World Cup 2018: Team of the tournament, round one
The 2018 World Cup has surpassed expectations and has seen some quite brilliant performances. With the first round of fixtures having gotten over, we at SK pick our team of the tournament so far:
It's not an easy task, and whatever suggestions/criticism you may have, please do not hesitate to point it out in the comments section below:
Please note that this does NOT take into account games played for round 2.
GK: Hannes Halldorsson
From directing films to stopping Lionel Messi from twelve yards, Hannes Halldorsson's tale is one of those that warms the cockles of even the coldest of hearts - and is what makes World Cup football such an intriguing entity.
Halldorsson read Messi's intentions perfectly from the spot, and he was splendid throughout as Argentina peppered his goal with shots (there's no way, we can blame him for the Aguero ball -- that was a helluva shot). There have been some splendid keeping displays already (hello, Guillermo Ochoa) but Halldorsson deserves his place on this list
CB: Fabian Schar
The Swiss must have been expecting a battering going into a game with arguably the most flamboyant team in the cup (judging by the Qualifiers) - but with Fabian Schar, and the equally brilliant Manuel Akanji at the heart of that Swiss rearguard, they did brilliantly to stop the Brazilians.
His last-minute clearance on the line was a match-defining moment, and he put his body on the line for many a shot. As with Halldorsson, can't blame the defender(s) for Coutinho's magic shot!
CB: Hugo Ayala
We could put any one of the Mexican back-line here and we'd have done them justice. El Tri were immense at the back against the might of the German attack - reducing them to hopeful punts into the box and shots from distance, and we've picked Ayala for his massive command of his own box and the calm organisation of his defence.
He's 31 and has played all his life in the Mexican domestic set-up... but this could be the tournament where he truly breaks into the world's spotlight.
CB: Aleksander Kolarov
The Serbian captain was immense in their first match - his defending astute, his crossing excellent, his work-rate faultless. He's a true leader, too, and his presence oozes calm and authority across the backline - but it's his set-piece ability that truly sets him apart.
That freekick he scored from - right out of the top drawer, arguably the best of the tournament so far (and we've seen some lovely set-piece goals)