World XI – Dominic Unwin

Goalkeeper – Jordan Pickford
Gareth Southgate’s decision to leave veteran Joe Hart out of England’s squad paid off after Pickford stood up to claim the No.1 shirt. Despite having only made his England debut in November last year the Everton custodian has had a fine tournament. A steady pair of hands and pulled off a number of big saves, most notably in the penalty shootout against Colombia.

Left Back – Lucas Hernandez
Didn’t win any fans with his antics in France’s first game against the Socceroos but you cannot deny Hernandez was prolific for Les Bleus. Solid defensively and bombed forward on a number of occasions to help set-up French attacks.

Centre Back – Diego Godin
The Atletico Madrid stopper was at the heart of everything good for Uruguay. He expertly marshalled a defence that didn’t concede until the knockout stages.

Centre Back – Raphael Varane
One of the reasons France were so hard to break down. The Real Madrid defender performed with aplomb and rarely put a foot wrong.

Right Back – Josh Risdon
Yes you read that correctly. A bunch of suitable contenders but Risdon played out of his skin over Australia’s three matches. Went into the first game against France having not played since the end of April and stepping up from A-League level. Performed brilliantly and incorrectly had a penalty given against him for a goal-saving tackle on Antoine Griezmann.

Central midfield – N’golo Kante
The remarkable story of this little man continued in Russia as Kante bossed every midfield he set foot in. Had to be substituted early in the final but there is no doubting his ball-recovery abilities were key to France’s defensive solidity.

Central midfield – Paul Pogba
Scored a crucial goal in the final against Croatia to cap off what had been an underwhelming year for Manchester United’s number six. Alongside partner-in-crime N’Golo Kante, Pogba matured into his role and set the template for France’s success.

Central attacking midfield – Luka Modric (C)
Officially the best player at the tournament, Modric was a behemoth for Croatia. Much like Lionel Messi four years ago he helped drag his nation through some tricky play-off ties before they hit a brick wall in the form of France in the final. Likely to be his last World Cup.

 

Left wing – Eden Hazard
A quiet leader for Belgium but easily the best left-sided attacker in Russia. Played a key role in Belgium’s come-from-behind win against Japan in the Round of 16 and was prolific as the Red Devils sent Brazil crashing out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals.

Right wing – Kylian Mbappe
Can’t say much more than has already been said about this remarkable young man. Blistering pace, technical brilliance and a pinch of gamesmanship were all on show as the Paris Saint-Germain winger left an indelible mark on this tournament. His sealing goal in the final meant he joined Pele as the only teenagers ever to score in a World Cup final.

Striker – Harry Kane
Only Harry Kane could have an individually disappointing World Cup and still win the Golden Boot. Started strongly with the winner against Tunisia but faded out of the picture as England concentrated their attack on set-pieces. Still, six goals is nothing to smirk at.

Substitutions
Harry Maguire, Kevin De Bruyne, Daniel Arzani

Manager – Gareth Southgate

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