Best Players Of The Group Stages – Ranked: FIFA WC 2022

Best Players Of The Group Stages – Ranked: FIFA WC 2022

The World Cup has thrown quite a few surprises & upsets as the group stages have come to an end. In what’s been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks into the World Cup in Qatar, the stage is now set for the round of 16 as the group winners and second-placed teams lock horns. Here is a deep dive into the best players of the group stages from the tournament so far.

Group A

Netherlands – Cody Gakpo

Player rating – 8.1/10

Talented youngster Gakpo has been Netherlands’ best attacking outlet in this World Cup so far. The tournament’s joint top scorer is setting records already, becoming the first Dutch player to score in 3 games at a World Cup. The PSV Eindhoven striker has 13 goals and 17 assists this season, accumulating more goal contributions than record-breaking Haaland as well – Rohit Ravi

Senegal – Ismaila Sarr

Player rating – 7.5/10

With questions about who would lead the Senegalese attack after Mane’s injury; there were doubts regarding who would take up the mantle. Ismaila Sarr has since proved to be the answer. Pivotal to the attack of the Lions of Teranga, Sarr is finally showing his ability on the world stage. Electric with the ball, Sarr alone has dragged his team up the field in games pretty often. Watford, keep your guard up; his stock is rising in value – John Mathew

Group B

England – Marcus Rashford

Player rating – 7/10

Weirdly enough, Rashford has somehow found himself in the golden boot spots by bagging 3 goals despite starting just 1 game for the Three Lions. His brace against Wales will have definitely given Southgate a selection headache. With the performances he’s delivered from the right wing, the pacy forward looks rejuvenated and has been England’s best player so far, scoring a goal every 36 minutes – Rohit Ravi

USA – Tyler Adams

Player rating – 7.5/10

The USA have surprised a lot of people in the tournament so far. Although the USMNT haven’t been too prolific in attack, their defense has been resolute with their high press and energy in midfield, stemming from Adams’ industry on and off the ball. His drive, energy, and leadership in the middle of the park has given much needed impetus to the likes of Pulisic and Weah to have the freedom in attack – Rohit Ravi

Group C

Argentina – Lionel Messi

Player rating – 8.5/10

It might seem like a lazy choice to pick Messi as Argentina’s best player of the group stages. But despite his penalty miss against Poland, he is Argentina’s top scorer. His postage stamp finish against Mexico in the 2nd group game was a sight to behold. While there have been good performances from a number of Argentina’s players, their captain Messi has taken more responsibility in a deeper role and has consequently been excellent as a playmaker as well – Rohit Ravi

Poland – Wojciech Szczęsny

Player rating – 8.1/10

Szczęsny has single-handedly kept Poland in the competition saving 2 penalties in 2 consecutive games; one from Leo Messi as well to keep Poland up and through. Szczęsny has been one of, if not the best keeper at the tournament so far. He has made 16 saves with a save percentage of 90%, more than any other goalkeeper in the tournament. France will have to be at their clinical best to breach the Polish shot-stopper’s guard – John Mathew

Group D

France – Kylian Mbappe

Player rating – 9/10

This is perhaps the most obvious pick of the list. Mbappe has 3 goals so far in 2 starts, being France’s destroyer-in-chief. The pacy PSG forward has 7 world cup goals already and is almost halfway there to breaking Klose’s record of 16 goals at just 23 years of age. What a player – Rohit Ravi

Australia – Matthew Leckie

Player rating – 6.8/10

Australia have been really lucky. Their qualification has been a real surprise and Leckie has been a good reason for their so-called luck. With a goal and an assist in 3 games; involved in ⅔ of the goals scored by the Socceroos so far, he’s been pivotal to their World Cup run. Their defensive resilience might have played a bigger role in their story so far, but to convert from the very few chances they get, Leckie and his colleagues have worked really hard on and off the ball to reach so far. Deserved – John Mathew

WC Group Stages GCA SCA
Highest player GCA SCA rank qualified teams FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Group E

Japan – Shūichi Gonda

Player rating – 7.6/10

With key contributions from almost everyone in their stunning wins against Germany and Spain, it is difficult to single out one particular Japanese player that has better than the rest. While Ritsu Doan has been excellent off the bench, goalkeeper Gonda has been their hero between the sticks. A man-of-the-match performance against Germany in the first game showcased his excellent shot-stopping ability to keep the ball out of the Japanese net. Gonda will be key to Japan’s World Cup run & has already proved why he is the Samurai Blues’ first-choice goalkeeper – Rohit Ravi

Spain – Dani Olmo

Player rating – 7.3/10

One of the 3 players to play all 270 minutes for Spain, Olmo has been integral to La Roja. Playing for a Luis Enrique side is a task, let alone keeping your place in the side. Olmo’s versatility in attack gives Spain and their midfield freedom and options to play into. A goal and an assist against Costa Rica and the 5 chances created overall are a telling contribution from Olmo. His presence causes havoc to any opponent’s defence & he has been Spain’s most consistent attacker at the World Cup – John Mathew

Group F

Morocco – Hakim Ziyech

Player rating – 7.4/10

How crazy is it that Ziyech retired from international football just a few months before the World Cup, only for him to be Morocco’s best player at the same tournament. The Chelsea playmaker has carried this Morroco team leading them to a top-placed finish in the group stages. The left-footed magician was instrumental in beating Belgium, and his goal against Canada ensured that the Atlas Lions made it to the round of 16 of the World Cup for the first time since 1986 – Rohit Ravi

Croatia – Joško Gvardiol

Player rating – 7.5/10

A 20 year old warrior, Gvardiol has been touted as a prospect for some time now, but this World Cup group stage showed that he has come of age. A rock in defence and transitions, he enables Croatia to play out & build from the back in possession. In fact, a deeper look can even lead to the conclusion that he is the reason why Croatia are through, owing to that last ditch block on Lukaku to wrestle out a draw and knock out Belgium. Lovren is nearing his twilight, the heroics of Vida are fading; but now there’s Josko Gvardiol who is ever reliant. One to watch – John Mathew

Best defenders from group stages of qualified teams FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar
Best defenders from group stages of qualified teams FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar

Group G

Brazil – Casemiro

Player rating – 8.1/10

Casemiro has been an ever-present force in the Seleção’s midfield. At 30 years of age, Casemiro is still playing at the highest level of football and has been Brazil’s most important player in the group stages. With his customary ability to be the primary destroyer in midfield & his passing range, he is critical to this Brazil side. Racking up 5 shots, the defensive midfielder is tied for second only to Rodrygo when it comes to SoT. Casemiro also excels at progressive passes, with the most (16) on the team. Casemiro’s defensive ability is second only to Alex Sandro’s, with 9 tackles and 11 interceptions. The Manchester United midfielder is the engine of this Brazil side & has been crucial in their impressive World Cup performances so far – JX Chen

Switzerland – Yann Sommer

Player rating – 7/10

Switzerland’s best player in the tournament has undoubtedly been Yann Sommer. Despite missing the final group stage game against Serbia, where Gregor Kobel allowed two goals, Sommer has an impressive 90% save percentage, making nine saves in two games and conceding one goal on a 2.1 PSxG. The Mönchengladbach goalkeeper is also important in Switzerland’s build-up, ranking second in terms of progressive passing distance (866m) and third in defensive third touches (89). Sommer is not only a fantastic goalkeeper, but he also allows Switzerland to build effectively from the back – JX Chen

Group H

Portugal – Bruno Fernandes

Player rating – 7.8/10

Bruno Fernandes has been one of the World Cup’s most prolific and lethal attackers in the tournament so far. Despite only playing 2 matches, Bruno has lead the Seleção das Quinas’ attacking line, scoring 2 and providing 2 assists. He also ranks first in progressive passes, with his 15 outshining second-placed Cancelo’s 9. Fernandes also contributes defensively, securing the most blocks for his team with 4. His overall gameplay allows Portugal to turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye & he is perhaps the most important cog in the Portuguese attack – JX Chen

South Korea – Cho Gue Sung

Player rating – 7.3/10

Cho Gue Sung has been South Korea’s standout performer of the group stages. While many expected Son Heung Min to dominate this World Cup, the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors forward has instead impressed and filled the void left by Son’s underwhelming performances. Cho is the clinical finisher South Korea once lacked, ranking first in goals, shots, shots on target, and expected goals. In addition, Cho has excellent positioning and has received 11 progressive passes this tournament, second only to Son’s 18. If the Taegeuk Warriors are to keep their run going, he must maintain his rich vein of form – JX Chen

Also read: France – Tactical Analysis: FIFA WC 2022

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