What a ride. The 2022 World Cup has drawn to a close in a spectacular fashion. Messi finally got his trophy. Morocco made history. Mbappé was (almost) unstoppable. For some, dreams came true, for others, hopes were crushed. Here’s our Dream Team for this year’s tournament.
Goalkeeper – Emiliano Martinez
Although he conceded 7 times throughout the tournament, the Argentinian goalie Emiliano Martinez deserved to win the Golden Glove, an award for the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
The Aston Villa number 1 has only 26 caps for Argentina but has already won the Copa America and the World Cup. He was the difference in the Quarterfinals against the Netherlands by saving two attempts in the shootout. He was there to deny Kolo Muani the winner in the dying seconds of extra time in the Final. And once again, he made his presence clear in the penalty shootout by saving Kingsley Coman’s attempt and throwing Aurelien Tchouameni off enough for him to miss as well.
You may not like him for his sh*thousery, but you have to admit it – it worked wonders. Notable mentions: Bono, Livaković, Szczęsny.
Defenders – Kyle Walker, Joško Gvardiol, Romain Saïss, Ivan Perišić
We’ll admit it. We were rather tempted to fill the back line with nearly all Moroccan players and for sure, there are many who deserve to be on this list (i.e. Hakimi, Hernandez) but for the sake of balance, we’re going with Walker, Gvardiol, Saïss and Perišić. Yes, Perišić has a lot of running to do in this line-up but he has proven time and time again that he is more than capable of that. Although not always shining at the club level, the Spurs winger is one of Croatia’s cornerstones of back-to-back Semifinals.
Hernandez, whilst providing assists and goals at the front, made many critical errors at the back, which leaves the French left-back on the bench for now.
Kyle Walker earns the nod for proving his value against Kylian Mbappé, who created only one chance against the City right-back. Gvardiol – you’ll remember him for his Zorro mask – had one of the breakthrough performances of the tournament. The 20-year-old displayed his talent with interceptions, confidence on the ball, and well-timed tackles.
And then we have Romain Saïss, the captain of the Morocco side. Even when struggling with injuries, he gave his all (and more), only to finally be subbed off against France in the Semifinals. Besides his defensive contributions that saw Morocco only conceding 2 goals while the center-back was on the pitch, he also scored the opener against Belgium and led his side to a shocking 2-0 win in the Group Stage match.
Midfield – Sofyan Amrabat, Antoine Griezmann, Enzo Fernández
Although going through the tournament without a goal or an assist, Sofyan Amrabat never stopped running, never stopped doing the dirty work, and never stopped making the crucial interception or tackle. Time will tell, will he stay in Fiorentina or not?
Next to him, we have Antoine Griezmann, who could’ve been the tournament’s best player, weren’t for the likes of Messi and Mbappé. Griezmann has had a tremendous impact on the French side, even when his performances at the club level have been lacking, to say the least.
Formerly a pure striker, Griezmann has taken on the role of #10 exceptionally well, supporting his teammates wherever and whenever needed. No goals, but 3 assists and tons of defensive contributions. Unfortunately, he failed to have a positive impact on the final, but his unselfishness is to be admired.
Enzo Fernández earned the award for the best young player of the 2022 World Cup, despite not being a part of the starting line-up in the opening games of the tournament. The youngster playing in Benfica already has the likes of Liverpool and PSG knocking at his door, so a near-future transfer might be in the works.
Notable mentions: Mateo Kovacic and Luka Modric, the tireless engines of Croatia’s midfield.
Frontline – Kylian Mbappé, Olivier Giroud, Lionel Messi
With the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema out of the tournament, Giroud rose to the occasion, ending the tournament with 4 goals. This also took the AC Milan striker to the very top of the French side’s goal scorers table, having found the back of the net 53 times. Similarly to Griezmann, he was quickly subbed off in the final, when Didier Deschamps grasped to find a working formation versus Argentina.
As for Mbappé and Messi, do we really need to say more? Messi led his team to their first World Cup triumph in 36 years and is now widely recognized as the GOAT. Plus 7 goals and 3 assists. Just… unstoppable.
Mbappé scored a hat-trick in the final, claimed the Golden Boot with 8 (!) goals to his name, and still went home with a Silver medal. Nevertheless, he is 24 and has plenty of time to shine even brighter than he has.
Notable mention: Julián Álvarez, who was a brilliant move by Argentina’s head coach, coming on as a replacement for the underperforming Lautaro Martinez. He created spaces for Messi and netted 4 goals himself. Definitely one of the breakout stars of the tournament. Also Richarlison, but Brazil’s tournament ended somewhat prematurely.
So there you have it. Did we miss anybody? Who would you’ve picked for your Dream Team? Let’s chat in OlyBet socials.