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World Cup 100: Ranking the Top Players in Russia After the Final

The 2018 World Cup is now in the books. France won a thrilling final against Croatia on Sunday, lifting the trophy for the first time since 1998.

It’s time to update our World Cup 100—a position-by-position ranking of the top-performing players in Russia—for the last time. With every match played, every performance delivered, it’s time to make a definitive judgement.

We’ve watched every game, rated every player and constructed a top 10 or 20 for each spot and crowned the kings of each. Bear in mind that only performances at the World Cup were considered for these rankings. Reputations count for nothing. nfl youth jerseys

In terms of categorising player positions, we’ve introduced the following rule:

If someone played multiple positions, he is placed in the one he played the most minutes in.
If he played the same number of minutes in two separate positions, he is placed in the one he played in most recently.

Because of team eliminations and rotating lineups, some players appeared in more matches than others. In such instances, those who kept consistently higher performances over a larger number of games were rewarded with a higher rank. nfl youth jerseys cheap

Thibaut Courtois rounded off a brilliant campaign with a clean sheet in the third-placed playoff. His excellence wasn’t given that much airtime over the course of the tournament—presumably because he didn’t go through a penalty shootout—but he made excellent saves every step of the way, becoming a genuine factor in his nation’s run.

He’s a deserved winner of the Golden Glove.cheap nfl youth jerseys

The only goalkeepers that were left with a chance of challenging Courtois for the award were Hugo Lloris, who made a horrendous error in the final, and Danijel Subasic, who conceded more goals (four) than shots saved (three) in the final.nfl youth jersey

Biggest rise: Thibaut Courtois (+1)

Biggest fall: Hugo Lloris (-3)

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15-11: Japan, Portugal, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland

15. Japan

Japan became many supporters’ second team. They played good, fast, technical football with smiles on their faces, and Takashi Inui and Gaku Shibasaki stood out in midfield for all the right reasons.

They almost pulled off what would have been one of the shocks of the tournament but surrendered a two-goal lead to Belgium. Considering the cloudy circumstances that accompanied their arrival in Russia (they sacked their manager in April), you can’t sniff at what the Samurai Blue achieved.

14. Portugal

From a team-wide perspective, Portugal’s performances weren’t good. Cristiano Ronaldo dragged them through the thriller with Spain, and in the next three games only William Carvalho and Pepe impressed regularly.nike jersey nfl cheap

An inability to construct passing moves and poor form from the likes of Raphael Guerreiro and Bernardo Silva contributed to a round-of-16 exit.

13. Denmark

For Denmark to progress any further than they did—the round of 16—they needed Christian Eriksen to have a world-class game in every game. A solid defence can only get you so far if your offensive output is lacking; they only scored three goals in four games, not one of them coming from a striker.cheap youth nfl jerseys

12. Spain

Those suggesting Julen Lopetegui’s departure the day before the tournament began would not impact Spain, that they were simply a self-aware, footballing machine, were proved wrong. Stand-in coach Fernando Hierro looked lost on the touchline as his side passed itself to death then lost on penalties to Russia.youth nfl jerseys cheap

11. Switzerland

Switzerland emerged as a side who had the mettle and the qualities to upset good sides, but when tasked with playing against teams they were supposed to beat, to dominate, they came up short.

Their elimination at the hands of Sweden came as a surprise to many, but they displayed their limitations in possession and in attack.youth nfl jerseys

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Spurs can say goodbye to Wembley with Champions League mission accomplished

Mauricio Pochettino stood on the edge of his technical area, arms folded, waiting, as the clock ticked down. Just get over the line, Tottenham. That had been the order of the night. Securing Champions League football, a precious housewarming present to take back to N17 for next season, was at the forefront of everybody’s mind.

The outpouring of elation at the final whistle was all about that, all about a marker to help Tottenham in this period of seismic change for the club. Champions League qualification is always a boon, but it was especially appreciated when the news was confirmed at Wembley thanks to Chelsea hitting the brakes at Stamford Bridge because it feels like it’s about something bigger than one campaign in everybody’s favourite European competition.
Harry Kane purges Spurs of Champions League nerves with win over Newcastle
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The idea that an elite club’s ambitions live or die by the Champions League is a bit hysterical at a time when the old top four have turned into a high-ambition six who rightly enter each season thinking they ought to be a contender for a Champions League position. But Tottenham’s prospects seem tangled up in the chase more intensely than the others because of their stadium rebuild.

