World Cup 2018: Eurosport's Team of the Group Stage
With the group stage of the 2018 World Cup drawing to a conclusion Eurosport have drawn up our team from the first period of the tournament.
We put no rules or limitations in place - just the eleven players in a 4-3-3 formation that we think makes up the team of the tournament thus far.
Without further ado let’s get going.
Goalkeeper – Cho Hyun-woo (South Korea)
Before the tournament started the South Korea keeper was making waves for his haircut, now he’s established as one of the early revelations of the tournament. South Korea may be out but we have no qualms in selecting the 26-year-old Cho as our keeper following his heroics in their famous win over Germany - and he was brilliant in the narrow defeat to Sweden too.
South Korea's goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo celebrates after his teammate South Korea's forward Son Heung-min (unseen) scored a goalGetty Images
Right-back – Kieran Trippier (England)
With former team-mate Kyle Walker moving into centre-back Trippier has excelled as the right wing-back in Gareth Southgate’s 3-5-2 formation. His delivery both from open play and set-pieces has been some of the best in the tournament.
Centre-back – Diego Godin (Uruguay)
This could have easily been a toss-up between Godin or team-mate Jose Gimenez, both have been superb in a defence that is still yet to concede. Gimenez did score the winner against Egypt but Godin has been the heart-beat of this team. It might well be his last World Cup and he’s doing everything to ensure he goes out with a bang.
Centre-back – Andreas Granqvist (Sweden)
It’s an old centre-back pairing but like Godin, Granqvist has been the leader of his side, a Sweden team that have surprised everyone by qualifying above champions Germany. Granqvist has proven himself to be as calm and organised in his box as he is in the opposition's, calmly dispatching two penalties.
Andreas Granqvist (Sweden)Getty Images
Left-back – Ludwig Augustinsson (Sweden)
Sweden are well organised and difficult to break down but when they go forward Augustinsson is one of the players they rely on for impetus along with Emil Forsberg. There was tough competition at left-back in this team but Augustinsson’s complete performance against Mexico gives him the nod.
Centre-mid – Luka Modric (Croatia)
Modric has put all the off-the-field issues surrounding his build-up to the World Cup to one side and is leading his team from the centre of the pitch. The 32-year-old is showing little signs of slowing down and continues to dictate games. He even added a fantastic strike from outside of the box against Argentina.
Centre-mid – Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)
Whilst Neymar has struggled to really get going Coutinho has taken the World Cup by storm thus far. He opened the tournament with that stunner against Switzerland and has been industrious as a central midfielder. His shuttling across the pitch, vision and ability to create something out of nothing is pivotal to Brazil’s chances. As demonstrated with his nice assist for Paulinho against Serbia.
Centre-mid – Juan Quintero (Colombia)
Okay so Quintero hasn’t technically been a central midfielder but with James Rodriguez struggling for fitness he has stepped up into the role of talisman. His left foot is a wand, creating chances, with two assists, and even scoring himself. Colombia like to break quickly with pace so having someone with the calmness and passing vision of Quintero is crucial.
Colombia's midfielder Juan Quintero celebrates after scoring the equalizer during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group H football match between Colombia and Japan at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on June 19, 2018.Getty Images
Striker – Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
Lukaku was rested against England but has still notched four times in his opening two matches. Lukaku’s finishes have been wonderful, a combination of little dinks and precise shots. He’s led the line well and brought the supporting cast into play - an excellent start to the tournament from the Manchester United forward.
Striker – Harry Kane (England)
The Golden Boot leader. Yes Kane has rode his luck a little but no-one means more to this England team than their captain. He’s the player the country looks to and so far he is coping with that pressure without any obvious fatigue. Having sat out the Belgium game he will be raring to go in the knock-out stages.
Striker – Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Yes he missed a penalty but for the first game alone Ronaldo deserves his place in this team. Portugal are a good team but they are not great; Ronaldo is the difference-maker who changes them into genuine contenders. Is anyone really going to bet against the ultimate big-game player as we enter the latter stages?
Here is the team in full.
Would you make any changes? Let us know in the comments!