- 19 March
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Mbappe, Maguire and the World Cup Team of the Group Stages
Kylian Mbappe leads scoring at the World Cup in Qatar with three goals for champions France, while Harry Maguire has shone for England despite his Manchester United troubles.
It has been a thrilling group stage in Qatar, with more drama still to unfold before the final at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on 18 December. Mbappe might have been expected to impress, but Maguire's international form has been a welcome reminder there is a fine defender in there after all.
Who else makes the cut?
READ: World Cup 2022: Fixtures, results, teams, knockouts, favourites, draw
GK - Wojciech Szczesny (Poland)
Robert Lewandowski was meant to be Poland's star at World Cup 2022, but Juventus goalkeeper Szczesny has eclipsed the Barcelona ace so far. Conceded only two goals in the group sage, notably stopping penalties from Salem Al-Dawsari and Lionel Messi.
MESSI'S PENALTY IS SAVED!— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 30, 2022
Wojciech Szczesny has saved his second spot-kick of the tournament 🤯🔥 Wow.#BBCWorldCup #FIFAWorldCup2022 pic.twitter.com/GolmxSmbrM
RB - Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)
Helped Morocco top a group which included 2018 finalists Croatia and a "golden generation" Belgium team. The PSG right-back was a constant menace on both sides of the ball and assisted the second as the Atlas Lions beat Canada.
CB - Marquinhos (Brazil)
It wasn't until the third group game, against Cameroon, that Brazil even conceded a shot on their goal in Qatar, and it was no coincidence that Marquinhos was rested for the game with the Selecao already qualified. A leader by example from the back.
CB - Harry Maguire (England)
Maligned at Manchester United, Maguire has been a standout for England in Qatar, showing his defensive qualities as the Three Lions cruised through the group stages. Perfectly suited to Gareth Southgate's style of football.
A disappointing result for England - but a very strong display from Harry Maguire 💪#BBCFootball #BBCWorldCup pic.twitter.com/9RlMm80OF4— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 25, 2022
LB - Theo Hernandez (France)
Started the tournament as France’s backup option at left-back behind brother Lucas but was promoted because of injury. Has stepped up well, recording a couple of assists as France sealed their progression after two matches.
READ: World Cup 2022 most assists: Son saves South Korea as Kane leads the way
CM - Ao Tanaka (Japan)
Scored the goal that carried Japan through to the knockout stage at the expense of Germany. The Samurai Blue were the surprise package of the group stages, coming out on top of their group thanks to the tremendous defensive energy of their entire team, which was epitomised by the Fortuna Dusseldorf man.
CM - Tyler Adams (USA)
Christian Pulisic may be nicknamed "Captain America," but it is Tyler Adams who has been leading the USMNT out in Qatar, and he has stepped up to the plate. Utterly indomitable in central midfield as the US held England to a goalless draw in the second group game.
Tyler Adams vs England (WC 2022) pic.twitter.com/ZWmQBnBthd— Jack Stephen 🇺🇸🇮🇳 (@USMNTZ) November 26, 2022
CM - Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)
Billed as the next big thing at Benfica, the 21-year-old midfielder has lived up to that by playing a leading role in Argentina's recovery from a shock opening day loss against Saudi Arabia. Scored a memorable goal against Mexico and controlled the midfield against Poland.
RW - Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)
Gakpo's name has been bubbling away as a potential star to watch for months now, but the Manchester United target has come to the fore on the international stage thanks to three goals in three group games for the Netherlands.
CF - Enner Valencia (Ecuador)
The only member of this XI from a team that has been eliminated from the competition. Valencia was Ecuador's star man, scoring three times in two games before his competition was sadly ended by injury.
LW - Kylian Mbappe (France)
Mbappe continues to love the World Cup stage. After becoming just the second teenager to score in a final in 2018, the PSG attacker has made a flying start at Qatar 2022, finding the target three times. His record in Finals now reads seven goals from just 10 games.
Stop that, Mbappe! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/9KrJ5SPnCN— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) November 26, 2022