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World Cup: Best XI From the Round of 16

World Cup Round of 16 XI

Goalkeeper: Dominik Livakovic

Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic was the main talking point of Croatia’s victory over Japan in the World Cup's Round of 16. With the game finishing in a 1 - 1 draw after extra time, the tie was sent to penalties.

Croatia managed to, thanks in large part to Livakovic, repeat their penalty shoot-out success in the Round of 16 in the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Livakovic, who plays his club football for Dinamo Zagreb, saved three penalties in the shoot-out, cementing him as the goalkeeper to watch from the first stage of the knock-out rounds.

Right-Back: Denzel Dumfries

Denzel Dumfries continued his strong World Cup campaign in the Netherlands’ Round of 16 tie against the USA.

In a dominant performance from the right-back, Dumfries, who has been a constant for Inter Milan this season, created the first two goals for Memphis Depay and Daley Blind and then went on to score himself to give the Netherlands a strong 3 - 1 win.

This showing from Dumfries showcased all of the Dutchman’s talent, both defensively and offensively, marking him as a stand-out in the Round of 16 and one to watch when the Netherlands meet Argentina next.

Centre Back: Pepe

In what will be his last World Cup for Portugal, Pepe has been rolling back the years with his performances so far in Qatar.

With usual captain Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, Pepe was given captain duties for the Round of 16 clash against what can be a tricky Switzerland side. However, as always, the current Porto player rose to the challenge, leading Portugal to a dominant 6 - 1 win and even bagging himself a goal.

This performance in particular showed why despite his age, Pepe should never be doubted and was comfortably one of the best defenders during the Round of 16.

Centre Back: Thiago Silva

Another player who seems to never age, Thiago Silva, has been one of the defenders of the tournament so far. Despite playing nearly every game for Chelsea this season, Silva still seems more than ready to try and claim a sixth World Cup for Brazil.

Silva has started three of Brazil’s four games, with his only absence coming in the 1 - 0 loss to Cameroon. Other than that, Brazil have kept a clean sheet in two of the three games.

Despite the Round of 16 clash mainly showcasing Brazil’s attacking capabilities, Silva was resolute in his defending and even bagged himself an assist in another example of his excellent passing skills, an overall impressive performance.

Left-Back: Theo Hernandez

Theo Hernandez has started three of the possible four games for France so far this World Cup campaign, the AC Milan player proving to be a shoo-in for Didier Deschamps’ side.

In those three games, Hernandez has managed to not only fulfil his defensive duties, but has also managed to go forward and join the already intimidating France attacking line.

The left-back has picked up two assists so far, and has looked defensively solid, overall a man who has shown himself as a player to watch during the Round of 16. With England waiting in the Quarter-finals, Hernandez may need to maintain his current form to keep the England attack quiet.

Midfielder: Jude Bellingham

A player with all the potential transfer buzz has continued to prove why his value increases after every game.

Jude Bellingham has been a definite highlight in England’s midfield, bringing a spark to a sometimes slow attack. The midfielder, who plays his club football in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, was the man in the midfield who was constantly finding pockets of space and initiating the press.

Though Bellingham did not finish the game against Senegal on the scoresheet, his perfectly timed ball to set up Jordan Henderson perfectly exemplified why Bellingham is one of the stand-out players of this round.

Midfielder: Sofyan Amrabat

Morocco’s victory over Spain on penalties came as a surprise to some, but midfielder Sofyan Amrabat had his hands full controlling the midfield.

Amrabat’s defensive side of the game was key in stopping the young Spain team from running riot, with the Fiorentina midfielder making many key interceptions to ensure Morocco’s clean sheet, which would send them to penalties.

Even the threat of extra time didn’t placate Amrabat, who kept a high tempo for the entire 120 minutes, helping Morocco to a well-earned spot in the Quarter-finals and some deserved attention for his own game.

Midfielder: Lionel Messi

Though Lionel Messi may not be completely considered a traditional midfielder, the Argentinian magician has to feature in a best XI of the Round of 16 at the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

In four matches Messi has three goals and an assist, including Argentina’s opener in the Round of 16 clash against Australia. In fact his game against Australia has been hailed as one of his best for his country at a World Cup by Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni.

Overall, Messi’s Round of 16 performance continues to show why he is given such titles like the greatest of all time, however, the Netherlands will be a big test and another opportunity for him to prove himself.

Right wing: Bukayo Saka

Arsenal star Bukayo Saka has been a stand-out for England so far in this tournament, maintaining his good form from the Premier League out in Qatar.

After a flying start with two goals against Iran in England’s opening game, Saka has continued to prove to Gareth Southgate why he should be one of the first names on the team sheet.

The youngster scored the third for England as they beat Senegal 3 - 0, with this momentum being much needed for the tough Quarter-final clash against France.

Striker: Goncalo Ramos

Goncalo Ramos made the step up for Portugal in the Round of 16, replacing Ronaldo in the starting XI, and having big, big boots to fill.

The Benfica player did more than that. At 21 years old Ramos became the second youngest player after Pele to score a hat-trick at a World Cup. Ramos opened the scoring in the first half, and then didn’t look back, adding two more in the second half.

With all the pressure, Ramos didn’t crack and instead gave manager Fernando Santos, even more, to think about before Portugal’s game against Morocco in the Quarter-finals.

Left wing: Kylian Mbappe

After the 2018 World Cup in Russia truly put Kylian Mbappe on the map in football, he has continued to show off his talents in Qatar.

The young Frenchman has already grabbed five goals for himself so far this tournament including a brace against Poland in the Round of 16, fully killing off a Poland side who could only respond with a penalty in the 99th minute to make it 3 - 1.

Along with this, Mbappe has also shown his flare for making goals, registering the assist for the only other goal in the game, setting up Olivier Giroud for his record-breaking goal.