Germany went out, England went through and Argentina went nuts in a World Cup group stage which had it all.
It’s been a brilliant opening two weeks in Russia. But just who has been good enough to make our Group Stage XI?
Let us know if you agree with our picks…
GK – Francis Uzoho
Nigeria may have gone out in the group stages. But 19-year-old Francis Uzoho made a lasting impression on the tournament.
The Deportivo La Coruna stopper denied Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain with a string of impressive stops earlier in the week. He looks a real talent.
LWB – Ivan Strinic
AC Milan left-back Ivan Strinic helped Croatia to two clean sheets in their opening two matches before being rested for their final group match against Iceland.
His displays have been a large part of Valtreni’s success so far as they bid to go deep in the competition.
DF – Diego Godin
Uruguay are the only side yet to have conceded a goal at this World Cup.
That statistic is in no small part down to the performances of captain Diego Godin. The Atletico Madrid stalwart has been rock solid at the heart of defence alongside club teammate Jose Giminez.
DF – Andreas Granqvist
Nobody expected Sweden to top a group containing Mexico, South Korea and Germany.
Yet they did. And the warrior-like qualities of centre-half Andres Granqvist have been a big reason behind it.
His showings so far have typified the grit, determination and workmanlike qualities that this Sweden side has come to embody in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
DF – Yerry Mina
Despite only playing 377 minutes for Barcelona last season, Yerry Mina has shone for Colombia.
His staunch performances at the back provided the base for Jose Pekerman’s side to qualify for the last-16 after a slow start against Japan. A goal apiece against Poland and Senegal further prove his worth.
RWB – Kieran Trippier
A large part of England’s success at the World Cup so far has been down to Tottenham Hotspur right-back Kieran Trippier.
His domineering runs down the right and pinpoint set-piece delivery have proved a vital asset for Gareth Southgate’s side. Handily, he’s quite good at defending too.
CM – Aleksandr Golovin
CSKA Moscow youngster Aleksandr Golovin missed Russia’s final group game against Uruguay. But his performances in the opening two games get him a place in our side.
He scored one and set up two in the host nation’s first match against Saudi Arabia. Without him, it’s doubtful whether Russia would have qualified for the last-16.
CM – Luka Modric
There’s an argument to suggest that Luka Modric has been the standout player of the group stages.
Croatia’s star man has bossed the play, created chances and chipped in with a pair of goals to boot. His calming influence on Valtreni has been a tournament highlight.
CM – Isco
Spain have plenty of top-class performers. So Real Madrid star Isco has done well to stand out amongst them.
The 26-year-old consistently recycles the play and provides the lynchpin of a star-studded midfield line-up. It’s no surprise that his Golden Ball odds have been cut since the start of the tournament.
ST – Romelu Lukaku
This World Cup has been dominated by goals from set-pieces. So Romelu Lukaku gets in on his ability to score goals from open play.
All four of the Belgian ace’s strikes in Russia have been impressive finishes in free play.
He’s been crucial to the performance of the Belgium side and will be well-rested ahead of their last-16 clash with Japan.
ST – Cristiano Ronaldo
While Lionel Messi has faltered, Cristiano Ronaldo has flourished.
CR7 has stepped up to the stage, grabbed the limelight and scored four of Portugal’s five goals in a sensational group stage performance.
His hat-trick against Spain in the opening match will live long in the memory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing