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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.


AP

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.

World Cup, Group D preview: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

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Argentina: For whatever reason, be they Real Madrid fans or just sadists, many critics say the best player in the world just won’t be allowed his full lore unless Lionel Messi leads his team to a World Cup. Messi has played in two Copa America finals and a World Cup final, but some need him to win a tournament on his own regardless of deficiencies at the back or anywhere else on the pitch. Will he? READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

Iceland: The darlings of EURO 2016 have a remarkably difficult task ahead of them, being asked to again overachieve on a massive stage. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Croatia: Loaded with talent and experience, the main rivals for the group title will see El Clasico rivals Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric again team up to take on the world. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

Nigeria: Already celebrated for their unique green shirts, the Super Eagles will be led by a pair of young Premier League stars in Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi. Might they stun Argentina or Croatia? READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

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


Who’s going through: Argentina and Croatia

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Who’s going home: Nigeria and Iceland

Marquee match: Croatia versus Nigeria, Saturday in Kaliningrad

Top 5 players to watch
1) Lionel Messi — Argentina
2) Luka Modric — Croatia
3) Ivan Rakitic — Argentina
4) Wilfred Ndidi — Nigeria
5) Gonzalo Higuain — Argentina

World Cup, Group C preview: France, Australia, Denmark, Peru

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France: Following a slim quarterfinal loss to Germany in the 2014 tournament, France looks to take the next step behind one of the deepest squads in the world. Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba are among those pushing the attack while N'Golo Kante helps anything coming back the other way. Favorites to win the group comfortably, and perhaps the World Cup as well. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

Australia: Solid in midfield with Aaron Mooy and Mile Jedinak and dangerous enough in attack, can the Socceroos limit the danger coming the way of star keeper Mat Ryan of Brighton and Hove Albion? If they do, perhaps a surprising run to second is possible. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Peru: Their captain’s suspension overturned, one of the most anonymous Top Ten teams in recent memory (Elo Ratings) looks to make a major statement in its first World Cup since the 1970s. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

Denmark: Christian Eriksen is the unquestioned focal point of the Danish team, and will enter the tournament with hopes of results against Peru and Australia which deem the finale versus France dead rubber. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

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


Who’s going through: France and Peru.

 [ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Who’s going home: Denmark and Australia.

Marquee match: France versus Peru, June 21 in Yekaterinburg

Top 5 players to watch
1) N’Golo Kante — France
2) Antoine Griezmann — France
3) Paul Pogba — France
4) Christian Eriksen — Denmark
5) Samuel Umtiti — France

Percent chances of World Cup win; group stage progress

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The crew over at Opta have been extremely busy ahead of the 2018 World Cup and their computer models have predicted pretty much everything that’s going to happen.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Okay, well, they haven’t predicted that Harry Kane will slip and miss a decisive penalty kick for England in the semifinal or that Senegal will win the entire thing thanks to a horrendous own goal by Brazil’s Marcelo, but they’ve kept things simple and have worked out the percentage chance of each team winning the World Cup and the chance of each team making it out of the group stage.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Below is the percent chances for all of that happening via their predictive model. Bookmark this and see how close they get.

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


Full schedule for 2018 World Cup

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The 2018 World Cup is just two days away.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

It’s time to focus on when/where the madness will ensue across Russia over the next month from June 14 – July 15.

With that in mind, below is a look at the full schedule for the entire 2018 World Cup with times, venues and dates for all 64 games being played in 12 stadiums across 11 host cities.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

All kick off times are listed in Eastern Time in the USA.


GROUP STAGE

Group A
Thursday, June 14: Russia v Saudi Arabia, Moscow (Luzhniki) 11am
Friday, June 15: Egypt v Uruguay, Ekaterinburg 10am

Tuesday, June 19: Russia v Egypt, St Petersburg 2pm
Wednesday, June 20: Uruguay v Saudi Arabia, Rostov-on-Don 11am

Monday, June 25: Uruguay v Russia, Samara 10am
Monday, June 25: Saudi Arabia v Egypt, Volgograd 10am


Group B
Friday, June 15: Morocco v Iran, St Petersburg 11am
Friday, June 15: Portugal v Spain, Sochi 2pm

Wednesday, June 20: Portugal v Morocco, Moscow (Luzhniki) 8am
Wednesday, June 20: Iran v Spain, Kazan 2pm

