Gonzalo Ramos, Livacovic or Saiss break into the ideal eleven of the eighth
Mbappé, Messi and Bellingham continue to accumulate merit match by match
Portugal’s big win against Switzerland kicked off a round of 16 that brought us no bigger surprises than Spain’s tie against Morocco on penalties. Except for the collapse of the team led by Luis Enrique, the best teams remained in these quarter-finals. Some had to sweat like Croatia, but others like Portugal, Brazil or England themselves had more than enough.
Since the round of 16 is already over, now is the time to build your ideal XI for the round. Levakovic, saving three penalties in the maximum penalty against Japan, Saïss, being a mainstay in the defensive axis of the surprising Moroccan and Shaw, England’s undisputed left flank, They sneak into a formation where Messi, Mbappe and Co. keep coming, They are determined to bring the trophy home. Let’s go with eleven:
Croatia suffered more than needed to cross against Japan, but they were lucky to have Livkovic under the stick. The Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper was key in the Croatian victory, saving up to three penalties in the penalty ‘lottery’. He was very confident throughout the game and moreover, he became the hero when Japan already smelled the rooms.
Two assists and a goal are already enough qualities to break into an ideal XI, but if a right winger does the same, the performance changes phenomenally. The Dutchman had a great game against the United States. He gave up first and second for his team and scored the third to kill the game. The Dumfries right-handed flank dagger, is a band up and down machine.
It seems that the years do not affect the central defender of the time. At the age of 39, Pepe continues to show that he is ready to compete at the very best level and that his pulse does not quiver at any level. Against Switzerland he was as reliable as anything else in defense and his remarkable performance added to the 2–0 goal that opened the gap for Portugal. He remains the owner and behind the life insurance of Fernando Santos.
If Morocco has conceded only one goal in four World Cup matches, it is because they have a giant goalkeeper like Bono and also an impeccable defensive system. Regaragui has managed to make a very solid block that barely accepts and cancels the opponent.
And every block needs a leader. He is none other than Romain Sass. The former Wolverhampton center back is the great marshal of Morocco’s defense And he showed it again against Spain. He led the team from behind and was exhausted after chasing everything that came from the field.
He won’t fill cover like Kane, Saka, Rashford, Foden, Bellingham and Co. but he is very important in the huge England side we are seeing at this World Cup. After Leo Messi, he is the most progressive passer in this World Cup (28) and the key player in both defense and attack. It doesn’t start at Old Trafford, but Luke Shaw with Southgate is another. He is comfortable in a pairing and has good relations with both Foden and Rashford.
The broom car that cleans everything in Morocco. There is no offensive play by an opponent that should not go through its ‘toll’. Another clincher from Fiorentina Pivot, against Spain, which was ubiquitous in the game lasting over 120 minutes. He didn’t give up on his career, he didn’t back down from any controversy and with his invaluable obscure work he added great parameters to the making of the game. This is the Moroccan column in the center of the field, which holds the liberty above.
The English World Cup is a very serious matter. He does practically everything in midfield and on top of that he does it well. He plays defense when he touches near the axis, he has the ability to lead counters when he has to run, he moves into his own and opponent’s territory with his powerful stride in the same play… Bellingham was once again decisive in the England v Senegal game, especially when they let him run. There he is almost invulnerable from joining the attack. He made it 1-0 to Henderson.
He did not score in Brazil’s defeat against South Korea, but he supplied the ball to his attacking partners to show for it. He intervened in almost all of ‘Canarinha’s’ dangerous plays and was particularly active from the right. Imbalance with the dribble and, above all, with the pass.
Fourth game for Argentina and fourth game where Messi was once again the Albiceleste’s best player. The Rosario star again carried the team on his backs and was key in the match against Australia with one of the two goals.
He scored the first goal, which opened the Can and guided his team to victory, with a ‘Made in Messi’ shot: tight to the post and impossible for Ryan. After the goal, more leadership, supply of balls along the entire front of the attack. he could have given some helpBut Lautaro didn’t exactly go head-to-head.
Another exhibition of the French and there are already a few in Qatar. He first served Giroud with a luxury assist in the area to unblock the game, and then used two whips to kill him. First to the left wing and then to the right wing.
Mbappé is all the imbalance in France, a constant headache for rival defence. Poland suffered it on their own in the round of 16. He fought for the result but surrendered to the evidence and to Mbappe, who has the World Cup between his eyebrows.
This was the big surprise of Fernando Santos’s XI against Switzerland. The coach decided to leave out Cristiano Ronaldo and put Gonzalo Ramos in the ‘9’ position and the recipe could not have been better. Eleven minutes of the game was enough to know that the coach was completely right.
After eleven minutes, the Benfica striker had already slotted the ball into the left corner to open the scoring for Portugal. Then, good moves, good chemistry with the rest of your teammates, and a goal, and goals. The very young ‘9’ scored a double in the second half to sign a ‘hat trick’ and take the ball home. Superb performance.