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Ranking top 100 players at 2018 World Cup

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Here it is. Pro Soccer Talk has ranked the top 100 players at the 2018 World Cup this summer.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Trying to whittle this list down to 100 was near on impossible with plenty of incredible players left out of it altogether. That shows us how stacked the tournament in this summer, despite the likes of Chile, Italy and the Netherlands not even qualifying…

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Below is the list in full, broken up into sections of 10 with analysis on each 10.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


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1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
3. Antoine Griezmann (France)
4. Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
5. Neymar (Brazil)
6. Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium)
7. Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
8. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
9. David de Gea (Spain)
10. Harry Kane (England)

Ronaldo just edges Messi given his heroic end to the season at Real Madrid, while Griezmann should deliver once again for France. The top 10 sees one player from 10 different nations, with Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez and Neymar all carrying the hopes of a nation on their shoulders.


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11. Manuel Neuer (Germany)
12. David Silva (Spain)
13. Luka Modric (Croatia)
14. N’Golo Kante (France)
15. Toni Kroos (Germany)
16. Andres Iniesta (Spain)
17. Eden Hazard (Belgium)
18. Sergio Aguero (Argentina)
19. Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)
20. Kylian Mbappe (France)

This is when we start to see the likes of Spain and Germany having multiple players in the list. Silva and Iniesta will boss games for Spain, while Germany’s solid spine will see Neuer and Kroos star. Watch out for new kids on the block, Gabriel Jesus and Kylian Mbappe.


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21. Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)
22. Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)
23. Thomas Muller (Germany)
24. Paul Pogba (France)
25. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
26. Joshua Kimmich (Germany)
27.  Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
28. Mats Hummels (Germany)
29. Marcelo (Brazil)
30. Sergio Ramos (Spain)

Three German stars in this section to underline their strength in-depth. A sprinkling of top-class center backs in Vertonghen, Hummels and Ramos highlights with full backs Marcelo and Kimmich completing the defensive theme.


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31. Alisson (Brazil)
32. Diego Costa (Spain)
33. Raheem Sterling (England)
34. Mesut Ozil (Germany)
35. Dele Alli (England)
36. Isco (Spain)
37. Diego Godin (Uruguay)
38. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
39. Casemiro (Brazil)
40. Olivier Giroud (France)

Diego Costa and Isco have the potential to be match winners for Spain, so too do Romelu Lukaku for Belgium, Olivier Giroud for France and Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling for England. Think of this as the “if they turn up, they’ll be game-changers” section.


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41. Sadio Mane (Senegal)
42. Paulo Dybala (Argentina)
43. Raphale Varane (France)
44. Jordi Alba (Spain)
45. Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
46. James Rodriguez (Colombia)
47.  Bernardo Silva (Portugal)
48. Ousmane Dembele (France)
49. Kyle Walker (England)
50. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia)

Plenty of goals and speed from 40-50. Mane will carry Senegal’s hopes, while James will do the same for Colombia. Kyle Walker is one to watch out for. He has the potential to have a great tournament and have a big impact from center back.


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51. Toby Alderweireld (Belgium)
52. Nabil Fekir (France)
53. Angel di Maria (Argentina)
54. Marquinhos (Brazil)
55. Koke (Spain)
56. Nemanja Matic (Serbia)
57. Hirving Lozano (Mexico)
58. Jerome Boateng (Germany)
59. Willian (Brazil)
60. Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)

Mexico and Serbia appear for the first time with “Chucky” Lozano set for a breakout tournament for El Tri out wide. Matic will steady Serbia’s ship, while the list of stars just keeps on going for Belgium, Spain, Brazil and Germany.


AP

61. Leon Goretzka (Germany)
62. Dries Mertens (Belgium)
63. Son Heung-min (South Korea)
64. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)
65. Marcus Rashford (England)
66. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco)
67. Javier Hernandez (Mexico)
68. Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)
69. Saul Niguez (Spain)
70. Sami Khedira (Germany)

This seems like a section filled with stars who usually don’t get to shine. Rashford takes a back seat for England, usually, and the likes of Hernandez, Shaqiri and Mertens go about their jobs with minimal fuss. Goretzka is one to watch as he should feature heavily for Germany.


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71. Roberto Firmino (Brazil)
72. Vincent Kompany (Belgium)
73. Ivan Perisic (Croatia)
74. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia)
75. Julian Draxler (Germany)
76. Thomas Lemar (France)
77.  Fernandinho (Brazil)
78. Mousa Dembele (Belgium)
79. Emil Forsberg (Sweden)
80. Dusan Tadic (Serbia)

Look at the strength of names we still have on this list as we approach 80. Belgium and Brazil continue to have players included, while Serbian playmakers Tadic and Milinkovic-Savic should get them into the knockout rounds.


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81. Pione Sisto (Denmark)
82. Pepe (Portugal)
83. Jesse Lingard (England)
84. Keylor Navas (Costa Rica)
85. Paulinho (Brazil)
86. Samuel Umiti (France)
87. Joao Miranda (Brazil)
88. Joel Campbell (Costa Rica)
89. Hector Herrera (Mexico)
90. Nicolas Otamendi (Argentina)

A few of these players can be classed as “breakout stars” with Sisto and Lingard both capable of the sublime moments going forward. Costa Rica stalwarts Navas and Campbell make the list too as they aim for another shock run at the World Cup.


AP

91. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia)
92. Ederson (Brazil)
93. Iago Aspas (Spain)
94. Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
95. Thiago Alcantara (Germany)
96. Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica)
97. Blas Perez (Panama)
98. Ismaila Sarr (Senegal)
99. Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)
100. Jose Jimenez (Uruguay)

The final 10 in our top 100 sees some fringe players for the big nations who, if given the chance, should make a splash. Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi will lead the Super Eagles’ attacking unit in a tough group. Watch out for Iago Aspas who has impressed for Spain in recent months, and Mitrovic who is on fire.

Pep on Man City win, Sterling’s poor panenka, Mourinho sacking

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Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City needed penalties to outlast hosts Leicester City in the quarterfinals of the League Cup, but got the job done thanks in no small part to some laughable efforts from the Foxes.

[ RECAP: Leicester 1-1 (1-3 pens) Man City ]

Kevin De Bruyne and Marc Albrighton scored good-looking goals in regulation, and Oleksandr Zinchenko converted City’s third penalty after Leicester missed three-consecutive offerings at the King Power Stadium.

Man City’s only miss was an awful missed panenka from Raheem Sterling, but Guardiola was mostly okay with the outcome given their lineup.

Eric Garcia started and made his first team debut at age 17. Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz also started the match. Young goalkeeper Arijanet Muric starred for Man City, stopping two penalties in the win. From the BBC:

“A tough game, it is always difficult at Leicester. We played with a guy who is 17 years old and some injured players, it was a good game. … Raheem took that decision [to chip his penalty], unfortunately he missed it but that is OK.”

Guardiola was also asked about fired Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. He feels compassion for his longtime rival.

“I am always sad for the manager when that happens. We are alone in that situation. I am close to all of the managers. You are sacked when results are not good. He doesn’t need me, he is so strong. I wish him all the best and he will be back soon.”

Man City is one win from a third League Cup final in four years, and will face either Burton Albion, Arsenal, Spurs, Bournemouth, or Chelsea. Next up is a visit from Crystal Palace on Saturday and another trip to Leicester on Boxing Day.

League Cup: Man City wins in PKs; Burton upsets Boro

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It took penalty kicks to separate Leicester City and Man City, while Middlesbrough was booed off the pitch after 90 minutes of an upset loss as the first two quarterfinals of the League Cup were played Tuesday in England.

[ MORE: Steffen wins USMNT award ]


Leicester City 1-1 (1-3, PKs) Man City

A bungling batch of penalties ended an entertaining quarterfinal at King Power Stadium, and the reigning champions are alive for their third League Cup in four years.

Christian Fuchs airmailed Leicester City’s second attempt of penalty kicks, but Raheem Sterling chipped his ensuing panenka over the bar for Man City.

It was three-straight misses when Man City’s Arijanet Muric saved James Maddison‘s tame low effort and then nabbed Caglar Soyuncu’s shot to cue up Oleksandar Zinchenko for the winner.