Monday, June 25: Spain v Morocco, Kaliningrad 2pm
Monday, June 25: Iran v Portugal, Saransk 2pm


Group C

Saturday, June 16: France v Australia, Kazan 6am
Saturday, June 16: Peru v Denmark, Saransk 12pm

Thursday, June 21: France v Peru, Ekaterinburg 11am
Thursday, June 21: Denmark v Australia, Samara 8am

Tuesday, June 26: Denmark v France, Moscow (Luzhniki) 10am
Tuesday, June 26: Australia v Peru, Sochi 10am


Group D

Saturday, June 16: Argentina v Iceland, Moscow (Spartak) 9am
Saturday, June 16: Croatia v Nigeria, Kaliningrad 3pm

Thursday, June 21: Argentina v Croatia, Nizhny Novgorod 2pm
Friday, June 22: Nigeria v Iceland, Volgograd 11am

Tuesday, June 26: Nigeria v Argentina, St Petersburg 2pm
Tuesday, June 26: Iceland v Croatia, Rostov-on-Don 2pm


Group E

Sunday, June 17: Costa Rica v Serbia, Samara 8am
Sunday, June 17: Brazil v Switzerland, Rostov-on-Don 2pm

Friday, June 22: Brazil v Costa Rica, St Petersburg 8am
Friday, June 22: Serbia v Switzerland, Kaliningrad 2pm

Wednesday, June 27: Serbia v Brazil, Moscow (Spartak) 2pm
Wednesday, June 27: Switzerland v Costa Rica, Nizhny Novgorod 2pm


Group F

Sunday, June 17: Germany v Mexico, Moscow (Luzhniki) 11am
Monday, June 18: Sweden v South Korea, Nizhny Novgorod 8am

Saturday, June 23: Germany v Sweden, Sochi 2pm
Saturday, June 23: South Korea v Mexico, Rostov-on-Don 11am

Wednesday, June 27: South Korea v Germany, Kazan 10am
Wednesday, June 27: Mexico v Sweden, Ekaterinburg 10am


Group G
Monday, June 18: Belgium v Panama, Sochi 11am
Monday, June 18: Tunisia v England, Volgograd 2pm

Saturday, June 23: Belgium v Tunisia, Moscow (Spartak) 8am
Sunday, June 24: England v Panama, Nizhny Novgorod 8am

Thursday, June 28: England v Belgium, Kaliningrad 2pm
Thursday, June 28: Panama v Tunisia, Saransk 2pm


Group H
Tuesday, June 19: Poland v Senegal, Moscow (Spartak) 11am
Tuesday, June 19: Colombia v Japan, Saransk 8am

Sunday, June 24: Japan v Senegal, Ekaterinburg 11am
Sunday, June 24: Poland v Colombia, Kazan 2pm

Thursday, June 28: Japan v Poland, Volgograd 10am
Thursday, June 28: Senegal v Colombia, Samara 10am


ROUND OF 16

Saturday, June 30: 1C v 2D Kazan 10am (Match 50)
Saturday, June 30: 1A v 2B Sochi 2pm (Match 49)
Sunday, July 1: 1B v 2A Moscow (Luzhniki) 10am (Match 51)
Sunday, July 1: 1D v 2C Nizhny Novgorod 2pm (Match 52)
Monday, July 2: 1E v 2F Samara 10am (Match 53)
Monday, July 2: 1G v 2H Rostov-on-Don 2pm (Match 54)
Tuesday, July 3: 1F v 2E St Petersburg 10m (Match 55)
Tuesday, July 3: 1H v 2G Moscow (Spartak) 2pm (Match 56)


QUARTERFINALS

Friday, July 6: Winner match 49 v winner match 50 Nizhny Novgorod 10am (Match 57)
Friday, July 6: Winner match 53 v winner match 54 Kazan 2pm (Match 58)
Saturday, July 7: Winner match 55 v winner match 56 Samara 10am (Match 60)
Saturday, July 7: Winner match 51 v winner match 52 Sochi 2pm (Match 59)


SEMIFINALS

Tuesday, July 10: Winner match 57 v winner match 58 St Petersburg 2pm
Wednesday, July 11: Winner match 59 v winner match 60 Moscow (Luzhniki) 2pm

THIRD-PLACE MATCH

Saturday, July 14: St Petersburg 10am

FINAL

Sunday, July 15: Moscow (Luzhniki) 11am