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World Cup’s best

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The FIFA World Cup 2022 is almost upon us, and the excitement among fans has already reached fever pitch. Starting from November 20, the World Cup will go on for 29 days as 32 teams battle it to be crowned the world champions. In addition, the 2022 World Cup is the first time a World Cup will be held in winter.

And as always, top players in the world of football will battle it out for the top prize. From Cristiano Ronaldo to Lionel Messi to Neymar will put their talent on show for fans across the globe. In the previous tournaments, we have seen top players rise to the occasion and give us some of the best moments of the World Cups.

So, who are the top player for every nation’s best player in the 2022 FIFA World Cup?

Qatar – Akram Afif

The hosts of the World Cup are currently ranked 48th in the world. However, the hosts have been in fine form and won the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. And their best player is former Villareal winger Akram Afif. He currently plays with Al Sadd in Qatar with whom he has won eight trophies in four years.

Ecuador – Moises Caicedo

After surviving a scare of being banned from the World Cup due to a player’s nationality issues, Ecuador will fly down to Qatar for their fourth World Cup appearance. And their main hope is Brighton’s midfielder Moises Caicedo. The Colombian has been integral in Brighton’s impressive start to the season with the club in fourth place. A similar performance at the World Cup will help Ecuador immensely.

 

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Senegal – Sadio Mane 

The 2022 African champions have talent all across the field, such as Bamba Dieng, Ismaïla Sarr, Idrissa Gueye, and Kalidou Koulibaly. However, their best player is Sadio Mane. The Senegalese signed for Bayern Munich in the transfer window after winning multiple trophies at Liverpool. He has already played a starring role in the African Cup of Nations, and the national fans will expect him to deliver the same performance in the World Cup. 

Netherlands – Virgil van Dijk 

After missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Oranje are back in Qatar. The Dutch also have a formidable squad with a mix of experience of youth. Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt, Jurrien Timber, Frenkie de Jong, and Devyne Rensch are some of the top players for the team. However, their best player is undoubtedly Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk who has been one of the top defenders in the world. The Dutchman will be tasked with ensuring the team’s defence which will be instrumental to their World Cup chances.

England – Harry Kane 

Will it finally come home? England went all the way to the semi-finals of the last World Cup. They went one better at the Euros last year, losing to Italy in the final. However, the Three Lions have a formidable squad that is capable of winning the World Cup. And their primary weapon will be star striker Harry Kane who has been among the best strikers in the world for many years. Kane will be the focal point of England’s attack and will need to find the back of the net consistently if England want to bring back the trophy to England after 1966.

Iran – Sardar Azmoun 

Over the years, several players were dubbed ‘the Next Messi‘. One of them was the Iranian Messi Sardar Azmoun. While he may not have been able to match the heights of the Argentine, he undoubtedly has become one of the best players ever to play for Iran. Thus, the winger will be expected to carry the team at the World Cup if they are to perform above and beyond expectations. 

USA – Christian Pulisic 

Captain America, Christian Pulisic, will be United States’ leading man at the World Cup. The 24-year-old though not at his best form, is still the best hope for the Americans. The team has high hopes for this World Cup as they have perhaps their best squad in history. And Pulisic will need to step up if the USA goes far into the tournament. 

Wales – Gareth Bale 

Gareth Bale, over the years, has been accused of not performing up to standards at Real Madrid. However, fans of Wales might not have the same problems. Bale has always performed admirably for The Dragons. Bale is 33 years old now, and fans will be hoping he has one more brilliant tournament in him to make history with Wales. 

Argentina – Lionel Messi 

Was there even a doubt? Lionel Messi maybe 35 years old but remains Argentina’s best hope for a third World Cup win. It will also be the last chance for Messi to win a World Cup. He came close with them in 2014 but failed against a competitive Germany. And Messi also has a brilliant star cast backing him up. 

Saudi Arabia – Salem Al-Dawsari

Saudi Arabia performed well below standards in the last World Cup, crashing out in the Group stage. And if they want to perform better, then the primary responsibility will be on Salem Al-Dawsari. The winger is one of the few players who has played in Europe and has the experience of the top level.

Mexico – Hirving Lozano 

The man who scored against Germany to help Mexico script a historic win will again be responsible for the El Tri. Hirving Lozano has yet to open his account in Serie A, with his new teammate Khvicha Kvaratskhelia hogging all the limelight. However, the Mexican is the perfect embodiment of ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’, and Mexico fans will hope he brings the latter in spades to the World Cup. 

Poland – Robert Lewandowski 

Robert Lewandowski signed for Barcelona this season, ditching Munich for Spain. However, one habit he hasn’t changed is scoring many goals. The Pole has already scored eight goals and provided two assists in six La Liga matches. This is good news for Poland fans who know their World Cup campaign hinges on Lewandowski’s goals. 

France – Kylian Mbappe 

Kylian Mbappe signed the richest contract in football history this summer. And he is also the star player for France, who will be the defending champions in Qatar. Mbappe also has a star cast surrounding him. Players such as Antoine Griezmann, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Lucas Hernandez, and Benjamin Pavard show France’s depth.

