Croatia beat England in the second semi-finals on Wednesday to set up the blockbuster clash with France in the 2018 World Cup final on Sunday.
This World Cup has witnessed some great football and stunning goals over the last few weeks. Harry Kane leads the goal-scoring chart with 6 goals so far.
Football is not just about scoring goals, the hardest part is creating them. Creativity is one of the major factors that determine the success of a team. One key reason why England, Belgium, Croatia, and France have qualified for the semifinals was because of their creativity and the presence of quality playmakers.
Players like Eden Hazard, Lionel Messi, Mbappe, Mesut Ozil, Carlos Vela, Aleksandr Golovin, Joshua Kimmich, and Aaron Moy created a lot of scoring opportunities for their respective teams in the group stages of the tournament. But the ones on this list did it consistently throughout the World Cup and feature in the top five.
Without much ado, let’s take a look at the 5 most creative players at the 2018 World Cup.
#5 Philippe Coutinho - 13 chances created
Philippe Coutinho arrived at the World Cup after a good finish to his 2017-18 season at the Camp Nou. Deployed behind Gabriel Jesus as a number 10 at the World Cup, the Brazilian was phenomenal in the tournament and played the playmaker role to perfection.
Neymar grabbed all the headlines but it was Coutinho who showed consistent quality on the pitch throughout the World Cup. Coutinho linked up well with Neymar and the duo created most of the scoring opportunities for Brazil.
The 26-year-old created 13 chances in 5 games, which equates to 3.3 chances per game. Coutinho did not just stop with creating goals, he scored two himself. His pass accuracy was close to 90 percent in the tournament.
#4 Luka Modric - 16 chances created
Luka Modric’s Croatia are in the finals of the World Cup for the first time in their history. Zlatko Dalic’s side stunned England 2-1 in the semi-finals on Wednesday in a thrilling encounter at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Luka Modric, the four time Champions League winner from Real Madrid, has been the star so far for the Croatian side. The 32-year-old has scored two goals and assisted one more in the World Cup.
There is no denying the fact that Luka Modric is one of the best creative players in the world right now. Modric has created 16 chances in the tournament and has been the engine room behind Croatia’s attacking play. A World Cup win in Russia could put him on the driver's seat to claim his first Ballon d’Or award.
#3 Kieran Trippier - 17 chances created
The Three Lions were knocked out of the 2018 World Cup by Croatia in the semi-finals. Though Harry Kane was the star for England in Russia with all his goals, Tripper deserved a lot of credit for his performances at the World Cup.
The 27-year-old right back scored a crucial goal for England in the semifinal against Croatia but was unlucky to leave the field injured during extra time.
England scored most of their goals from set pieces and Trippier was one to deliver most of them. His set-piece deliveries and crosses from open play were simply spectacular to watch.
The Tottenham Hotspur star has created 17 goal scoring chances in the tournament so far. He is definitely one of England’s best performers at the World Cup.
#2 Kevin de Bruyne - 17 chances created
Kevin de Bruyne is definitely one of the standout players at the 2018 World Cup. The Belgian has played well in the midfield and was the key to linking defense and attack. He took them to the semi-finals of the World Cup and was unlucky to end up on the losing side.
The 27-year-old has scored a goal and assisted one more in the tournament. He also created a total of 17 chances (3.4 per game) for his teammates. The Manchester City star was sublime throughout the World Cup and played some excellent football.
Kevin De Bruyne’s vision and passing ability has troubled most of the opponents in the tournament. He has also completed 54 passes and 2.2 crosses per game so far. His long balls to Romelu Lukaku have been really effective on numerous occasions.
#1 Neymar - 23 chances created
Neymar has been the most creative player at the 2018 World Cup by some distance. Though the Samba Boys were knocked out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals, the 26-year-old seemingly played well throughout the tournament.
The Brazilian scored two goals and assisted one more at the World Cup. He stands atop the list when it comes to creating goal scoring opportunities. Neymar has created a total of 23 chances (5.6 per game) in five games at the World Cup.
He also successfully completed 4.4 dribbles per game at the tournament. Deployed on the left flank by Tite, Neymar was the major creative force for Brazil. His teammates’ inability to convert chances cost Brazil the tournament.