The what-ifs can go away for a while. What if Tottenham didn’t make the Champions League and missed out on both revenue and pull as they begin a new era in a new home? What if Daniel Levy had to consider bids for the most coveted talent mindful of the costs of debt repayment? What if Pochettino found his head could be turned now he is used to an environment where his team can make high-impact memories like beating Real Madrid or drawing at Juventus? Those what-ifs evaporated when Harry Kane found one of his accomplished finishes to decide a tensely fought game where a high-energy Newcastle caused umpteen scares.
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For some perspective, in the pre-Pochettino era Tottenham had only ever made it to the Champions League once, and at the end of the night they assured themselves a third successive season in the competition. They were desperate not to cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping  lose status that had been a long time coming.

Spurs’s form had been fluffy going into this final week of the season, with points frittered away, allowing doubts to gnaw away. Having been in a comfortable top-four position all season, the fear began to take hold. Don’t mess it up. Now is not the time. The noise of crackling urgency shuddered through the home crowd early on as Jonjo Shelvey’s thumping free-kick clipped the outside of a post. The Newcastle midfielder thrust his head in his hands. He knew it was fractions from perfection. Tottenham’s stress began to show.

Some of the twitchiness stemmed from a reorganised midfield, with Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama paired to compensate for the absence of Eric Dier and Mousa Dembélé. Newcastle were boxing clever, a performance with sufficient focus to suggest nfl cheap jerseys nike this team were playing to impress for next season rather than minds wandering to the beach.

Tottenham needed to find some rhythm but it didn’t come easily. Half an hour gone a sign that they were off key came when Ben Davies received the ball, looked up to build some kind of a move and just lumped the ball forward to nobody. That was not the style Tottenham aspire to. Kane’s sureness of touch eluded him when he was in for a one-v-one. It was nervy.

Kane rediscovered his touch to unshackle Tottenham from their anxiety in the second half with one of those unerring moments of striking clarity. He sidefooted the ball with crisp curl. The team’s body language changed in that instant. nfl nike jerseys for cheap uddenly they were all calling for the ball, pointing for it, wanting it.

Tottenham will finish as the top London club for the first time in 23 years. The last time they had the capital’s bragging rights dates back to 1994‑95, when they finished seventh (just above QPR and Wimbledon), since the season Blackburn won the title. Modern Tottenham want to continue to look up. Levy has not historically used Champions League qualification as essential to the sums for the season, but there is no doubting how easy it is to get used to all this.nike nfl cheap jerseys

It was hardly a great performance but the result meant so much. Now Chelsea and Liverpool go into the final weekend of the season with fourth place on the line – Antonio Conte’s team hoping that they can up their game and that Liverpool might just be put off theirs with the Champions League final over the horizon. Tottenham can turn up on Sunday, turn out the lights and hand the keys back to Wembley without looking back.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap
Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help nike jerseys nfl cheap . The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

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Arsenal Suffer 3-1 Loss to Leicester City in Arsene Wenger’s Penultimate Game

Arsenal lost away from home again in the Premier League after being beaten 3-1 by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday in the penultimate game with Arsene Wenger in charge.

Wenger saw his Gunners go a goal behind and down to 10 men on just 15 minutes when Konstantinos Mavropanos was shown a straight red card shortly after Kelechi Iheanacho had put the Foxes in front.

A Jamie Vardy penalty and a 90th-minute Riyad Mahrez goal completed Arsenal’s seventh straight Premier League away defeat.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Away Day Shame Almost Complete for Wenger’s Arsenal cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Arsenal are going to finish in their lowest league position and with the fewest points under Wenger because of their dismal record away from home. The Gunners are still the only team in the top four leagues of English football who have failed to pick up a point on their travels in 2018.

