Alternative World Cup Awards
After a fantastic World Cup, the awards for best player, young player and golden glove have been given out. While no one can argue with those winners, here is our alternative awards for the unsung heroes of the World Cup…
Official winner – Luka Modric
Alternative winner – Paul Pogba
Modric was a deserving winner for leading Croatia to their first ever final. However, let’s have a moment’s appreciation for the man who often puts haircuts before football, the man with his own #Pogmoji but now the man who is a World Champion. Pogba finally showed his true class here.
BEST YOUNG PLAYER
Official winner – Kylian Mbappe
Alternative winner – Jose Gimenez
Again, a deserving winner in Mbappe but let’s do what these awards rarely ever do and pay tribute to a defender. Uruguay’s run to the quarterfinals was built on a strong defence and until Muslera dropped Griezmann’s shot into his own goal, a good keeper. Uruguay kept 3 clean sheets and only conceded 3 goals all tournament.
Official winner – Thibaut Courtois
Alternative winner – Jordan Pickford
Picko, as he is now known in my household, was a standout player for England and made some fantastic saves, especially in the quarter-final against Sweden. And who can forget his shootout save to deny Colombia. He managed to do all this despite not being tall enough to play in goal according to Courtois.
FAIR PLAY AWARD
Official winner – Spain
Alternative winner – Japan
I’m not sure what Spain did to warrant a fair play award. Apart from Sergio Ramos going 4 games without getting sent off, which to be fair is an achievement. However, Japan is worthy winners. After losing to the last minute Belgium goal, having led 2-0 in the game, the Japanese players cleaned the dressing room and left a thank you note.
The official team of the tournament is yet to be announced, but here is our attempt at an alternative XI from the predicted official team.
GK – Jordan Pickford
Picko’s place will surely go to Courtois but the Everton keeper deserves recognition for helping us all dream again with his saves against Colombia and Sweden.
RB – Kieran Trippier
The Burnley Beckham has been superb with his set pieces and his free kick goal against Croatia. Probably England’s best player at the tournament who’s place will probably go to Pavard.
CB – Jose Gimenez
Uruguay did not concede a single goal throughout the group stages thanks to their Atletico Madrid partnership of Gimenez and Godin at centre back.
CB – Yerry Mina
As much as I want to give this place to ‘slab head’ Harry Maguire, I can’t have a team full of England players. So I’ve gone for the man who almost broke English hearts when he scored a last minute equaliser for Colombia.
LB – Ivan Strinic
The Croatian performed admirably for the runners up throughout the World Cup. It won’t get mentioned as Mbappe did eventually score in the final, but Strinic did keep him quiet for the majority of the game.
CM – Paul Pogba
Pogba will probably get in the official team but I can’t leave him out after giving him the Golden Ball, that would be madness. Almost as mad as playing for Man United against Man City with sky blue hair…
CM – Jordan Henderson
Fun fact – England were never behind in any game at this World Cup whilst Hendo was on the pitch. Often underappreciated, the Liverpool captain showed his true worth.
CM – Denis Cheryshev
Cheryshev scored 4 goals for Russia from midfield as he helped them exceed all expectations in making the quarter-final. Although 2 of those were in a game against Saudi Arabia which I’m still convinced was fixed.
FW – Ivan Perisic
The Inter forward came alive in the later rounds, scoring the equalisers against England and France with 2 superb goals. Assuming that the official front 3 will be picked from Griezmann, Mbappe, Hazard, Lukaku and Kane, none of these will feature here.
FW – Son Heung Min
Although he couldn’t lead South Korea into the knockout stages, Son did himself proud with very little help. As this team is about unsung heroes, Son deserves his place as no one will be praising him now the tournament is over.
FW – Artem Dzyuba
With 3 goals and 2 assists, Dzyuba was a key player in Russia’s quarterfinal campaign. He also scored the goal against Spain to make it 1-1 and led to a penalty shoot-out win. Not bad for the man Andre Villas Boas deemed not good enough for Zenit this season.
– Robert Shiers