The World Cup’s top 10 so far

Who has grabbed the spotlight in Russia

1. Luka Modric (Croatia)

Croatia's midfielder Luka Modric

Croatia are one of only three teams to advance with a perfect winning record and the main reason has been the midfield partnership of Modric and Ivan Rakitic. They peaked in picking apart Argentina but have been excellent all through, with Modric having scored twice and passed the ball with genuine class.

2. Harry Kane (England)

England's Harry Kane

It is hard to look beyond Harry Kane for an English representative. His five goals already would have been enough to win the Golden Boot in some tournaments and he is the spearhead for this generation of England players.

3. Eden Hazard (Belgium)

Belgium's Eden Hazard celebrates

Hazard said he was not at the same level as Gareth Bale when Belgium faced Wales at Euro 2016. He has no reason to consider himself second billing to anyone in Russia. His display against Tunisia was among the best so far.

4. Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)

Brazil's forward Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring the opening goal

Cameras focus on Neymar but the best player for Brazil has been a lower-profile presence. It was Coutinho who provided perhaps the pass of the finals for Paulinho to score against Serbia, it is Coutinho who is Brazil’s top scorer and it is Coutinho who always sets their tempo.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball during a training session

His hat-trick against Spain remains perhaps the individual performance of the group phase. Four goals in three games to become the leading international goalscorer in European football history has been some start. The free-kick against Spain was also among the best goals scored but Ronaldo will know that delivery in the knockout phase is what really counts.

6. Andreas Granqvist (Sweden)

Sweden's defender Andreas Granqvist celebrates scoring a penalty

Sweden conceded only twice in topping their group and, in Andreas Granqvist, they have a captain who has led at both ends of the pitch. He led the rearguard against Germany, stifling attack after attack, and was similarly dominant in negating Mexico. He also scored two crucial penalties.

7. Diego Godin (Uruguay)

Uruguay's Diego Godin celebrates

Three games, three wins and three clean sheets. Yes, Uruguay were in one of the easier groups but they have still done their job efficiently. And, as Atletico Madrid fans will know, the biggest reason for their resilience is Godin.

8. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku celebrates

A goalscoring phenomenon at international level who has already added another four in two matches played so far here. Lukaku’s versatility allows Belgium to attack from numerous different angles.

9. Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)

Russia's midfielder Aleksandr Golovin

Russia might have been brought down to earth by Uruguay but they were excellent in their first two games and no player has provided more assists in these finals than Golovin. At only 22, he is on the scouting radar of many of the top European clubs.

10.  Alireza Beiranvand (Iran)

Iran's Alireza Beiranvand

Not so long ago, Beiranvand was working as a shepherd in the village of Sarab-e Yas when he ran away to Tehran to pursue his dream and, with no money or accommodation, set up camp outside a football club until they let him train. On Monday, he was saving a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty at the World Cup. One of the most uplifting stories of the finals so far.

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