With the nation already glued in front of their TVs to see the World’s best in action, Hisense UK’s official Armchair Reporter, Ben Groom selects his top starting World XI for this years tournament.
David De Gea (Goalkeeper)
Manchester United’s Spanish stopper is my choice between the sticks following yet another fantastic season. It’s rare to see a goalkeeper make so many ‘how on earth has he stopped that?’ saves. His quality plays on the mind of opposing attackers and he can be the difference in tight end-to-end games.
Kyle Walker (Right-back)
My only English player for this run down is Kyle Walker. He has impressed both for Manchester City this season and, in his new more central role, for the national side under Gareth Southgate. His pace, defensive prowess and attacking threat make him an asset at both ends of the pitch.
Mats Hummels (Centre-back)
Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels will be playing at just his second FIFA World Cup™ this summer and is yet to lose in the competition – having lifted the trophy with Germany four years ago. Hummels has formed a formidable partnership with Jerome Boateng since his debut in 2010 and has become an integral part of Germany’s star-studded squad.
Sergio Ramos (Centre-back)
Controversial defender Sergio Ramos has been in the media spotlight after his clash with Mohamed Salah in the Champions League final last month but he is undeniably a proven winner. The Spain and Real Madrid captain has consistently performed at the highest level and is among the very best defenders in the game.
The skilful Brazilian is often found closer to the opponent’s goal than his own, he is as good as anyone when attacking from the left flank and has the tendency to drift in field to pull defences out of shape. It’s hard to name another defender who has such an influence on their team’s attacking performances – he would certainly walk into most teams at this summer’s tournament.
N’Golo Kante (Central midfield)
N’Golo Kante was relatively unknown a short time ago but following back-to-back Premier League titles with Leicester and Chelsea, he is now recognised as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. An excellent reader of the game and a tireless runner, Kante only made his international debut in 2016 but is already a mainstay in the France midfield.
Toni Kroos (Central midfield)
Toni Kroos has won it all in both Spain and Germany as well as on the international stage and, like others in this XI, he will be looking to lift the trophy for a second consecutive time this summer. The Real Madrid technician is a class act and could be the man to orchestrate a fifth FIFA World Cup™ success for Die Mannschaft.
Kevin De Bruyne (Central midfield)
The Belgian midfielder shone in the Premier League this season under Pep Guardiola. There were those who initially questioned his £54m transfer fee but they have certainly been made to eat their words in recent seasons. De Bruyne has a superhuman eye for a pass and could find space in a telephone. This said, he is yet to make his mark in a major international competition.
Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo (Forwards)
When it comes to the forward line, I won’t waste time trying to justify picking the three best players in world football. Lionel Messi may have some doubters on the international stage but there is no doubt he is one of the greatest players to have ever graced the game. While Cristiano Ronaldo showed in 2016 that, even from the side-lines, he has the ability to inspire a major tournament victory. Meanwhile, Neymar closes in on Pele’s all-time goal record for Brazil despite being just 26-years-old, with his best years ahead of him.
Hisense UK Armchair Reporter