It’s almost inconceivable a team with this much attacking talent would be so bereft of solutions on their travels. By contrast, Arsenal’s defensive woes away from the comfortable confines of the Emirates Stadium are no longer even mildly surprising.

Unfortunately for Wenger, his last game in charge of the Gunners will also be away. The trip to Huddersfield Town could be bring yet more away misery for the Frenchman and his team.

Arsenal’s Disciplinary Record Ending How It Started Under Wenger

For a manager who has steadfastly championed fair play and attractive, expansive football, Wenger has overseen a shocking disciplinary record during most of his 22 years in charge at Arsenal.

n his teams lose discipline too often down the years.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Former captain Patrick Vieira is joint holder of the Premier League record, having received eight red cards on Wenger’s watch, per Alan Tyres of the Daily Telegraph. The same source pointed out that the Gunners received 32 red cards in the decade following their last title win in the unbeaten season of 2003-04.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Many would contend Wenger has struggled in recent years because the snarling aggression common in his early teams went by the wayside when players such as Vieira left town.

Yet on the evidence of this game, Wenger’s Gunners remain as ill-disciplined as they always were.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

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European roundup: Napoli win cuts Juve’s Serie A lead to four points

Napoli twice came from behind to beat Udinese 4-2 and cut Juventus’s lead at the top of Serie A to four points after the Turin side were held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Crotone.

Raul Albiol, Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Tonelli scored in the last half-hour to keep Napoli in the title race before Sunday’s showdown with Juventus.nfl jerseys from china

Fiorentina forward Jordan Veretout scored a hat-trick but was on the losing side in a 4-3 home defeat by Lazio in which two players were sent off in the first 15 minutes, visiting coach Simone Inzaghi was dismissed and a penalty was revoked by VAR.
Bayern Munich seal sixth consecutive Bundesliga title with win over Augsburg
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Alex Sandro gave Juve an early lead but Simy Nwankwo equalised midway through the second half for Crotone, the club from Calabria in southern Italy.

Juventus lead with 85 points, followed by Napoli on 81 with Roma, who beat Genoa 2-1, and Lazio on 64 in the other two Champions League places.

In the German Cup semi-finals, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic scored a 75th-minute winner to stun Schalke and earn his manager, Niko Kovac, a date with Bayern Munich, the club he will coach from next season.wholesale nfl jerseys

Eintracht, losing finalists last year, will get their chance for silverware again when they take on overwhelming favourites Bayern, 6-2 winners against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday, in Berlin on 19 May.

The 20-year-old Jovic poked in from a corner against the run of play to set up an extraordinary game for Kovac. The Croat this week signed a three-year contract at Bayern, leaving Frankfurt angry with the Bundesliga champions over the poaching of their coach, who has turned them from nfl jerseys wholesale  relegation candidates into European hopefuls this season.

The game at Schalke lacked the fireworks of Bayern’s semi-final and needed more than an hour to catch light with the hosts having the better chances.
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Eintracht were left with 10 men in the 81st minute when their substitute Gelson Ferdandes, who had only been on the pitch for 33 seconds, was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Leon Goretzka.

Schalke tried desperately to find an equaliser and had the ball in the net deep into stoppage time only for the referee to rule it out for handball.

In Spain, Cristiano Ronaldo’s superb late backheel earned Real Madrid a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabéu.

Ronaldo flicked Luka Modric’s low drive into the back of the net in the 87th minute with a deft touch, nfl jerseys china his 24th league goal of the season and one that cancelled out a first-half chipped goal from Inaki Williams for the visitors.

Real were set for defeat until Ronaldo, who also hit the bar with a header early on, struck. Real are third in La Liga on 68 points, three behind city rivals Atlético, who play Real Sociedad on Thursday. Barcelona lead the way on 83 points, 12 clear of Diego Simeone’s men.nfl wholesale jerseys

Brazilian first division is set to kick off, whether anyone has noticed or not

In their book “Soccernomics,” written in 2009, Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski make “rosy predictions for Brazilian football,” including that the investments in the 2014 World Cup would help lift the country’s domestic game to a level similar to that of the major European leagues.cheap custom nfl jerseys

It is a rare false note in a fascinating work. A recent editorial in Brazil’s sports daily Lance! paints a truer picture of contemporary reality.