Australia – Matthew Ryan 

The Australians are going to make their fifth consecutive World Cup appearance in Qatar. And this time, they don’t have an out-and-out star to back. However, the most experienced of the bunch is undoubtedly goalkeeper Matthew Ryan. The shot-stopper is currently playing in the Danish league. 

Denmark – Christian Eriksen 

The fact that despite suffering a heart attack a year ago, Christian Eriksen remains the best player from Denmark shows how great of a player he is. The Danish midfielder has been instrumental in Manchester United’s resurgence and will also need to perform his best at the World Cup. 

Tunisia – Wahbi Khazri 

Tunisia had one of the meanest defence in the World Cup qualification. However, the onus will be on attackers Wahbi Khazri and Hannibal Mejbri to provide the impetus for the Africans. The team can spring a surprise. 

Spain – Rodri 

It can be safe to say that Spain are one of the most complete teams at the World Cup, and it is hard for anyone to point at a superstar. However, Rodri will be the midfield lynchpin for the “La Furia Roja”. The Spaniard had established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders at Manchester City and will need to mirror that performance if Spain adds a second World Cup title. 

Costa Rica – Keylor Navas 

One of the most underrated players in football, Keylor Navas, has proved his doubters wrong for years. Navas has won it all with Real Madrid and is currently the deputy to Gianluigi Donnarumma at Paris Saint Germain. And the goalkeeper will need to bring out his best if Costa Rica have to replicate their 2014 World Cup campaign. 

Germany – Joshua Kimmich

On talent, form and performance, perhaps there is no defensive midfielder better than Joshua Kimmich. The Germans have been an integral part of a Bayern Munich side for years and have helped them win a sextuple in 2019-20. And now he will have to do the same role for Die Mannschaft if they want to become the joint-most successful World Cup nation in Qatar. 

Japan – Takehiro Tomiyasu

Last World Cup, Japan were eliminated in the dying minutes against Belgium. They would want to better their last World Cup performance. Their defence will need to step up, and Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu will play an essential role in the Asian giants’ need to deliver their best performance ever. 

Belgium – Kevin de Bruyne 

The golden generations of Belgium may have a slight chance of winning some silverware in Qatar. But, it has been the case of so near yet so far for the Red Devils. And the magic of Kevin de Bruyne will be the key for Belgium if they want to win the first World Cup. However, Eden Hazard and others will also need to step up too. 

Canada – Alphonso Davies 

Alphonso Davies. That’s it. Argument closed.

Morocco – Achraf Hakimi 

Morocco have a strong defence, and it will be the key to their World Cup campaign. Hakim Ziyech is the star attacker but is woefully out of form. And hence Achraf Hakimi will be tasked with not only defending but also creating chances from the wings. 

Croatia – Luka Modric 

There are three things certain in life, death, taxes and a Luka Modric masterclass at the World Cup. First, the Croatian has been at the top of his game for over a decade and has shown no signs of dropping form. And Modric will also be raring to go one better than the 2018 World Cup. 

 

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Brazil – Neymar 

Vinicius Jr’s incredible season at Real Madrid ended with his team winning the La Liga and the Champions League. However, despite that, Neymar remains the superstar at the club. The Brazilian is part of the PSG attack triumvirate and will need to be at his ferocious best to land Brazil their sixth World Cup. 

Serbia – Dusan Vlahovic 

Serbia have always produced world-class strikers; the newest addition to the list is Dusan Vlahovic. The 22-year-old forward has been one of the top performers in Serie A and is Juventus’s best hope of salvaging their season. And Serbia’s qualification to the next round rests heavily on his shoulders. 

Switzerland – Xherdan Shaqiri 

For the past ten years, Xherdan Shaqiri has represented some of the best clubs in Europe. And the Alpine Messi has also delivered at crucial moments for Switzerland. However, Shaqiri is 30 years old and may not appear in the World Cup and hence would want to give his best at Qatar.

Cameroon – Andre Onana

Like Tunisia and Costa Rica, Cameroon also will come into the tournament with a strong defence. And despite some lacklustre showings, their goalkeeper Andre Onana remains their best player. The shot-stopper showed his class when he helped Ajax reach the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2018-19. 

Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo 

Portugal, after many years, are going into the World Cup with one of the best squads. However, despite many stars, their 37-year-old talismanic striker Cristiano Ronaldo is their primary source of goals. Ronaldo has already helped Portugal win the Euros in 2016 and will be raring to go one better and etch his name in World Cup history.

Ghana – Inaki Williams 

Ghana were one penalty kick away from scripting history, but Asamoah Gyan fluffed his lines, and a whole continent’s heart got broken. Twelve years later, they return, and in a cruel sense of irony, they will be paired with Uruguay. And the attacking responsibility will be on Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams. 

Uruguay – Darwin Nunez

If one player has burst on the scene in the last 12 months, it is Darwin Nunez. The gifted forward made a record transfer to Liverpool and has already become a fan favourite at Anfield. Nunez will be expected to successfully take on the same role that Luis Suarez filled for years. 

South Korea – Son-Heung Min 

Tottenham’s success over the years has been down to two things, Harry Kane and Son-Heung Min. And the latter will be expected to help South Korea repeat their 2018 World Cup heroics where they defeated then defending champions Germany. Son had started the season woefully but announced his return to form with a hat trick, and Korean fans will be hoping he keeps up the trend.

 

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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