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World Cup 2018: 5 best players from the group stage

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3.87K   //    30 Jun 2018, 02:59 IST

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku celebrates one of his goals against Tunisia

Since the World Cup began, it has been seen as the perfect platform for players to elevate their respective levels, attracting interest from the world's best sides while placing their names in history forever.

The 2018 World Cup in Russia has been no exception, either. In this feature, we take a look at the five best players from the group stages - highlighting those who have performed well for their respective nations, justifying their importance within the team. As always though, there will be some notable absences and some surprise admissions in this list. 

Honourable mentions include Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, Uruguay centre-back José Gimenez, Russia's Aleksandr Golovin, Mexico winger Hirving Lozano, England captain Harry Kane, Spain's Diego Costa and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Without further ado, let's begin this list:

#5 Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku, who has four goals in two tournament appearances thus far, has impressed in front of goal while proving a menace for opposition defences too. The argument can be made that he's only performed well against Panama and Tunisia, but you can only play against the opposition you're grouped with. What better way to kick off the top five than with a goalscorer who has received ongoing criticism after an underwhelming club campaign at Manchester United?

Joint-second alongside Cristiano Ronaldo with the hunt for the Golden Boot accolade set to intensify, the 25-year-old has shown a willingness to spearhead this current Belgium crop to glory, partnered by Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne - two stars in their own right. 

He's taken less shots than both Ronaldo and Kane, netted more in less minutes (149) while utilising his physical presence to good use. It's increasingly clear that he will play a pivotal role in determining whether Belgium are to enjoy success in the coming weeks, as the knockout stages begin this weekend. 

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