Who would you have on your side?

Amol Gokhale
Sunday, 15 July 2018

Moscow: A club football is where you see the potpourri of the players from different nationalities playing under the crest of the club.
But then lining up a playing XI of players playing in the World Cup to make a dream team is another thing. With an increasing number of fantasy leagues, it is easy to make your own team and play online.

Moscow: A club football is where you see the potpourri of the players from different nationalities playing under the crest of the club.
But then lining up a playing XI of players playing in the World Cup to make a dream team is another thing. With an increasing number of fantasy leagues, it is easy to make your own team and play online.

We at Sakal Times bring you our team of the tournament based on their performances during the course of the World Cup and it was difficult to leave out some names out of starting XI, but they definitely would make a strong bench.

The team will line-up in a 4-3-3 formation with two defenders with a capacity to score from the set-piece at the heart of the defence, with full backs providing firepower going forward.

A single pivot in front of the back four to break up the play with an athletic ability while two others, will pull the strings playing little ahead of him. The front three will feature lone striker with two wide men who like to drift inside can give the team a numerical superiority in the middle of the park if necessary.

Goalkeeper
Hugo Lloris (France)
One would argue why not Danijel Subasic from Croatia, who has saved some heroic penalties, but it was vital saves that Lloris pulled off to keep France in the tournament, puts him between the sticks. 

Defenders
Kieran Trippier (England), Domagoj Vida (Croatia), Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez (both France)
England right-back Kieran Trippier has a fundamental part of Gareth Southgate’s’ 3-5-2 formation, playing as a wing-back. He possession not just ability to bombard forward and deliver crosses in the box but it is his ability from the set-pieces that makes him an ideal choice. With a direct free kick goal against Croatia in the semi-finals, he proved why he is called as David Beckham’s heir as free kick specialist.

The centre-back pairing of Domagoj Vida and Samuel Umtiti keep the likes of Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane out of the side but the two have been rock solid at the back and have scored the decisive goals so far in the competition. Lucas Hernandez has been a consistent performer for France is a reliable option to compliment attack-minded Trippier on the opposite flank.

Midfield
N’Golo Kante (France), Luka Modric (C), Ivan Rakitic (both Croatia)
N’Golo Kante has a unique record of winning the back to back Premier League titles with Leicester City and Chelsea. The never-tiring midfielder is an unsung hero of the French side, who breaks up the play and provides defensive cover ahead of back four.

The midfield duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic pick themselves up, as in tandem they have controlled the rhythm that Croatia has played at. Modric would also captain the side, bringing his calm influence on the side along with Rakitic, as the duo who play for Real Madrid and Barcelona in club football, team up to create dream midfield.

Forwards
Eden Hazard (Belgium), Kylian Mbappe (France), Harry Kane (England)
The Belgian captain, Eden Hazard, has been equally inspirational for his team and displayed his class against Brazil. He can drift in and drop in the midfield or swap places with Kylian Mbappe, showing his bag of tricks.

If Hazard has his bag of tricks, Mbappe has been a sensation this World Cup and definitely a contender for the prize of ‘Best Young Player’ at the World Cup. His brace against Argentina and his flaunting of tricks against Belgium puts him on the right wing, providing the side much-needed pace.

Harry Kane will play up top as a lone striker and can be assured that service will be provided to him without fail. A sure shot penalty taker and lethal striker, Kane, completes the Sakal Times team of the tournament with an equally strong bench.

Bench
Danijel Subasic (Croatia); Raphael Varane (France), Harry Maguire (England), Thomas Meunier (Belgium); Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Antoine Griezmann (France), Ivan Perisic (Croatia), Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)

A strong bench with players on the bench with an ability to change the game on their own. A surprise selection is of Golovin, Russia winger, but CSKA Moscow player was pivotal in hosts run to the quarter-final. The likes of De Bruyne, Griezmann, Perisic can change the game on their own, while Varane and Maguire provide the defensive cover. 

Coach
Zlatko Dalic (Croatia)

It is difficult to choose between Zlatko Dalic and Didier Deschamps, but we picked Dalic for his man management. He had to steer the team through turbulent start involving captain Luka Modric. He had the courage to send Nicola Klanic back home for refusing to come on as a substitute. He has proved his tactical acumen with subtle changes in the game plan, sticking to a basic 4-2-3-1 formation, that helped his team reach their first ever World Cup final.

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