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World Cup 2018: Best XI from knocked out teams

Nived Zenith
Top 5 / Top 10
3.50K   //    29 Jun 2018, 19:31 IST

RB: Ramin Rezaeian (Iran)

Rezaeian impressed for Iran against the heavyweights in Group B
Rezaeian impressed for Iran against the heavyweights in Group B

Iran have the joint-best defensive record among the teams to have been knocked out of the tournament, alongside Peru, and Ramin Rezaeian was involved significantly in their resolute defensive performances against the heavyweights in Group B in the form of Spain and Portugal.

Rezaeian had to go up against the likes of Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo during Iran's second and third games of the tournament respectively and the full-back more than held his own against the glowing reputation of his counterparts.

CB: Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)

Without the shadow of a doubt, Senegal were the unluckiest team to get knocked out after the group stages after they were eliminated on the basis of their disciplinary record. Unfortunately for Kalidou Koulibaly, who was one of their top performers, the tournament came to an abrupt end after it got off to a very promising start.

Koulibaly was excellent in the air and equally good and comfortable while playing the ball out from the back. To add a bit more misery to the unlucky story of this man, Koulibaly did not pick up a single booking out of the 5 yellow cards (1 more than Japan who progressed to the next round) they picked up over the course of the tournament which paved the way for their exit.

CB: Medhi Benatia (Morocco)

Portugal v Morocco: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Mehdi Benatia

The curious case of Morocco was yet another unfortunate event that unfolded over the group stages of the tournament. A late own goal against Iran in their opening game dampened their hopes but they came out all guns blazing against Portugal only to be undone by the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo. However, they salvaged some pride with a 2-2 draw against Spain in their final game, even though Medhi Benatia played no part in it.

Benatia's excellent prowess in the air while defending and attacking coupled with his rich wealth of experience at the highest level in club football is a boon to any side and his leadership abilities are also admirable.

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia)

This is almost a no-brainer considering the kind of performances he has showcased for Serbia over the course of the group games in the tournament. Kolarov's relentless desire to work up and down the flanks almost tipped Serbia over to the knockout stages of the competition but in the end, they fell just short of it.

Kolarov's free-kick against Costa Rica proved yet again that his left-foot can work wonders from set-piece routines and he did a commendable job against Brazil as well, despite having nothing to show for it.