The Best XI Players at the 2018 World Cup?

DAN’s Last World Cup diary by Dan Smith

After a month of following the 2018 World Cup here are the men who impressed me in Russia….

This is my team of the tournament. Tell me yours in the comments

Subasic ( gk)- Croatia/Monoco
The endearing thing about Croatia’s run to the final is how many times they could have realistically been eliminated. You could go all the way back to their qualifying campaign which was so bad they sacked their manager, having had to go through the back doors in the play offs, luckily drawing a poor Greece team. Any side that gets to a final thanks to two penalty shoot out successes, plus conceding only once in their group, their keeper deserves credit.

Yerry Mina (cb) – Colombia
One of the themes of this competition has been the goal scoring defender, especially from set pieces. All three of Mina’s headers were crucial. He gave his country the lead against Poland, sealed qualification in the win over Senegal and was responsible for the England game going to penalties. While the South American’s lost some friends with their physical approach, Mina perhaps had to do that due to a lack of protection.

Diego Godin ( cb) – Uruguay/ Atletico Madrid
There was something romantic about watching Uruguay. In an era where everyone bases their defenders on who’s confident with the ball at their feet and can start attacks, the South Americans have two centre backs who love to ……. Defend. Godin is passionate about the art of defending, getting his head to things and throwing his body in front of shots. His country benefit from a partnership developed weekly at Atletico Madrid, the only unit not to concede a goal in the group stages

Raphael Varane (cb) -France /Real Madrid
France have so many attacking options which causes debate, it often gets forgotten that they didn’t even take their first choice defence to Russia. While Varane has had a huge reputation for years, many doubted he had the mentality to lead the team without an experienced partner. Clean sheets against Uruguay and Belgium were huge.

Trippier( Rb) – England/ Spurs
Hi reputation grew in Russia. His delivery from corners and free kicks were deadly, crucial when you consider that 80 percent of three lions goals came from set pieces. This was a competition which showed that if you are organised from dead ball situations you can go far.

Mbappe (ls) -France/PSG
To put into perspective the impact he made in Russia, the only other teenager to score in a World Cup Final was a certain Pele. He produced the best individual performance against Argentina. He didn’t shine in every game but he is perhaps too young to expect consistency. He could play on the left hand side of this eleven, as his defensive discipline is underrated.

Kante (cm ) – France/Chelsea
Won’t get the headlines that his teamates will get but in many ways the last month sums up his career perfectly. Always reliable, does the simple things well before giving the ball to the more technically gifted individuals. Wherever it was the French winning in second gear, playing for a 0-0 against Denmark or defending 1-0 wins in the latter stages, Kante was their most consistent performer.

Rakitic (cm) – Croatia/Barcelona
Unlike other sides, Croatia found the right balence with everyone in their midfield knowing their jobs. The ongoing theory was that this ageing squad would tire, especially as they were forced to play three lots of extra time. This proved to be a myth unfounded. They simply used their technical skills to keep the ball better then anyone else meaning if they were exhausted you couldn’t tell.

Modric (cm ) – Croatia / Real Madrid
For years the poster boy of Croatian football this was Modric’s finest hour
He didn’t have to prove he was technically great on the ball, the universe already knew that. This was the competition where he used his footballing brain to the maximum. When he got physically tired he used all of his experience to keep possession with a range of passes. He was rightfully emotional to win the golden ball as he perhaps realises that such a small nation might never reach these levels again.

Lukaku (cf) – Belgium/Man United
Contributed so much more to his team then just four goals. More then any other striker he played in a way to help get the best out of others. For years now Belgium have had a golden generation but Martinez seemed to find a balance with individual talent working together for the sake of the team.

Kane (cf)- England/Spurs
Felt I had to pick him as he finished top scorer. He has to be considered the most fortunate golden boot win ever. Half of his goals were penalties and he seemed to tire in the knockout stages. Nonetheless there are other strikers who didn’t make the most out of facing limited opposition.

Dan Smith


  1. Vishal says:

    Pavard Varane Godin Vertongen
    Modric Pogba
    Mbappe Griezmann Hazard

  2. Ayuskol says:

    You stole my list, except for Kane which I’m trying hard as well to replace… Good list

  3. Nayr says:

    vsarlkjo deserves to be in that team.

    1. Thomo says:

      Defo a head of trippier

  4. Dan says:

    Another article that is non related to arsenal matters please stop publishing these world cup pieces it is finished no one is interested anymore!!

    1. Innit says:

      Who the hell are YOU to say “NO ONE is interested anymore ” That’s complete BS. Don’t speak for me!
      Explain how “NO ONE ” is interested when plenty of people write long comments on the articles. All the people who comment on the articles wouldn’t comment if they weren’t interested. I am interested and many are too.

      We are in the summer. There is not much to write about Arsenal other than rumours. The World Cup is the biggest football tournament in the world. Just because YOU don’t like it doesn’t mean everybody else shares your opinion

      1. jon fox says:

        I am in the opposite camp from you. I am also amazed at how little you know or seem even to care about OTHER Arsenal matters than mere in /out rumours or actual transfers. How narrow is your perception of all that Arsenal, was, is , and will be about. Had you much Arsenal experience before Wenger(which , of course, I cannot KNOW you have not) BUT seriouly doubt that you can have, as you think so narrowly on Arsenal matters , YOU WOULD EASILY RECOGNISE THERE ARE MANY OTHER INTERESTING ARSENAL TOPICS , EVEN AT THIS TIME OF HIGH SUMMER! Widen your mind. This IS an ARSENAL SITE, not a world cup one; the competition IS over and we have had endless , mostly very similar, articles on England / world cup already. In God’s name, DO PLEASE KEEP TO THIS SITES SUBJECT!

