By Bobby Jay
As the 2022 FIFA world cup takes its concluding phase, this tournament has boasted upsets, thrillers, and massacres amongst others. With the incumbent Mundial seeing veterans take their last shot at glory, youngsters attempting to get their names on the radar, and coaches stepping down after failing the faith of their respective football nations, this piece takes a close look at some of the most impressive players thus far.
Yassine Bounou (Morocco). (10/10)
The Seville-based shot-stopper has put in a player-of-the-tournament performance across the tournament so far. He has racked up 4 clean sheets in 5 games and has not conceded a goal from an opposition (the lone goal he has conceded thus far has come off teammate Nayef Aguerd). Building on his penalty shootout heroics against La Furia Roja, he went on to shut out the Portuguese national team and send Morocco into the semi-finals. The first African nation to achieve this feat.
Dominik Livakovic (Croatia). (9/10)
The second goalkeeper to deservingly make this list. The Dinamo Zagreb stopper has now made 20 saves across 5 games in this tourney also adding two clean sheets to his slate. Livakovic saved 3 of the 4 penalties hit by the Samurai Blue in the round of 16 then one more to thwart Rodrygo Goes in the last 8. Sending the Samba boys-supposed tournament favorites back home and Croatia to their second consecutive World cup semi-final.
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco). 8.5/10
The former Real Madrid full-back has complimented Hakim Ziyech’s fine resurgence up front by putting in equally impressive outings from the back. He has accumulated 13 tackles, 7 clearances and interceptions apiece, 4 headed clearances and 1 assist across the Mundial. The PSG defender has demonstrated remarkable home training by celebrating every victory by rushing to the stands to kiss and pay respect to his Mother.
Harry Maguire (England). 7.5/10
The Manchester United captain continues to impress on the international stage oblivious to his woes at the club level. He unarguably remains the nation’s best defender. He made the 2018 world cup team of the tournament and has thus far offered a defensive stint showcasing 18 clearances, 4 interceptions, 9 headed clearances and 1 assist (same as former English midfielder David Beckham).
Bruno Miguel Borges Fernandes (Portugal). 8/10
The Portuguese magnifico has come into this tournament on the renewed form. Boasting 5 goal involvements, a tally only bettered by Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. The gameplay of the Selecao has revolved around him over the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, and Joao Felix.
Kylian Mbappe Lottin (France). 9/10
The 2018 world cup young player of this tournament has come into this edition showcasing exactly why he was deserving of that award 4 years ago. The Frenchman has grounded himself as the best young player in world football. So far in this world cup, he has scored 5 and assisted a further 2. In the 2 editions he has played at just 24 years, he has 9 goals (more than Portuguese Talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and one less than Argentinian skipper Leo Messi). His presence alone up front will constantly remain a terror to defenders the world over. It will be interesting to see what awards he carts away come to the end of this tournament and the season at large.