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Reuters World Cup Team of the Tournament

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Reuters World Cup Team of the Tournament

Reuters World Cup Team of the Tournament
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By Andrew Downie

(Reuters) - On the eve of Sunday's World Cup final between France and Croatia, Reuters Sports writers have chosen their team of the tournament:

Hugo Lloris (France)

* Understated and underrated for both club and country,goalkeeper Lloris's skills finally got the attention theydeserved at this World Cup. Diving saves at key moments againstUruguay in the quarters and Belgium in the semi-final werecrucial in France's march to the final.

Sime Vrsaljko (Croatia)

* Vrsaljko is the epitome of a modern fullback in that heoperates not just by defending the right flank but also as aproto-right winger as well as in midfield. With Luka Modricplaying not far in front of his defence, Vrsaljko has pushedforward and filled in space in the middle of the pitch.

Harry Maguire (England)

* Unknown outside England before this tournament, Maguirequickly had fans scrambling to find out more about the 25-yearold Leicester defender. Solid in defence and always a threat atset pieces, Maguire was the epitome of the new England.

Diego Godin (Uruguay)

* Godin's performances in this World Cup belied all the oldchestnuts about violent Uruguayan defenders. Godin committedjust five fouls in his five matches, as many as he received. Hewas outstanding in marshalling a defence that was one of thebest in the entire tournament.

Lucas Hernandez (France)

* Hernandez was another little-known French player who roseto prominence at the World Cup. The 22-year-old Atletico Madriddefender made his debut for France only in March but he fittedright in on the left flank. His positional play –- aided byfrequent spells for his club in central defence -– has beenexcellent.

Paul Pogba (France)

* Pogba often flatters to deceive at club level but he hasbeen superb at this World Cup, working off the tirelessball-winner N'Golo Kante. His rangy runs forward and vision inthe middle of the pitch have been key for France, as has hispresence at set pieces.

Luka Modric (Croatia)

* In a team packed with top talent, Modric is the oneCroatian who has consistently lived up to his reputation. TheRolls Royce of footballers, he glided elegantly through everygame, seemingly never tiring and rarely missing a pass.

N'Golo Kante (France)

* The diminutive Frenchman is finally getting the plauditshe deserves. Paul Pogba has the haircuts and Kylian Mbappe theheadlines but it is Kante, with his phenomenal work rate inmidfield, who has been the key to France's success.

Eden Hazard (Belgium)

* Like Modric, Hazard is a top candidate for player of thetournament. His drives from midfield and dribbles in and aroundthe box were inspirational in taking Belgium to the semi-finals.Often fouled, he avoided histrionics and can consider himselfunlucky not to be playing in Sunday's final.

Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)

* Cavani is used to playing second fiddle to Luis Suarez atinternational level and Neymar at their club Paris St Germainbut here in Russia he took centre stage for Uruguay, scoringthree goals in four games, including two crackers in theirlast-16 win over Portugal. It is perhaps no coincidence thatUruguay's only defeat came when he was absent through injury.

Kylian Mbappe (France)

* Mbappe showed in Russia that it is he and not his Paris StGermain team mate Neymar who is most likely to succeedthirty-somethings Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the bestplayer in the world over the next decade. His backheeled pass toput Oliver Giroud through on goal against Belgium was one of themost sublime moments of the entire tournament.

Substitutes

Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark)

Kieran Trippier (England)

Yerry Mina (Colombia)

Andreas Granqvist (Sweden)

Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium)

Denis Cheryshev (Russia)

Hirving Lozano (Mexico)

Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)

Coach - Didier Deschamps (France)

Deschamps was criticised for leaving out some big names but there was method in his madness. His side was balanced and played for each other and while France were not always attractive they were always in control. If the French beat Croatia in Moscow the former Olympique de Marseille and Juventus midfielder will join Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer as only the third man to both play for and coach a World Cup-winning side.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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