From Martínez to Mbappé: a 2022 World Cup team of the tournament | World Cup 2022

Goalkeeper: Emi Martínez (Argentina)

bono and Dominik Livakovic may consider themselves unlucky to miss. In the end, Martínez went through the big moments for the winners. There was the final save against Australia, heroic shots against France and the Netherlands, and a huge save to stop Randal Kolo Muani in the last minute of the final.

Emiliano Martínez saves from Randal Kolo Muani to prevent France from scoring a late likely winner in the final
Emiliano Martínez saves Randal Kolo Muani to prevent France from scoring a likely late goal in the final. Photo: Molly Darlington/Reuters

Right-back: Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)

Partly for that careless penalty against Spain. But also for the excellent defense and the adventurous runs to the right. No right-back was superior to Hakimi, who even forced France in a tactical change in the semi-finals. Morocco has a star in its hands.

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Centre-back: John Stones (England)

An admission: it’s partly because he felt bad about having more Moroccans than Argentines. Apologies to Nayef Aguerd and Romain Saïss. Still, Stones had a very strong tournament. He was calm and classy in the back during Englandwho has kept three clean sheets in five games and performed well against France.

John Stones beats Ousmane Dembélé with the ball in the quarter-final against France
John Stones beats Ousmane Dembele with the ball in the quarter-final against France. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Central defender: Josko Gvardiol (Croatia)

The best centre-back in the competition is destined for greatness – and a big step sooner rather than later. It’s easy to see why Chelsea want to sign Gvardiol from RB Leipzig. Don’t be fooled by his tricky encounter with Lionel Messi; focus instead on reading the play, interceptions, tenacity and confidence on the ball from the 20-year-old.

Left back: Noussair Mazraoui (Morocco)

It’s surprisingly difficult to find candidates to play at left-back. Raphael Guerreiro? Not enough. Theo Hernandez? Not after his performances against Argentina and England. So it must be Mazraoui. The only complaint is that he got injured before the quarter-finals. Otherwise, the 25-year-old was outstanding.

Central midfielder: Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco)

The driving force behind Walid Regragui’s brilliant underdogs. Amrabat never stopped running, never stopped pushing and produced the tournament tackle on Kylian Mbappé. This could convince Tottenham to renew their interest in the Fiorentina player.

Sofyan Amrabat stops Kylian Mbappé in Morocco semi-final against France
Sofyan Amrabat stops Kylian Mbappé in Morocco’s semi-final against France. Photography: Hollandse Hoogte/Rex/Shutterstock

Central midfielder: Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina)

It was going to be Jude Bellingham, who has been sensational in most of England’s games. It could also have been Luka Modric, who helped Croatia win third place. But did you see how handsome Mac Allister weighed his last ball for Ángel Di María’s goal in the final? Nervousness and quality on the biggest stage.

Central midfielder: Antoine Griezmann (France)

It was a shame that Griezmann fell below expectations in the final. It didn’t look like him. He’s such a smart player and he’s shone in his new role as No.10, especially when he’s thrown England off balance. Many youngsters should watch the elusive positions Griezmann occupies, his selflessness and the efficiency of his production.

Right winger: Lionel Messi (Argentina)


Lionel Messi celebrates with Julián Álvarez after scoring in Argentina's last 16 game against Australia
Lionel Messi celebrates with Julián Álvarez after scoring in Argentina’s last 16 game against Australia. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Centre-forward: Julián Álvarez (Argentina)

The champions were much more dynamic after replacing Lautaro Martínez with Álvarez. The Manchester City striker worked tirelessly on the ball, made Messi run for him and scored four goals. He is one of the stars of the world Cup – assuming that can be said of someone who plays club football alongside Erling Haaland.

Left winger: Kylian Mbappé (France)

It’s quite staggering that he scored a hat-trick against Argentina and still ended up on the losing side. And that he finished with eight goals. And that he scored 12 times in two World Cups. And that he has five goals in two finals. And that he will be 24 on Tuesday. Scary.

Kylian Mbappé steals France's first equalizer against Argentina in the final
Kylian Mbappé volleys France’s first equalizer against Argentina in the final. Photography: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Substitutes to complete a team of 26 players Dominik Livakovic (Croatia), Bono (Morocco), Nahuel Molina (Argentina), Romain Saïss (Morocco), Cristian Romero (Argentina), Marcos Acuña (Argentina), Luka Modric (Croatia), Jude Bellingham (England), Enzo Fernández ( Argentina), Bukayo Saka (England), Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco), Jamal Musiala (Germany), Cody Gakpo (Netherlands), Harry Kane (England), Ángel Di María (Argentina).

Director Lionel Scaloni (Argentina)

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