Ya boy is back fresh off of the World Cup hangover and all I can say is damn that was an amazing tournament. All of the back and forth and wild finishes it was far and out one of the best World Cups I have experienced in my short life.
Naturally the gaffer, Young Leg, wanted me to put out my own version of the team of the tournament. Naturally formation is everything for this one and I will be going with a 3-5-2 for all my Serie A fans out there.
Let’s start at the back, the man in net, and I have to go with the Danish legend, no not Peter Schmeichel, but his son Kasper. This dude is an absolute animal and I could care less if Denmark got bounced early in the knockouts, the saves this man made were incredible. Speaking as a former defender, albeit not a very good one, I would want someone big and brash and who did not give a flying f*** about what his defenders thought of him and in the tournament that was Schmeichel. Not to mention the man stopped some penalties along the way. Honorable mention: Jordan Pickford.
Out of the back, the Madrid man, Sergio Ramos. There is just not enough good things to say about Ramos, he always plays like an absolute savage and takes names when need be. A complete defender if I ever saw one, a damn shame that Spain had some goalkeeping troubles with De Gea not being up to the task on several occasions, but that does not take away from the consistent performances that Ramos put in for the Spaniards.
Second in the back, a Barcelona man, Samuel Umtiti. I mean this guy played one hell of a tournament even after that disastrous handball against Australia in the opening game. Umtiti came up big time and time again when called upon and helped lead Les Blues to its second ever World Cup, kudos to you big man.
Third, and final, in the back, another Madrid man, Raphael Varane. What can I say, Madrid has the back line on lockdown. Varane bossed the tournament from start to finish and whatever Umtiti didn’t get Varane did. To me Varane came of age during this tournament, not the highlights, but how he never seemed to do anything wrong or get caught out of position. As a manager that is all anybody can ask from their defenders.
Well start with the CDMs. No man is more deserving to be on the team of the tournament squad than N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman had himself an outstanding tournament and proved that he is currently on of the best, if not the best, defensive midfielders in the world. The man had Messi in his pocket for the majority of the Argentina came and was constantly tracking down balls and making key tackles to break up counter-attacks. It is a damn shame that he had to come off during the final for an unfortunate tangling of the legs with Mandzukic that led to his yellow card. That aside Kante played a perfect tournament, in my opinion.
Ivan Rakitic. An absolute dynamite CDM. He played this tournament like a man possessed, not quite like Modric, but we’ll get to him later. Rakitic is one of the main reasons that Croatia was able to make it to the final, he consistently contributed at both ends of the pitch, a true box-to-box midfielder.
CAM, there is no way that Luka Modric was not the best player in the tournament. This dude has the ball on a string constantly. He was spraying balls wherever he wanted and did it from start to finish. Size does not matter on a soccer field and when the United States can actually figure that the f*** out then we will have our own versions of Kante, Modric, Griezmann, etc., and hopefully that will allow the Stars and Stripes to lift that beautiful trophy. Modric deserves to be the player of the tournament, he may not have scored the most goals or had the most assists but this man had the Croatian team beating to his drum. It is a shame that they came up just short and this golden generation of Croatian players may have come and gone, but damn they can hold their heads high.
Outside mids, first off we got the French phenom Kylian Mbappe. I shit you not watching this man on the ball reminds me of watching Henry. The pace, the skill, the never quit attitude, this dude is going to be a problem for years to come and the French may have shot to win multiple world cups with this man in the squad. Mbappe came to life in the world cup and shutup any critics or doubters he may have had.
At the request of my brother, a Spurs fan (so Sam if you’re reading this you can thank him @doidbeats) Kieran Trippier has made the list. As an Arsenal fan it pains me to put him in this squad, but as a football fan I can say that Trippier did have an outstanding tournament. While he played more as a wingback for the Three Lions he could easily slot into the other outside-mid position. Trippier worked set pieces extremely well and constantly found himself in good positions. While he could have jumped a little higher to stop that Mina goal Trippier really out did himself and proved that he should be a starter in the Spurs lineup for years to come.
Cristiano Ronaldo. I could care less if Portugal got bounced in the first round of the knockouts. Ronaldo proved time and time again that he, not Messi, is the best player in the world. He scored goals at a better clip and consistently played for his team and worked with the players he had around him.
Finally, Antoine Griezmann. This man played one hell of a World Cup. I know Harry Kane bagged a bunch of goals but f*** that! And f*** the Spurs! Griezmann created so many opportunities and his free kicks were always deadly. In the next World Cup cycle he will most likely be the oldest player on the French squad (at 31) but damn he is still one of the best players in the world.
There it is, that’s my World Cup tournament squad. It was a great tournament and these players were my top stars at their positions.
Now we only have less than a month until the EPL kickoff and I can only hope that Emery and the Gunners can qualify for the Champions League and compete for the title.
COYG! “What do we think of Tottenham? Shit! And what do we think of shit? Tottenham!” -Jack Wilshere (Arsenal Legend).