        1. Midkemma says:

          “care about OTHER Arsenal matters than mere in /out rumours or actual transfers.”

          It does get surprising doesn’t it Jon.

          I get excited thinking about the youth working with the adults, no phones and how that can help our team. I’ve watched training vids and had a good old lol at Auba having to do push ups… but hey, Martinez looks sharp. Think he could give Emery a bit of a headache, fingers crossed at least lol 😛

          I also agree with the part about keeping to the sites subject. I am an Arsenal supporter, I would happily kick kane in his ‘soccerballs’ so last thing I want to do is read how he is one of the CF of the tourny. He is a choker, spuds are a bunch of chokers and the last thing I want to read about an an Arsenal site is stuff about spud players.

          How many cup comps have the spuds won recently… Why rely on trash to win the nation glory? Would have been better using a bunch of kids from teams that have actually won cups in the last few years.

          We may moan about our own players from time to time but they have more experience at not choking in cups… Even Welbroke knows what it takes to get through more than Kane does.

    2. kev says:

      As I keep telling you guys Aaron Ramsey has agreed a 5 year deal at Arsenal worth £155,000 per week with a £2.5m signing on fee.Likely to also be given the captain armband.

      Should in case Willian moves to Barca then it’s likely Dembele will become an Arsenal player because
      we are very very interested.His price can be spread over several years so no worries on that.

      1. BenardoM says:

        Are we expecting another CB???

  5. Sue says:

    No Hugo Lloris? ??????

    1. Eddie Hoyte says:

      Lol…Sue if Lloris should be there, then Neymar should be there too…after all they both had standout performances ?

      1. Sue says:

        Oh absolutely!! Pity there wasn’t a trophy for howler of the tournament… take a bow Lloris!!

  6. Eddie Hoyte says:

    I think Umtiti should somehow be in your list…well the world cup is gone now.. Guys I think we should stop complaining bout the world cup posts, I also think the world cup was a bit of distraction and helped keep us entertained while the leagues are still far away. It’s over now, and so far since we’ve done most our transfers, I’m expecting the remainder of the summer to be boring and I’m expecting recycled Arsenal posts, Lol..

    Meanwhile, if Ramsey won’t sign, we better ship him out and get a replacement and no I don’t want Rakitic or any more 29/30 years old players.. I’m sure there are finer and younger midfielders in Spain that we could get if we looked… Cazorla, Silva, Rakitic, were all made in Spain before moving on to bigger clubs.
    I miss club football, I’m really hoping and praying we win our opening match against City cuz it’ll go a long way in building Emery’s start to the season

  7. Declan says:

    I know I’m a Gooner but why is Kane on this list?credit where credit due but 3 of his goals were pens and one of them went in off his heal that he knew nothing about. Remember another as an easy back post header. Super striker? Not!

    1. Sue says:

      Exactly Declan, totally agree

    2. Break-on-through says:

      Also the moment some real competition arrived he wilted, and Croatia are hardly the scariest team in the world. When this type of stuff happens with Arsenal, they say …we’re flat track bullies only beating the ones without grit or any real quality. When its Ozil they ridicule the man. When its Kane he’s the best CF in the world even better than Messi I heard one of them say before trying to separate Messi from a “true CF’s” role.

      1. Midkemma says:

        I dont think any impartial football fan would have backed a spud to not choke. How on earth has an Arsenal site got an article praising that choker????

    3. Mobella says:

      That is why it is called Dan’s Diary.

  8. Break-on-through says:

    City and Spu wanted Matteo Guendouzi according to Sky Sports. He has more chance for regular football with us. He looked deceptively quick, that’s the one thing I noticed about him. Bentacur said to be a target. Juve aren’t gonna let him go, only 21 and an Uru international like Torriera.

  9. barryglik says:

    Spurs man World cup captain
    Spurs man Golden boot.
    Chelsea men Kante and Giroud
    in the winning team.
    I am sure I speak on behalf of all Arsenal supporters
    a great big congratulations to Spurs and Chelsea :).

    1. BenardoM says:

      Its only that Koscienly was injured and never participated in the competition.In 2014 we had Per,Podolski and Ozil who won the trophy.Nothing big

  10. Mobella says:

    Let’s hear what people have to say about Mc Gregor appearing in the same picture with Vladimir Putin.

  11. Midkemma says:

    I’d much prefer to see Giroud named as a striker in the team of the tourny, at least the big guy has a good beard/haircut and doesn’t choke in huge games.

    I said when we was linked to Morata that Giroud was better, I said when Chavski splashed the cash on Morata that we still had the better CF, I was gutted to see him sold but glad he got to prove he is better than Morata.

    Under appreciated at Arsenal, we never got good enough CF to challenge him until Laca and then 6 months later we squashed Giroud out with another WC striker signing. Giroud is a great team player.

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