Emi Martinez (Argentina)
Winner of the Golden Glove, having accepted his trophy with a celebration that has already launched a thousand memes, the Aston Villa goalkeeper was one of the standout players in Qatar.
With three clean sheets in the World Cup, it was Martinez's penalty heroics as well as his stunning save from Randal Kolo Muani with seconds remaining in extra-time in the final to force penalties that really stood out.
His record in shootouts was what really helped Argentina get over the line, first against the Netherlands and then against France in the final.
Marcos Acuna (Argentina)
One of the few beneficiaries of Argentina’s shock opening day defeat to Saudi Arabia, Marcos Acuna replaced Nicolas Tagliafico as his side’s first-choice left-back after that defeat and both he and Argentina never looked back.
An all-action fullback who was just as happy and effective joining in the attack as he was with his defensive duties, Acuna missed out on a starting place in the final after failing a late fitness test but came off the bench to again impress.
Romain Saiss (Morocco)
The key figure in Morocco’s hugely impressive back four, Saiss helped to marshal the defence that was the basis for Morocco’s stunning run to the semi-finals.
The Wolves defender formed a defensive partnership with Nayef Aguerd that at times look unbreachable and helped to stun big-hitters like Portugal, Spain and Belgium.
Stretchered off against Portugal in his side’s quarter-final victory, Saiss was deemed fit enough to start the semi-final against France but never looked to be 100% and his absence was keenly felt after he was substituted in the 21st minute.
Josko Gvardiol (Croatia)
Perhaps the biggest breakout player in Qatar, RB Leipzig are likely to have to field plenty of interest in their 20-year-old centre-back as soon at the transfer window opens.
In a team of older stars, Gvardiol was crucial to his side’s success, particularly in the group stages when his pace and positional sense helped to snuff out threats before they could develop.
Gvardiol may have been given the run-around by Lionel Messi in the semi-finals, but so are most other players the Argentine star comes up against and that shouldn’t detract from how good Gvardiol was throughout.
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)
Probably Morocco’s highest profile player coming into the tournament, Hakimi lived up to that billing and was easily the best performing right-back in Qatar.
The Paris Saint-Germain defender embodied everything impressive about Morocco in Qatar. Full of concentration, discipline and focus, Hakimi led by example in defence and helped his side to frustrate and stun some of the biggest teams at the tournament.
In attack he was an ever-willing outlet for his side on the counter and his display going forward in the semi-final against France was of such a high standard that he forced Didier Deschamps into a total reshape of his side on the fly.
Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco)
Lionel Messi aside, Sofyan Amrabat was the player of the tournament in Qatar.
The man pulling all the strings in midfield for Morocco, both from an attacking, creative sense and a defensive one, the Fiorentina midfielder seemed to attract the ball towards him at time and was at the centre of everything positive about Morocco.
Linked with a host of Premier League clubs, as well as Barcelona, Amrabat is likely to be on the move in January and whoever does manage to sign him will be getting a complete midfielder.
Antoine Griezmann (France)
The reinvention of Antoine Griezmann from a goal-poaching target man to a no-nonsense, all action midfielder is surely one of the greatest strokes that Didier Deschamps has ever pulled.
Griezmann shone in his box-to-box role and was particularly impressive in the quarter-final against England while both the English midfield and defence struggled to work out exactly what to do about the Atletico man.
His ability to find space where there doesn’t appear to be any served him well as a striker previously and it speaks to his intelligence as a player that he can take that attribute and make it work elsewhere on the pitch.
Enzo Fernandez (Argentina)
Another of the tournament’s big breakout stars, the 21-year-old deservedly collected the Young Player of the Tournament award in the wake of Argentina’s final victory.
Displaying a maturity and confidence on the ball that belies his young age, Fernandez was impressive throughout at the base of the Argentine midfield, linking up brilliantly with Messi among others over the course of the World Cup.
The Benfica player also showed an eye for goal, smartly finishing off one of the goals of the tournament in his side’s 2-0 victory over Mexico.
Luca Modric (Croatia)
The veteran midfielder has been key to everything positive that Croatia have achieved over the last decade and if Qatar is to be his final major tournament, it’s a fitting end to for a special talent.
Question marks about the 37-year-old’s fitness and stamina have long been answered as he continues to defy the years and once again, he was the metronome in the heart of midfield that made this Croatian side tick.
Helping to drag Croatia to a third place finish is another major achievement for a player that has seen, done and won it all.
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Those debates and the greatest of all time seem a little bit more in Lionel Messi’s favour after he 'completed soccer’ as he helped Argentina to their first World Cup triumph since the Diego Maradona heyday of 1986.
Few players have ever had such weight and expectation placed upon their shoulders and thrived as Messi did in Qatar.
Taking a new leadership role within the squad, his unselfishness in attack was match only by his decisiveness in front of goal and he finished the tournament with seven goals, three assists and a winners’ medal.
Kylian Mbappe (France)
In years to come Mbappe’s feat of scoring a World Cup final hat-trick and finishing the game with a runners-up medal with become a pub quiz staple but there are few better players when it comes to big moments.
France were limping towards defeat having struggled to trouble Argentina for just over an hour when Mbappe popped up with two goals in two minutes to force extra-time before again holding his nerve to level from the spot and take the game to penalties.
Finishing the tournament with and incredible eight goals, having helped France to back-to-back finals all while under the age of 24, who’s to say he doesn’t have another couple of finals in him?
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