With the World Cup group stage now completed we compile a squad of the best 15 performers over the three matches and it doesn’t disappoint. From Szczesny breaking records, youngsters like Gakpo excelling and the usual Messi and Mbappe. This team has something for everyone.
Wojciech Szczesny - GK - 86 > 90 OVR
Ithas been a low-scoring tournament in general so far, with a few exceptions. This results in multiple keepers being candidates for this spot but Szczesny is the only correct answer for me. The Polish stopper saved a penalty in two separate matches, making him the first in World Cup history to do so, while also making an astounding 20 saves over the three games. Beyond an easy choice.
Achraf Hakimi - RB - 84 > 88 OVR
On paper Group F looked like Belgium and Croatia would progress but Morocco had other ideas. The African nation seriously impressed throughout, beating both Canada and Belgium while drawing 0-0 with Croatia to top the group. Defenders in general are difficult to predict but with an assist, only one goal conceded and a MOTM award, Hakimi seems to be a strong shout.
Harry Maguire - CB - 81 > 87 OVR
Domestically Maguire is practically a laughing stock among both United and opposing fans but when he puts on an England shirt his performances are often sublime. England did concede twice against Iran but then two strong defensive performances against both USA and Wales resulted in two clean sheets. Maguire has stood out showing exactly why he is on this side.
Theo Hernandez - LB - 85 > 89 OVR
I have mainly kept to one per nation but there are a couple of occasions on which that was difficult to keep to, France being one of them. Theo Hernandez started the WC campaign on the bench but an injury to his brother, Lucas Hernandez meant he got the gametime he probably deserved. Providing assists in two separate matches Theo quickly stood out showing why he is so highly rated.
Christian Pulisic - LW - 82 > 88 OVR
Outside of England, Group B was a tight affair with low-scoring matches concluding every encounter. Pulisic was the main architect for USA’s offence, scoring one and assisting the other of their two goals. Not only that but he received two MOTM awards, including from the 0-0 draw with England.
Luka Modric - CM - 88 > 92 OVR
I have not taken many punts for this side but Modric is one of them. Although the Croatian has no attacking returns he was named MOTM in both Croatian 0-0 draws. Anyone with two MOTM awards from three games should be featured in these for me thus we have Modric.
Casemiro - CDM - 88 > 93 OVR
It’s crazy to think that three of the fifteen featuring in this prediction play domestically for Manchester United, suggesting the talent is there but something is just not clicking for them as a side. Brazil topped their group as expected despite a final-day loss to Cameroon, which they did rest for. Casemiro impressed during both their wins while also scoring the late winner against Switzerland.
Bruno Fernandes - CAM - 86 > 89 OVR
Although Portugal ended up losing to South Korea during their final group stage game they still ended up topping group H. Fernandes was rested for the final fixture but the United man still did more than enough to feature here. Assisting twice during the opener before then scoring twice in the second.
Kylian Mbappe - LM - 91 > 94 OVR
It’s difficult to comprehend that Mbappe is still only 23 years old. Having scored four in his previous WC appearance and now three so far in this one he is already climbing the all-time scoring ranks. The French star is likely to surpass Klose’s record at his current rate and walks into this TOTGS with three goals and one assist. All while playing out wide too.
Cody Gakpo - ST - 83 > 89 OVR
The Netherlands were the clear favourite for their group and they didn’t disappoint with the only points dropped being during a 1-1 draw with Ecuador. Goals were an issue though with the Dutch struggling in the final third. Gakpo was their saviour, opening the score in all three matches. Potentially making it Gakpo’sfifth special of the year already.
Lionel Messi - ST - 91 > 94 OVR
After an early scare during Argentina’s first fixture, a 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia, they made qualification relatively routine. Although it has not been his finest international competition Messi is still set to feature in this side after scoring twice and assisting another from the three.
Ritsu Doan - RM - 77 > 86 OVR
Group E was the most entertaining group of the tournament with surprises occurring left right and centre. Japan managed to top the group, beating both Spain and Germany despite losing to Costa Rica. I can’t see a scenario in which Japan wouldn’t feature on this side but the decision is a difficult one. I have punted Doan who scored in both shock victories off the bench.
Matthew Leckie - RW - 71 > 85 OVR
Another side I couldn’t ignore was Australia. Everyone expected them to struggle in a group of France, Tunisia and Denmark and after a convincing 4-1 loss to France that seemed to be confirmed. Beating both Tunisia and Denmark they shocked the world to qualify. Leckie was heavily involved in both wins, scoring in one and assisting in the other making him the likely candidate here.
Enner Valencia - ST - 75 > 87 OVR
I largely opted against including players from sides which failed to progress to the knockouts. The one exception being Enner Valencia. Ecuador were slightly unfortunate to be eliminated with four points. Valencia was their main goal threat, scoring three of their four goals.
Alvaro Morata - ST - 80 > 88 OVR
Spain’s 7-0 opening match against Costa Rica was a tad misleading, having struggled against both Germany and Japan after that match. Due to the opener, there are several players you could look at for this side. Outside of it however there is only one and that is Morata. Having scored in all three matches the Spaniard is the sensible option here.