World Cup 100: Ranking the Top Players in Russia After Quarter-Finals
All of a sudden, we're down to four candidates. The 2018 World Cup finals have flown by, and France, Belgium, England and Croatia have a chance of winning it.
With the quarter-finals done, it's time to update our World Cup 100—a position-by-position ranking of the top-performing players in Russia.
We've watched every game, rated every player and constructed a top 10 or 20 for each spot and crowned the kings of each. It will be updated after every round of matches, so keep your eyes peeled for future editions.
Bear in mind that only performances at these World Cup finals were considered for these rankings. Reputations count for nothing. Play well in Russia and be rewarded; don't, and you won't find your name here.
In terms of categorising player positions, we've introduced the following rule:
- If a player has played multiple positions, then he is placed in the one he's played the most minutes in.
- If he has played the same number of minutes in two separate positions, then he is placed in the one he played in most recently.
Because of team eliminations and rotating lineups, some players have played one more match than others. In such instances, those who have kept consistently higher performances over a larger number of games were rewarded with a higher rank.
You can view the previous edition here.
There were some big performances between the sticks at the quarter-final stage.
Belgium's Thibaut Courtois and England's Jordan Pickford played big parts in their teams' victories—each making several excellent saves. Hugo Lloris produced one massive stop to keep France's sheet clean, and Danijel Subasic came up big in a penalty shootout for Croatia once again.
All four of them are either rising fast or entering the rankings, and all four will contest the semi-finals.
Biggest rise: Thibaut Courtois (New!)
Biggest fall: Yann Sommer (-5)
|1||Kasper Schmeichel (Stay)||Denmark|
|2||Thibaut Courtois (New!)||Belgium|
|3||Danijel Subasic (+5)||Croatia|
|4||Guillermo Ochoa (-2)||Mexico|
|5||Jo Hyeon-woo (-2)||South Korea|
|6||Alireza Beiranvand (-2)||Iran|
|7||Robin Olsen (Stay)||Sweden|
|8||Jordan Pickford (New!)||England|
|9||Hugo Lloris (New!)||France|
|10||Yann Sommer (-5)||Switzerland|
Mario Fernandes' equalising header in extra time against Croatia looked set to ensure he remained at the top of the right-back rankings...but then the Russian dragged a penalty wide in the shootout.
That act gives England's Kieran Trippier, who has been sublime (and error-free) in all four games he's played in Russia, a clear path to the No. 1 spot.
Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko and France's Benjamin Pavard put in steady performances as their teams won. Moussa Wague moves back into 10th despite not playing (Senegal were knocked out in the groups), but Brazil's Fagner was so poor against Belgium he had to drop out.
Biggest rise: Multiple (+3)
Biggest fall: Multiple (-2)
|1||Kieran Trippier (+1)||England|
|2||Mario Fernandes (-1)||Russia|
|3||Thomas Meunier (Stay)||Belgium|
|4||Sime Vrsaljko (+3)||Croatia|
|5||Martin Caceres (-1)||Uruguay|
|6||Benjamin Pavard (+3)||France|
|7||Ramin Rezaeian (-2)||Iran|
|8||Luis Advincula (-2)||Peru|
|9||Henrik Dalsgaard (-1)||Denmark|
|10||Moussa Wague (New!)||Senegal|
Keeping Kylian Mbappe quiet is a tough gig. All things considered, Uruguay's Diego Laxalt did well in his attempt to do so.
It was by no means a shutout performance, as the Frenchman wriggled free on a few occasions, but for the most part Mbappe was stymied.
On the same pitch, Lucas Hernandez impressed again, as his combative style helped to stop Uruguay from gaining ground through Nahitan Nandez and Martin Caceres.
Biggest rise: Lucas Hernandez (+3)
Biggest fall: Ehsan Haji Safi (-2)
|1||Diego Laxalt (+1)||Uruguay|
|2||Ludwig Augustinsson (-1)||Sweden|
|3||Yuto Nagatomo (Stay)||Japan|
|4||Lucas Hernandez (+3)||France|
|5||Yuri Zhirkov (-1)||Russia|
|6||Youssouf Sabaly (-1)||Senegal|
|7||Jesus Gallardo (-1)||Mexico|
|8||Ashley Young (New!)||England|
|9||Ivan Strinic (New!)||Croatia|
|10||Ehsan Haji Safi (-2)||Iran|
Two England centre-backs in the top four. What strange alternate reality is this?
Harry Maguire notched his first goal for his country at quite the time, heading home to break the deadlock against Sweden and setting The Three Lions on course for victory. He's had an incredible tournament, as have compatriots John Stones and Kyle Walker—the latter of which has crept into the top 20 for the first time.
Raphael Varane and Domagoj Vida, both goalscorers, enter the rankings, too, while Belgium's Toby Alderweireld makes a big leap (+6) thanks to his masterful display against Brazil.
