With just a few days to go for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the buzz around the best individual players is already on the rise. Forwards are often tipped to be the frontrunners to define a team’s strength. Had that been the case, Argentina team would have probably been a strong side right now. Then comes the defense; a four, five, or three men system that is considered pivotal to any team’s success.
No matter how strong defense is, goals can and have been scored against them. Then what exactly makes a side invincible? The only remaining part of a football pitch, the midfield. From defending a corner kick to set up the counter-attack, everything is looked after by the Midfielders. Magicians, maestros, and what not? Midfielders have found themselves titles that seem to be far-fetched but are fittingly perfect for them.
Best Midfielders of FIFA World Cup 2018
Be it Kevin De Bruyne’s brilliance that made Manchester City look like invincibles, or be it Andres Iniesta who has kept FC Barcelona’s legacy intact; Midfielders have always been the main reason for any club’s success. Come 14th June, and the side that has the strongest midfield will find themselves ahead of others. With so much depending on them, it is always crucial to chalk out the players who can have a telling role in their team’s success. A team’s chances directly depend on how strong they are in the midfield. After analyzing the entire squads, here are five of the strongest Midfielders from each side who’ll be carrying the baton for their nation.
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
After gifting consistency to his topsy-turvy club side, Manchester City, it will be time for the Belgian to take his national side to the ultimate glory. He was at the helm of an average looking Manchester City squad that ran riots in the English Premier League this season. Termed as “Golden Generation,” KDB is the key man of a Belgium squad that is right on top of the contender’s list in Russia. An all and all attacking midfielder, De Bruyne can stun the opponent’s defense out of nowhere with drop-dead accuracy. His accurate forward deliveries to pick out Lukaku and his quick link up with Carrasco and Witsel will be pivotal when Belgium play the traditional contenders of the tournament.
Paul Pogba (France)
He had disputes with his manager at Manchester United and defense for some time due to poor form, but he did not bow down. He fought the onset of desperation to become an as part of his squad even against the manager’s liking. He checkmated all his critics with a series of match-winning performances. With the national jersey on, his performances peaked further. His stellar lacks against England in a 3-2 win for France was one of the best performances by a midfielder in recent times. With N’Golo Kante backing him up, he is going to be one serious threat to anyone and everyone who stands in the way of France and the World Cup title.
Andres Iniesta (Spain)
It was the round of 16 games in the UEFA Champions League against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea had somehow managed to keep Barcelona under control despite Messi and Co trying everything to break their defense. It took some magic on the left from Iniesta to find Lionel Messi who did the rest. With him already hanging his shoes at Camp Nou, it will likely be his last World Cup for Spain. Already a champion once, he will be itching to make the FIFA World Cup title a full stop to his legendary career. He has been sensational throughout this season and will be the key for Spain who lacks any firepower upfront. Iniesta will play the role of a finisher as well along with his regular role as a driving midfielder.
Mesut Ozil (Germany)
Why him ahead of Toni Kroos? The ones who have watched his performances for the German side will agree with the fact that Ozil has been involved in more chances than anyone else in the German squad. Despite having a forgettable season with Arsenal, Mesut Ozil didn’t let his form take a dip. His finishing has not been at his best, but his accuracy and chance-creating abilities are pure vintages. He can drop back to help the defense and step up to kill off any half chance that comes their way. He is the kind of player every side desires to have. If the defending champions are to repeat their success in Russia too, Mesut Ozil’s form will be crucial for them. If he delivers, he surely will be a top contender for the top player in the World Cup.
Jesse Lingard (England)
England is short on experience but full of talent and at the center of that talented squad stands Jesse Lingard. Playing as an attacker under Jose Mourinho, Lingard dropped down to the midfield under Gareth Southgate. Despite the change, he has been in superb form linking up passes with Dele Alli to setup all the finishing chances for Rashford, Kane, and Vardy upfront. For England to win, Harry Kane will have to score. For Harry Kane to score, Jesse Lingard will have to get his crosses and through balls right to set Kane up. He has done an excellent job so far and looking at the way he has done it; it won’t be wrong to expect the same, if not better, from him at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.