This is one that always provokes plenty of debate as a big tournament comes to a close. Who have been the shining lights of the tournament? And which have been the best in their respective positions? We’ve had a bash at putting a team together made up of who we think have been the standout players in Russia so far. It’s been a gruelling process and some positions are much more competitive than others, but we think we’ve picked a team that would give anyone a run for their money! This article was originally published on Kitlocker.com.
Thibault Courtois, Belgium
The Chelsea stopper has been in unbelievable form this summer. After a somewhat iffy season with Chelsea, some questioned whether the 6ft6in giant was really all that. He seems to have put all that to bed, having been incredibly reliable and consistent during Belgium’s run to the Semi-final. Courtois secured his place in our team with his performance in the 2-1 win over Brazil, helping secure the Red Devils’ place in the last four. He narrowly edges out England’s Jordan Pickford, who performed heroics in the Three Lions’ quarter final win over Sweden.
Harry Maguire, England
What more can we say about this man that hasn’t already been said? After being affectionately dubbed “Slabhead” by his teammates, Maguire has become a cult hero back home but he is so much more than that. His place in the England team was far from assured going into the tournament but he is now one of the first names on the team sheet and vital to his country’s hopes of bringing it home. Maguire is as classy as they come when playing the ball out from the back but also a warrior in both penalty areas, winning more aerial duals than any other player in Russia with 33. The cherry on the cake for Slabhead came when he headed in the opener in England’s 2-0 win over Sweden, putting that impressive bonce to very good use.
Raphael Varane, France
The Real Madrid defender seems to have finally come of age this summer after years of talking about his potential. Strong, fast and confident on the ball, Varane has been nothing short of a monster alongside the equally impressive Samuel Umtiti for France. This was showcased during his team’s Semi-final win over Belgium, in which the pair successfully kept the likes of Hazard, Fellaini and an in-form Lukaku relatively quiet. It’s to the credit of them that a Belgium side that has looked so dangerous throughout the tournament, never really looked like scoring, despite dominating the ball during the latter stages of the match.Continue Reading