There have been many scintillating midfield performances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Some of football's top midfielders turned on the style in Qatar and we're grateful for it.
While it's the flashy forwards that mostly walk away with the plaudits, it's the midfielders that are the heart and soul of any football team. They say that football games are won in midfield and the battles that play out in the center of the park usually dictate which way a game will go.
The midfield is where the intelligence and technical skills of footballers are put to the test. Space is scarce in midfield because traffic is dense. Keeping hold of the ball in midfield or winning it back to alter the flow of the game are all extremely important aspects of the game.
Casual fans usually love the forwards while the purists celebrate the midfielders and for good reason. Without further ado, let's take a look at five of the best midfielders in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
#5 Aurelien Tchouameni (France)
Stepping into N'Golo Kante's shoes is as daunting a task as it can get. But Real Madrid's big-money signing Aurelien Tchouameni slotted in at the base of France's midfield as though he's always belonged there.
Tchouameni's game-reading and defensive abilities belie his age and he added steel to France's midfield. The Real Madrid man proved to be an excellent shield for his defenders but it was his tidyness on the ball that really set him apart.
Tchouameni had a pass completion rate of 90.4% at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. So in addition to being an excellent midfield destroyer, he was someone his teammates could always trust with the ball.
The 22-year-old is already one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and the 2022 FIFA World Cup would have been a great learning curve for him.
#4 Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)
Enzo Fernandez's entry into the fray was a turning point in Argentina's triumphant World Cup campaign. Heading into the tournament, Fernandez was not a starter for Argentina but he grabbed the limited opportunities he got off the bench in the first two games and made an impression.
Fernandez is not only gifted in a technical sense, but he is also a tireless worker in midfield. He did not back down for a second and if he wasn't chasing the ball down, he was creating chances for his side with his exquisite passing and vision.
Fernandez was progressive with the ball at his feet and sturdy during defensive transitions. After arriving in Qatar as a midfielder with a lot of potential, Fernandez will return to his club with the 'Young Player of the Tournament' award. His stocks have also risen considerably in the last month.
#3 Luka Modric (Croatia)
Four years back, when Luka Modric's heroics fired Croatia to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, the narrative was that it was going to be the legendary midfielder's last hurrah in the world stage.
Four years later, Modric has made a mockery of our predictions and has motored through the grounds in Qatar like an absolute baller in his prime. He dictated proceedings for Croatia in authoritative fashion and manipulated time and space as we have gotten used to seeing him do.
The 37-year-old played 656 out of a possible 690 minutes for Croatia at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Modric presented himself everywhere, winning the ball back by making efficient challenges and orchestrating play with his outrageous passing range.
Modric made the most progressive passes (61) of all players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
#2 Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco)
Morocco was perhaps the most impressive team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It was a concerted effort from the Atlas Lions as they made history by becoming the first African nation to progress to the semi-finals of a World Cup. Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat was one of the heroes of their historic campaign.
Amrabat hunted down balls with a vengeance and covered every blade of grass in his vicinity. At times it even looked like he was doing the work of two players as he appeared to be everywhere.
Not only was he excellent as a midfield destroyer, leading the charts for most recoveries (57) at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but he was also neat in possession. He also covered an incredible 70.58 kms in six appearances in the tournament.
Amrabat showed incredible resolve in defense and a great deal of technical proficiency every time he emerged from the crowd and released his team on a sweeping counter attack. He is one of the stars of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
#1 Antoine Griezmann (France)
Antoine Griezmann was the beating heart of the French side that came ever so close to winning a second successive World Cup. The dynamic Atletico Madrid man was in sublime form as a number 10 and Dider Deschamps' ever-reliable deputy did not disappont him this time either.
In the absence of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante, France were expected to suffer in midfield. While Aurelien Tchoumaeni lent them a great deal of defensive solidity in the center of the park, it was Griezmann's workrate and creativity that helped set them apart.
He toiled and never compromised on functionality or efficiency in his efforts to infuse creativity into France's attacks. Griezmann finished the 2022 FIFA World Cup as the joint-top assist provider with three to his name from seven appearances.
He averaged 3.5 key passes per game and also made the second-most recoveries among French players. Griezmann also created the most chances (21) at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
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