Biggest rise: Multiple (+6)
Biggest fall: Nikola Milenkovic (-6)
|1||Andreas Granqvist (Stay)||Sweden|
|2||Diego Godin (Stay)||Uruguay|
|3||John Stones (Stay)||England|
|4||Harry Maguire (+6)||England|
|5||Yerry Mina (Stay)||Colombia|
|6||Jose Gimenez (-2)||Uruguay|
|7||Thiago Silva (-1)||Brazil|
|9||Manuel Akanji (-2)||Switzerland|
|10||Toby Alderweireld (+6)||Belgium|
|11||Simon Kjaer (-2)||Denmark|
|12||Morteza Pouraliganji (-1)||Iran|
|13||Jan Vertonghen (Stay)||Belgium|
|14||Raphael Varane (New!)||France|
|15||Kyle Walker (New!)||England|
|16||Domagoj Vida (New!)||Croatia|
|17||Ilya Kutepov (+2)||Russia|
|18||Nikola Milenkovic (-6)||Serbia|
|19||Carlos Salcedo (-5)||Mexico|
|20||Victor Lindelof (-3)||Sweden|
Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders
It's as you were for the top three, as N'Golo Kante, Luka Modric and Paul Pogba all played well to varying degrees. France's Kante was the strongest of the lot, cementing top spot for another week.
Kevin De Bruyne's performance against Brazil was majestic and clever, as the midfielder played an unfamiliar false-nine role but thrived regardless. He stays in the central midfield section, having played the majority of his football in Russia in that role, though.
Brazil keenly felt Casemiro's absence as Fernandinho toiled in his place, committing fouls, failing to stop counter-attacks and, of course, scoring an own goal!
Biggest rise: Jesse Lingard (New!)
Biggest fall: Andres Iniesta (-3)
|1||N'Golo Kante (Stay)||France|
|2||Luka Modric (Stay)||Croatia|
|3||Paul Pogba (Stay)||France|
|4||Kevin De Bruyne (+5)||Belgium|
|6||Philippe Coutinho (-2)||France|
|7||Roman Zobnin (Stay)||Russia|
|8||Ivan Rakitic (+3)||Croatia|
|9||Andres Iniesta (-3)||Spain|
|10||Jordan Henderson (+3)||England|
|11||Valon Behrami (-1)||Switzerland|
|12||Idrissa Gueye (Stay)||Senegal|
|13||Jesse Lingard (New!)||England|
|14||Hector Herrera (Stay)||Mexico|
|15||Nahitan Nandez (+2)||Uruguay|
|16||Wilmar Barrios (-1)||Colombia|
|17||Omid Ebrahimi (-1)||Iran|
|18||Gaku Shibasaki (Stay)||Japan|
|19||Saeid Ezatolahi (Stay)||Iran|
|20||Axel Witsel (New!)||Belgium|
Mbappe's reign at the top was short-lived. Four days, to be exact.
It's not that he played poorly against Uruguay—he was bottled up to an extent but did break free and exert his influence every now and then—it's just that Eden Hazard was incredible for Belgium against Brazil, continuing his own stellar tournament.
We have two big movers in Russia's Denis Cheryshev (scored another screamer) and France's Antoine Griezmann (grabbed a goal and an assist), while those who were knocked out at the group stage steadily filter down the list.
Biggest rise: Antoine Griezmann (+6)
Biggest fall: Multiple (-2)
|1||Eden Hazard (+1)||Belgium|
|2||Kylian Mbappe (-1)||France|
|4||Aleksandr Golovin (Stay)||Russia|
|5||Nordin Amrabat (Stay)||Morocco|
|6||Denis Cheryshev (+5)||Russia|
|7||Takashi Inui (-1)||Japan|
|8||Hirving Lozano (-1)||Mexico|
|9||Ante Rebic (-1)||Croatia|
|10||Dries Mertens (-1)||Belgium|
|12||Rodrigo Bentancur (New!)||Uruguay|
|13||Antoine Griezmann (+6)||France|
|14||Andre Carrillo (-2)||Peru|
|15||Carlos Vela (-2)||Mexico|
|16||Juan Quintero (-2)||Colombia|
|17||Yurary Poulsen (-2)||Denmark|
|18||Xherdan Shaqiri (-2)||Switzerland|
|19||Ivan Perisic (-2)||Croatia|
|20||Shinji Kagawa (-2)||Japan|
Harry Kane played well against Sweden. The Englishman didn't find himself on the scoresheet (for once) but did play smartly, holding the ball up and distributing with slickness. It was a performance to be pleased with but one not good enough to hold off Romelu Lukaku in the rankings.
The Belgian's incredible showing against Brazil might well be his best ever—considering the stage, the opposition and what he did to them—as his reworked role off the right flank put him in the perfect spot to take advantage of the space Marcelo left.
Olivier Giroud is yet to score at this World Cup, but his importance to this France side cannot be underestimated. His performance against Uruguay served as yet more evidence of that.
Biggest rise: Romelu Lukaku (+2)
Biggest fall: Multiple (-1)
|1||Romelu Lukaku (+2)||Belgium|
|2||Harry Kane (-1)||England|
|3||Edinson Cavani (-1)||Uruguay|
|4||Artem Dzyuba (Stay)||Russia|
|5||Cristiano Ronaldo (Stay)||Portugal|
|6||Luis Suarez (Stay)||Uruguay|
|7||Diego Costa (Stay)||Spain|
|8||Olivier Giroud (Stay)||France|
|9||Mario Mandzukic (New!)||Croatia|
|10||Ahmed Musa (-1)||Nigeria|