excellent throughout the tournament. Hazard got three goals and two assists in his six games in Russia. He was phenomenal in the win over Brazil, putting in a performance reminiscent of Zinedine Zidane against the same opponents at the World Cup 12 years ago. Even in Belgium’s defeat to France in the semi-finals, Hazard was still the best player on the pitch.

Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku had a very good tournament. He scored four goals in the group stages and even though he didn’t find the net in the knockout stages, his all-round game was still strong. Against Japan, he helped set-up Nacer Chadli’s last-minute winner with a clever dummy. In the quarter-finals, Lukaku played a pivotal part in Kevin De Bruyne goal which sent Belgium into the last-four. He wasn’t as involved in the semi-final tie or the third-place play-off, but Lukaku can still be happy with his displays in Russia.

Harry Kane won the Golden Boot with six goals, but for his all-round displays, Lukaku has been selected in this team at centre-forward.

And here’s the team in full: