World Cup Team of the Tournament - Group Stage

By Samuel Fuller
Jun. 29, 2018

When I graded each match in the 2014 World Cup, I used a weird, self-developed metric of pluses and minuses. While it worked, and I'm still happy with the results to this day, I thought I should make the grading metric a lot more straight forward (and, in turn, much easier to both analyse and understand). Then I thought back to the last thing I graded on a game-to-game basis: the Green Bay Packers. And what did I do for that? A normal, school-like GPA grading scale:

A+: 4.5; A: 4; A-: 3.67; B+: 3.33; B: 3; B-: 2.67; C+: 2.33; C: 2; C-: 1.67; D+: 1.33; D: 1; D-: 0.5; and F: 0

Anyone that simply passed high school in the U.S. can understand this grading scale. I reward near-perfect performance with an extra .22; hence the 4.5 for an A+, and I penalized a near-failure by taking away an extra .167, so a 0.5 for a D-. Easy, right? Now with that explained, let's get right into the World Cup Team of the Tournament:

FIRST TEAM

GK: Guillermo Ochoa - Mexico, 32, Standard Liege (Belgium) - 3.95 GPA

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov - Serbia, 32, Roma (Italy) - 3.22 GPA

CB: Yerry Mina - Colombia, 23, Barcelona (Spain) - 3.67 GPA

CB: Andreas Granqvist - Sweden, 33, Krasnodar (Russia) - 3.56 GPA

RB: Kieran Trippier - England, 27, Tottenham (England) - 3.5 GPA

MF: Carlos Sanchez - Uruguay, 33, Monterrey (Mexico) - 3.67 GPA

MF: Luka Modric - Croatia, 32, Real Madrid (Spain) - 3.64 GPA

MF: Keisuke Honda - Japan, 32, Pachuca (Mexico) - 3.5 GPA

FW: Harry Kane - England, 24, Tottenham (England) - 4.5 GPA

FW: Romelu Lukaku - Belgium, Manchester United (England) - 4.5 GPA

FW: Eden Hazard - Belgium, 27, Chelsea (England) - 4.08 GPA

SECOND TEAM:

GK: Kasper Schmeichel - Denmark, 31, Leicester (England) - 3.56 GPA

LB: Ludwig Augustinsson - Sweden, 24, Werder Bremen (Germany) - 3 GPA

CB: Jose Maria Gimenez - Uruguay, 23, Atletico Madrid (Spain) - 3.42 GPA

CB: John Stones - England, 24, Manchester City (England) - 3.28 GPA

RB: Birkir Saevarsson - Iceland, 33, Valur (Iceland) - 3.11 GPA

MF: Philippe Coutinho - Brazil, 26, Barcelona (Spain) - 3.45 GPA

MF: Aleksandr Golovin - Russia, 22, CSKA Moscow (Russia) - 3.33 GPA

MF: Juan Quintero - Colombia, 25, Porto (Portugal) - 3.33 GPA

FW: Diego Costa - Spain, 29, Atletico Madrid (Spain) - 3.82 GPA

FW: Denis Cheryshev - Russia, 27, Villarreal (Spain) - 3.7 GPA

FW: Dries Mertens - Belgium, Napoli (Italy) - 3.64 GPA

THIRD TEAM:

GK: Robin Olsen - Sweden, 28, Copenhagen (Denmark) - 3.5 GPA

LB: Lucas Hernandez - France, 22, Atletico Madrid (Spain) - 2.89 GPA

CB: Diego Godin - Uruguay, 32, Atletico Madrid (Spain) - 3.11 GPA

CB: Marcos Rojo - Argentina, 28, Manchester United (England) - 3.17 GPA

RB: Dani Carvajal - Spain, 26, Real Madrid - 3 GPA

MF: Ivan Rakitic - Croatia, 30, Barcelona (Spain) - 3.28 GPA

MF: Andres Iniesta - Spain, 34, Vissel Kobe (Japan) - 3.22 GPA

MF: Paul Pogba - France, 25, Manchester United (England) - 3.17 GPA

FW: Neymar - Brazil, 26, Paris SG (France) - 3.56 GPA

FW: Xherdan Shaqiri - Switzerland, 26, Stoke (England) - 3.5 GPA

FW: Wahbi Khazri - Tunisia, 27, Sunderland (England) - 3.5 GPA

HONORABLE MENTION (only including players with more matches to play):

David Ospina, GK, Colombia

Yuto Nagatomo, LB, Japan

Simon Kjaer, CB, Denmark

Carlos Salcedo, CB, Mexico

Mario Fernandes, RB, Russia

Kevin De Bruyne, AM, Belgium

Jesse Lingard, AM, England

Isco, AM, Spain

Cristiano Ronaldo, ST, Portugal

Carlos Vela, CF, Mexico

Takashi Inui, LW, Japan