The 2022 World Cup has been an entertaining showpiece that has delivered an abundance of spectacular matches. On an individual level, we have been treated to plenty of top notch performances across the board. However, only 11 can make our Best X1 so far.
While you await Friday's return to action as the quarterfinals kick off, check out OBSERVER ONLINE's team of the tournament .... so far.
GK: Andries Noppert
Before the start of the tournament, many football fans did know the name Andries Noppert. The 28-year -old hadn’t made his debut before the 2022 World Cup but he has rewarded Louis Van Gaal’s faith by coming up with some big saves. The 6’8 keeper has stood out so far with his most notable save coming up against the US in the round of 16.
RB: Achraf Hakimi
The Moroccans have entertained in this World Cup, topping a competitive group and then beating 2010 World Cup champions Spain to reach the quarterfinals. Their defensive performance cannot go unnoticed and the man at the forefront of their stingy backline has been Achraf Hakimi. The Spanish-born PSG right-back delivered the fatal blow against his country of birth with an audacious panenka penalty.
CB: Virgil Van Dijk
Despite reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup, one can’t help to think that the Dutch have yet to reach their ceiling. Virgil Van Dijk, however, doesn’t have that problem as he once again proved that he is a rock at the back. The Liverpool defender is quick to trample any potential threats and continues to defend his price tag as one of the most expensive defenders ever.
CB: Thiago Silva
Age is just a number for this 38-year-old. Silva oozes class and experience in the Brazilian defensive line that looks impenetrable and continues to impress. The Brazilian captain is a mainstay in any side and even more importantly proves that he is as vital to the squad as Neymar. Silva also grabbed an assist in the round of 16 victory over South Korea.
LB: Josko Gvardiol
The 20-year-old Croatian has established himself as a bonafide star with consistent performances for his side. The RB Leipzig player came up big against Belgium and continues to be on the radar of big clubs. The masked player poses a threat with his superb passes from deep and defensive solidity.
RM: Lionel Messi
Widely recognised as the greatest player of his generation, Messi has had a solid tournament so far. The Argentinian has memorised, bailing out his country twice with crucial goals. The PSG forward faces a stern test against the Dutch and is once again expected to shoulder the burden.
CM: Bruno Fernandes
Despite the presence of one Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes has emerged as the leader of the talented Portugal squad and has been collecting man of the matches on the frequent. The Manchester United star already has 3 goals and 2 assists in the tournament and surely is playing like he has something to prove.
CM: Jude Bellingham
A 19-year-old Jude Bellingham has caught the attention of many this World Cup. The Borussia Dortmund star has been England’s best player by far and has come up big in all aspects of the game. The youngster has a knack for being at the right place at the right time and technically has been one of the most complete central midfielders at the World Cup.
LM: Vinicius Junior
In a tournament where Neymar seems to be either absent or misfiring, Vinicius Jr has stepped up to be the principal provider in an electric Brazilian side. The Real Madrid star has already grabbed two assists and a goal and his dangling feet is a threat for defenders.
FWD: Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe is having a blast of a tournament. The 23-year-old is currently on a rampage to cement his place in history books with his stellar performances. The PSG forward is currently the tournament’s leading goal scorer with five and at times has looked unplayable.
Richarlison has scored the goal of the tournament so far and has come up in crucial moments for the Brazilians. He is an integral piece for the side most people consider to be the favourites.