Berliner Tageblatt - AFP's team of the World Cup

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AFP's team of the World Cup
AFP's team of the World Cup / Photo: © AFP/File

AFP's team of the World Cup

As the World Cup draws to a close, AFP Sport reporters have chosen their team of the tournament in Qatar in a 4-3-3 formation.

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Hugo Lloris

The captain of France's triumphant team four years ago was outstanding as the holders returned to the final. Often identified as his side's weak link, Lloris excelled in the quarter-final win over England and was even better against Morocco in the semi-finals, with superb first-half stops from Azzedine Ounahi and Jawad El Yamiq. He also overtook Lilian Thuram as France's all-time record cap-holder during the tournament.

Josip Juranovic

A symbol of Croatia's new generation of players to emerge following their run to the 2018 final, the 27-year-old Celtic right-back was outstanding as Zlatko Dalic's team edged out Brazil on penalties in the last eight.

Raphael Varane

Like Lloris, Varane was a central pillar in the France team that won the trophy four years ago and his reassuring presence was crucial for coach Didier Deschamps as Les Bleus battled through the knockout stages. He missed the opening game against Australia after spending a month on the sidelines before slotting back in seamlessly.

Josko Gvardiol

The 20-year-old centre-back emerged as one of the young stars of the tournament as he helped Croatia reach the semi-finals. A protective face mask worn after he suffered a broken nose ahead of the tournament made the RB Leipzig prospect appear even more imposing. He was turned inside out by Lionel Messi for one of Argentina's goals in the semi-finals but that should not detract from his otherwise superb displays.

Marcos Acuna

The squat 31-year-old impressed for Argentina before missing the semi-final due to suspension after being booked in the bad-tempered last-eight win over the Netherlands. Acuna, of Sevilla, was always a threat getting forward from his position at left-back.

Antoine Griezmann

The striker who came to the World Cup without a goal for France in a year was transformed by his coach Didier Deschamps into the most complete midfielder at the tournament. The 31-year-old became a playmaker, a creator of goals but also a tireless worker. He notably produced a brilliant assist for Olivier Giroud's winner against England in the quarter-finals.

Sofyan Amrabat

The symbol of a Morocco team whose run to the semi-finals -- the best-ever performance by an African or Arab side -- was based on their defensive solidity. The 26-year-old Dutch-born Fiorentina player ran tirelessly and performed a vital role in breaking up play for Walid Regragui's side. Opta statistics showed that he alone recovered possession for his team 51 times in seven games.

Jude Bellingham

The biggest positive of England's tournament was the Borussia Dortmund starlet, whose maturity on the field belies his 19 years. Bellingham's bounding running from midfield led to one goal against Iran and an assist in the last-16 win over Senegal. Dortmund can now expect an even higher transfer fee when they eventually sell a player who is destined to join one of the Premier League's giants.

Lionel Messi

Messi has been magnificent in his fifth and surely last World Cup at the age of 35. In Qatar he drove his Argentina side to the final, scoring in the tournament's knockout stages for the first time and also producing some sublime assists.

Richarlison

The only Brazil player to make the cut gets the nod ahead of Olivier Giroud or Julian Alvarez by virtue of his dazzling displays earlier in the tournament. The Tottenham player scored arguably the goal of the competition, a stunning overhead kick in his team's opening win over Serbia. He came close to matching that with another beauty against South Korea in the last 16, after a move he began by juggling the ball on his head three times.

Kylian Mbappe

On a quest to win a second World Cup before turning 24, Mbappe is a lethal threat starting from the left of the attack for France. He scored five times in his country's first four matches in Qatar. Quieter against England in the quarter-final, he still helped set up their opening goal. France's two goals against Morocco in the semi-finals also came from deflected Mbappe shots that fell kindly to teammates.

C.Meier--BTB