Paddy Power’s alternative team of the World Cup tournament

We’ve pulled our writer’s eyes off the World Cup just long enough to give us what he feels is the real team of the World Cup…


Oh, I see you’ve picked out the 11 best players at a tournament watched by a billion people.

What a revelation. Yawn.

Here’s the real best XI at the World Cup for a variety of reasons.

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Goalkeeper – Ali Beiranvand

This fella kept a tonne of clean sheets prior to the tournament so big things were expected, but it was his sh*thousing and his penalty save from Cristiano Ronaldo that endeared him to the world. His theatrics brought a bit of artistic appreciation to Russia.

Centre Half – Yerry Mina

Mina lands in this spot simply because his late equaliser against England landed them in a penalty shootout that they actually won – thus enhancing an entire nation’s view on football. Well in, Yerry – well in.

Centre Half – Harry Maguire

The beauty of the World Cup is that they’re defined completely by moments – often not even related to the actual football. Maguire won’t be remembered for netting in Russia – oh no – he’ll be the first player to ever be remembered for the sheer size of his head.

Centre Half – Roman Torres

The big man. If you can’t remember who he was, he was the Panama defender with the dreadlocks who looked like he could break your house in half if he disapproved of your mother’s cooking. He had the style and a blood and thunder approach. Instant World Cup icon.

Right Wing Back – Domagoj Vida

Political undertones really did stand out in this tournament. Vida’s pro-Ukraine antics were little more than anti-Russian comments in the middle of a tournament that was held in Russia. Mad b*stard.

Left Wing Back – Milad Mohammadi

The throw. Just. The throw.

Central Midfielder – Aleksandr Golovin

Now, he could well be in the team of the tournament, but for our money, he was the character who really epitomised the Russian attitude to everything throughout the World Cup. He ran around and kicked people. Somehow, that’s deemed enough to put him in consideration for a Premier League move. Well in, Golly.

Central Midfielder – Marouane Fellaini

I’ll be honest – he’s only in here because I’m sick of everyone knocking him. He turned up in a big way when he was needed most, and that’s a trait he’s been associated with throughout his career.

Left Winger – Michy Batshuayi

God love him. Much like Harry Maguire, he’ll not be remembered for his goal, but for something slightly funnier – the moment where he kicked the ball into the net, celebrating a goal, before it rebounded into his own face.

Striker – Artem Dzyuba

Sometimes football’s gone too technical. Get the big man onto the pitch and deliver it towards the penalty area. He epitomises the throwback era of crossing the ball and hoping for the best. Russia did this to great effect and it was far from boring.

Right Winger – Xherdan Shaqiri

Last-minute winner, political gesture, sh*thousing. Luka Modric might win Player of the Tournament, Pavard might win Goal of the Tournament, Harry Kane might win the Golden Boot, but if there was a general King of the Cup tournament, the little man would win it every time.

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What do you think?