2018 World Cup best starting XI: Kane, Hazard, Lukaku among CBS Sports' All-Tournament Team; Cristiano Ronaldo, Mbappe on bench

There are only two matches remaining in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The final between France and Croatia is on Sunday and the third-place match between England and Belgium is on Saturday. We've seen plenty of great performances so far through 62 matches, and plenty of players have stood out from the rest of the pack. We've seen 161 goals scored, and some players have stepped up out of nowhere while some stars have not lived up to the hype and many young players have made a name for themselves on the international stage. So with that said, who have been the best players in the tournament? 

Upon further reflection, below you will find our team of the tournament. We picked a 4-4-2 formation for the best starting XI possible.

CBS Sports' All-World Cup Team

Illustration by Igor Mello

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois, Belgium

Made some absolutely stunning saves, especially against Brazil and France, which helped cement himself as the top goalkeeper in the tournament. A fantastic display by the big Belgian. 

Left back: Diego Laxalt, Uruguay

This is a guy who is a left midfielder, but he showed his ability to play at left back and starred. He was so determined, with so much energy, and he greatly boosted a Uruguay team that made it into the quarterfinals. The Genoa man has likely earned a move to a bigger club this summer. 

Center back: Domagoj Vida, Croatia

The Besiktas man has been great at this tournament, coming up with timely tackles, playing with as much heart and determination. Not the most skilled player, but he's been tough and has really come up big, especially in those extra time matches. A late bloomer in his career at 29, he's been so sharp and has certainly earned some interest from big clubs.

Center back: Yerry Mina, Colombia 

He did it all, but scoring three goals as a defender? Wow. A master in the air on set pieces, as he showed in Russia, combined with his tackles and ability to defend in the air, makes him a standout who should only continue to grow at Barcelona. 

Right back: Benjamin Pavard, France

I'll admit I didn't know much about this kid before the tournament. I remembered him briefly at Lille, but he earned a move to Stuttgart in 2016 and took off. A flexible defender who can also play centrally, he scored the golazo against Argentina, has been great at the back and has also been creative in the final third when needed. 

Central defensive mid: N'Golo Kante, France

The best central defensive mid there is. He is an absolute star who hustles more than anybody. From Leicester City to the World Cup final, it's been an amazing last few years for Kante, who has become the heart and soul of this France squad in the middle. 

Center mid: Luka Modric, Croatia 

Maybe the best player of the tournament. He is the definition of midfield maestro, pulling all the strings, using his body to shield off defenders and put the ball where he wants to. As classy of a midfielder as you'll find. 

Left mid: Eden Hazard, Belgium 

Drove some defenses crazy with his ability to have the ball glued to his feet, and his speed just blew people out of the water. Didn't do a whole lot of scoring, but he had two against Tunisia and was just a terror. 

Right mid: Denis Cheryshev, Russia

It looked like he wasn't going to be on the final Russia squad, but he barely made it and came away with four goals to help his team in the knockout stage. A great tournament where he showed his true quality, but now he needs to find a club outside of Spain to continue to grow. It hasn't gone well for him in Spain over the last several years and a move is needed. He proved this summer he can be the guy.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku, Belgium

Four goals scored, but just as important was his ability to set up teammates like Kevin De Bruyne against Brazil or pull defenders away like on the winning goal against Japan. Often dogged for his first touch and missing easy chances, he's young and growing and came up big at the World Cup.

Striker: Harry Kane, England

Lots of penalty kicks goals, but you can't leave the top scorer at the World Cup off the list. Was great in the group stage but struggled a bit in the knockout stage. Still, he was a leader and is the face of this England team. Better things could be coming for a player who is now, without a doubt, one of the top-tier strikers in the world.


Of the seven allowed subs, here are the players that earned a spot on our bench.

Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal: Wasn't super convincing, and the hat trick against Spain didn't really feel like one with a bad penalty kick call and a David De Gea blunder, but he came up big overall in the group stage, with his goal against Morocco proving vital. 

Forward: Kylian Mbappe, France: Three goals for the Paris Saint-Germain rising superstar and some flashy moves in the process. Tore up a poor Argentina team but was pretty quiet in the group stage. Only going to get better.

Midfielder: Philippe Coutinho, Brazil: Thought he was Brazil's best player in attack, which is crazy to think if you remember where he came from. Struggling at Inter Milan and not showing enough to be considered a star, he blows up at Liverpool, earns a move to Barcelona and turned into one of Brazil's best at this World Cup. He's creative, he can score and do it all in attack. 

Midfielder: Ivan Rakitic, Croatia: The Barcelona midfielder has been clutch in penalty kicks and just so good on the ball, pairing with Luka Modric in a midfield that rivals any. He's been one of the leaders of the team and just misses out on our starting XI.  

Defense: Diego Gordin, Uruguay: Had a fine tournament, leading his team at the back as always. Wasted a great chance to score against France but was still the man in the back third.

Defense: Andreas Granqvist, Sweden: The big Swedish captain was huge for his country as it made it to the quarterfinals. He scored some penalty kicks and also was just a tower at the back clearing everything. 

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford, England: Edges Danijel Subasic of Croatia for his monster saves, especially against Colombia. Had a big tournament and is entering almost star status for how he carried England at the back.


Zlatko Dalic, Croatia: Come on, this guy took Croatia to the World Cup final. Something tells me we see him at a very big club before long. You likely don't know anything about him when he played, and from 2010 to just last year, he was coaching in Saudi Arabia. But after Ante Cacic was let go last October, Dalic came on board and had made an impact, helping this team turn things around. Don't forget, Croatia barely made the World Cup, and now he has them on the verge of the title. 

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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