Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

World Cup team of the tournament

The players who caught the eye in Russia.

Resurgent England sprung the competition’s major surprise while regimented France marched all the way to the 2018 World Cup final. Here, Press Association Sport selects its team of the tournament.


GK: Hugo Lloris (France)

Tottenham’s goalkeeper has not just solidified France’s defence, he has also captained Les Blues to their first final since their 1998 triumph on home soil.

CB: Raphael Varane (France)

Raphael Varane, right, has helped the France team of Didier Deschamps, left, excel at the World Cup (John Walton/PA)

The Real Madrid defender underscored his importance to France and status as one of the world’s best centre-backs as Didier Deschamps’ side neutralised Belgium in their fine 1-0 semi-final victory.

CB: John Stones (England)

Manchester City’s Rolls Royce defender has realised his rich potential as a cool playmaking centre-back at the heart of England’s attacking renaissance.

CB: Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)

The Tottenham star tied Belgium’s defensive set-up together, at times almost in spite of boss Roberto Martinez’s tactical tinkering.

RWB: Kieran Trippier (England)

The World Cup’s premier dead-ball exponent came of age at Russia 2018, his dead-eye delivery so crucial to the success of Southgate’s men.

DM: N’Golo Kante (France)

The world’s most destructive ball-stealing midfielder completes the work of two men, allowing Les Bleus to stack the top end of the field with attacking weapons.

LWB: Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)

The 22-year-old is unlikely to remain at CSKA Moscow much longer after a lung-busting tournament where his work rate typified hosts Russia’s relentless drive to the quarter-finals.

CM: Luka Modric (Croatia)

Widely lauded as the world’s best central midfielder right now, Modric has had to fit in around a string of galacticos at Real Madrid. For Croatia he is the centrifuge however, the driving force among a nucleus of highly-gifted technicians.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)

Too often cruelly incorrectly deployed either deep or wide by Belgium’s tinkerman boss Martinez, and yet still dragged the Red Devils into the semi-finals. His goal and quarter-final performance against Brazil in itself elevated him above all his team-mates.

CF: Kylian Mbappe (France)

Eyebrows were raised at Paris St Germain’s £166million fee to prise teen starlet Mbappe away from Monaco. Now those quizzical frowns have turned to belated expressions of appreciation. The fleet-footed forward has terrorised defences throughout Russia 2018.

CF: Harry Kane (England, captain)

England’s talisman has the on-field power and the off-field poise to lead any forward line, and any team, anywhere in the world.02

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