“Our club game is in the global third division,” it laments. “Brazilian football is today further behind the main centres than it has ever been, by any indicator.
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“We are easily beaten in terms of average crowd, TV audience, income of the clubs and interest of the sponsors.
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“Violence keeps people away from the stadiums. And we are exporters of talent, helping other leagues to be more attractive than our own.”

There are many explanations for such a state of affairs, in which the Brazilian game operates absurdly beneath its potential. Many of these explanations come back to leadership and organisation — in particular, a structure of football in which the tail wags the dog.
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Power inside the Brazilian football association, the CBF, does not rest with the clubs. It lies with the presidents of the 27 state federations. They, in turn, owe much of their allegiance to clubs so tiny they barely, if at all, qualify as professional.

As Lance! concludes, “The clubs and their fans are the biggest losers of our unhappy dynasty. Especially the big clubs — subjected to a disastrous calendar that obliges them to make a loss in the interests of those at the top.”nfl jerseys cheap nike

Quite why the clubs have yet to break away to form their own league is one of the major mysteries of Brazilian football. But the undeniable truth, the point overlooked by Kuper and Szymanski, is that there is little benefit in having 21st-century stadiums if they have to coincide with a 19th-century calendar.

Arsenal Transfer News: Everton Reportedly Confident of Signing Jack Wilshere

Everton are reportedly growing increasingly confident they will sign Jack Wilshere from Arsenal in the summer.
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Wilshere is out of contract at the end of the season and has rejected a new deal with the Gunners as it would involve taking a pay cut. He is also not too happy with the way he has been treated by the club, according to Football.London’s Charles Watts.cheap custom nfl jerseys

The situation has given Everton hope they can land Wilshere, as they would be willing to match his current wages as well as offer him “a sizeable signing on fee.”
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The 26-year-old has endured an injury-plagued career, but he has managed to prove his fitness at Arsenal this season and has made 35 appearances in all competitions.

Arsenal’s reluctance to offer Wilshere a big contract is perhaps understandable given his injury record. However, they do risk losing him on a free transfer in the summer if he does not renew.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said it would be a disaster if Wilshere left, per Indy Football:
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Everton manager Sam Allardyce has spoken about Wilshere and said he has “always admired him” in an interview with TalkSport.

A move to Everton would also see Wilshere reunited with former team-mate Theo Walcott, who moved to Goodison Park from Arsenal in January 2017.
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There’s no doubt that a fit Wilshere is a quality midfielder who is yet to fully realise his potential. However, his injury record is a concern and is likely to have an impact on any decisions regarding his future.

I don’t know why Buffon was protesting – Ronaldo

For the Portuguese, there was no doubt in his mind that referee Michael Oliver got the decisive late call correct cheap replica nfl jerseys

Cristiano Ronaldo has questioned why Juventus were protesting the decision to award a penalty to Real Madrid at the end of Wednesday’s Champions League fixture.

Having won the first leg 3-0, Zinedine Zidane’s men found themselves in big trouble as they trailed at home in the second by an identical score.

The match appeared destined for extra time as 90 minutes passed, yet Mehdi Benatia’s clumsy challenge resulted in a spot kick for the hosts.
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Gianluigi Buffon was dismissed for protesting against referee Michael Oliver’s decision , potentially ending his European career.

Ronaldo, who slammed the resultant kick into the top corner of the net, is puzzled why the visitors were so vehement in their remonstrations. nfl replica jerseys china

“I really don’t understand why they were protesting, but football is like that,” he said. “If they didn’t make the foul, Lucas would score the goal. We’re happy to be in the semi-finals.”

Meanwhile, the striker was cool over his long wait before striking the decisive blow to the Italians’ hopes.
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“I had to reassure myself. I was decisive and thank God I scored,” he said.

Despite Madrid’s progress, it was a chastening experience, as the Ballon d’Or winner admitted.

“It’s a lesson for us,” he concluded.
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Madrid join Bayern Munich, Roma and Liverpool in the Champions League last four.

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