Before that, we learned that Kevin De Bruyne can ball.

Okay, that’s not news, though we haven’t been able to see it in sometime thanks to a pair of knee injuries.

De Bruyne had played just 251 minutes heading into Tuesday’s League Cup quarterfinal at Leicester City, though he’s looking plenty sharp.

Watch the Manchester City midfielder cut his mark with a clever back leg move, then sweep a shot through a defender’s legs and past the reach of Leicester backstop Danny Ward.

It’s delightful stuff. Watch it here.

No sooner had De Bruyne left the contest after 70 minutes, Leicester City restored the stalemate via Marc Albrighton. The veteran midfielder collected a Wilfred Ndidi over-the-top pass with style before lashing past Arijanet Muric.

Middlesbrough 0-1 Burton Albion

There goes Tony Pulis‘ Boro outfit thanks to a strike from Southampton loanee Jake Hesketh, as Burton Albion trumped the ol’ West Bromwich Albion coach at his own game.

The League One side is the only non-Premier League team left in the tournament, and will now face either Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, or Bournemouth in the semifinals.

Bundesliga wrap: Fortuna Dusseldorf wonder goal ends BVB’s unbeaten season

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Borussia Dortmund’s unbeaten league season is over, stopped at the hands of an unlikely conqueror.

Fortuna Dusseldorf scored twice in the first hour to take advantage of the super sleepy leaders, who could only manage a late Paco Alcacer goal at the Espirit Arena.

[ MORE: Steffen wins USMNT award ]

USMNT winger Christian Pulisic went 90 minutes for BVB, setting up a goal that was called back for offside and also earning a yellow card.

Both of the hosts’ goals were fantastic in the 2-1 win, the first a long dribble from young Belgian wizard Dodi Lukembakio and the second this hammer of Thor from defender Jean Zimmer.

Elsewhere
Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Nurnberg
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Augsburg
Wolfsburg 2-0 Stuttgart

Wednesday
Schalke vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Werder Bremen vs. Hoffenheim
Freiburg vs. Hannover 96
Bayern Munich vs. RB Leipzig
Mainz vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 16 12 3 1 42 17 25 7-1-0 5-2-1 39
 Mönchengladbach 16 10 3 3 35 16 19 8-0-0 2-3-3 33
 Bayern Munich 15 9 3 3 32 18 14 3-3-1 6-0-2 30
 RB Leipzig 15 8 4 3 28 14 14 6-2-0 2-2-3 28
 Eintracht Frankfurt 15 8 2 5 32 18 14 4-1-2 4-1-3 26
 VfL Wolfsburg 16 7 4 5 24 20 4 3-3-3 4-1-2 25
 Hertha BSC Berlin 16 6 6 4 25 24 1 4-3-1 2-3-3 24
 1899 Hoffenheim 15 6 5 4 30 21 9 3-3-2 3-2-2 23
 Werder Bremen 15 6 3 6 25 25 0 3-2-3 3-1-3 21
 FSV Mainz 05 15 5 4 6 14 19 -5 3-3-2 2-1-4 19
 Bayer Leverkusen 15 5 3 7 21 27 -6 3-1-3 2-2-4 18
 SC Freiburg 15 4 5 6 19 24 -5 3-3-2 1-2-4 17
 FC Augsburg 16 3 6 7 23 26 -3 1-4-2 2-2-5 15
 FC Schalke 04 15 4 3 8 16 21 -5 3-0-4 1-3-4 15
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 16 4 3 9 18 33 -15 4-0-5 0-3-4 15
 VfB Stuttgart 16 4 2 10 11 32 -21 3-1-3 1-1-7 14
 1. FC Nürnberg 16 2 5 9 14 37 -23 2-3-3 0-2-6 11
 Hannover 96 15 2 4 9 16 33 -17 2-1-4 0-3-5 10

Men in Blazers podcast: Emergency edition (Mourinho’s sacked!)

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If Men in Blazers aren’t scheduled for a podcast and a major event happens, you can bet at least one of them will race for the microphone.

Emergency Jose Mourinho Pod in which Rog talks the end of the Portuguese’s reign at Manchester United.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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