2018 Soccer World Cup Team of the Tournament
Luka Modric (Getty Images)
Cape Town - After a thrilling World Cup filled with drama and upsets Sport24 chooses its team of the tournament at Russia 2018.
Danijel Subasic played no small part in Croatia's path to the final and was the hero on two occasions in a penalty shoot-out against Denmark and Russia. He became only the second goalkeeper in World Cup history to save four or more spot-kicks.
If Belgium had been able to field the suspended Meunier for their semi-final against France, the outcome might have been different, as France's players admitted themselves. If proof was needed, the Paris Saint-Germain attacking full-back scored in Belgium's victory against England in the third-place playoff.
Varane came to the World Cup having just won his fourth Champions League medal with Real Madrid. Possibly the outstanding defender during the tournament, he enhanced his reputation with solidity at the heart of the France defence. He registered more clearances than anyone and helped his team keep clean sheets against Uruguay and Belgium.
The young English defender enhanced his reputation at the tournament by putting in brave performances at the heart of Gareth Southgate's defence. He showed his ability on the ball and marshalled his defence well from the back. His only blemish was letting in Mario Mandzukic to score Croatia's winner in their semi-final defeat.
*Vincent Kompany has to receive a mention after showing that, when fit, he is one of the best defenders around. Early injuries counted against him.
The left-back personified Croatia's character in the journey to the World Cup final by putting in tireless displays down the left flank. He is one of the unsung heroes of the tournament.
The Barcelona man twice showed nerves of steel to score the decisive penalty in shoot-out wins over Denmark and Russia. Alongside Luka Modric, Rakitic ensured that Croatia boasted the best central midfield duo of the tournament. Rakitic's ability to support and allow Modric to flourish has not received enough plaudits.
Kevin De Bruyne
The Manchester City star really does punish teams when he is in the mood and he put in one of the performances of the tournament against Brazil. He ran the show in the first-half and scored a screamer to double his side's lead. The midfielder's combination play with Eden Hazard has been on par with Modric/Rakitic as one of the best combinations at the World Cup.
The fact that many were tipping Modric to claim the Ballon d'Or if Croatia lifted the World Cup says enough about his performances. He picked up the Golden Ball as the Player of the Tournament to go along with his three Man of the Match awards. Croatia's captain has led from the front and is the perfect example of how a talisman should inspire a team.
Mbappe, just 19, scored twice against Argentina to overshadow Lionel Messi and announce his arrival as a future superstar. His goal in the final was the cherry on the cake and the Paris Saint-Germain forward received the tournament's young player of the year award.
Hazard proved in Belgium's thrilling last-16 win over Japan and then the quarter-final victory against Brazil that he can unlock defences. It says it all that his performances at the World Cup could well earn him a move to Real Madrid to replace Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kane's name was booed when he was announced as the Golden Boot winner after the final but it is no easy feat finishing a World Cup tournament as the top scorer. Critics say he scored too many from the penalty spot and then one from a deflection that he knew little about. But those penalties still have to be put away and Kane converted them in pressure situations.