Confederations Cup: Best XI from the Group Stage

Goalkeeper: Stefan Marinovic (New Zealand)

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Had the most work to do out of all the goalkeepers involved. Completed 22 saves in 3 games, 10 more than second-placed Igor Akinfeev of Russia. Kept New Zealand in the games against Russia and Mexico, but his teammates weren’t able to do enough to secure a point for his team.

Right-back: Joshua Kimmich (Germany)

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Played as a right-back in a four-man defense and then as a wing-back in a back five, Kimmich excelled nonstop. Not only has the youngster been solid defensively, but he’s been a real threat going forward as well. His deliveries in the box keep getting better and better. Leads the tournament in assists with two.

Centre-back: Pepe (Portugal)

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Led the Portuguese defense that only conceded two goals in three games. He was partnered first with Jose Fonte and then with Bruno Alves, and did well to adjust to both. Should have been rested against New Zealand, but played for 90 minutes and received a yellow that will see him miss the semifinal game against Chile.

Centre-back: Gonzalo Jara (Chile)

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Often seen as Gary Medel’s sidekick, Jara had to become the main man when Medel went down injured against Germany. He did well to cover for the inexperienced Paulo Diaz late on against Germany, and then in the last game against Australia. Will be vital in Chile’s attempts to stop Cristiano Ronaldo and André Silva.

Left-back: Jonas Hector (Germany)

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Solid as always defensively, he was also dangerous going forward, providing the assist for Lars Stindl against Chile. Made room for Plattenhardt in the final group game, but should be back in the starting eleven for the Mexico game.

Central midfielder: Hector Herrera (Mexico)

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His importance came as obvious as ever, when he was brought on at halftime and changed the game against New Zealand. He was also very good against Russia, controlling the tempo of the game from midfield. Also at the top of the assist charts with two.

Central midfielder: André Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon)

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Cameroon’s outstanding player by far. He was the one controlling the Cameroonian midfield in each game, as he tried his best to transition from defense to attack. His goal against Australia was very well-taken, and he was unlucky to not get on the scoresheet against Germany too. Expect him to play a bigger role for Marseille next season.

Central midfielder: Arturo Vidal (Chile)

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It may be “just” the Confederations Cup for some, but Vidal does not care. He was constantly putting his body on the line and running around tirelessly. Opened the scoring against Cameroon with a great header, and his defensive work led to Chile’s goals against Germany and Australia. Vital for his team.

Right-forward: Lars Stindl (Germany)

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Perhaps the most pleasant surprise in this inexperienced German team. Played as a secondary striker against Australia, opening the scoring with a well-taken shot in the 5th minute. Then, he played as a false 9 against Chile, and despite being isolated upfront at times, he still managed to find the back of the net. Rested in the last game, but should be back in the lineup in the semifinals.

Left-forward: Alexis Sánchez (Chile)

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Came off the bench in the game against Cameroon and had an almost instant impact, assisting Vidal’s header and playing a key role in the second goal. He then opened the scoring against Germany, where he almost scored twice. Didn’t quite have the same impact against Australia, but he’ll be the man the Portugal defense will have to worry about the most.

Centre-forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

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Even when he’s not at his very best, he’s still better than most players. Ronaldo is the only player to have been involved in a goal in every game. He assisted Quaresma’s opener against Mexico, before scoring a header against Russia and a penalty against New Zealand. Was subbed off at half time in the final game, so expect him at his best against Chile.

Bench:

Fabrice Ondoa (Cameroon)

Cedric Soares (Portugal)

Alexander Samedov (Russia)

Hector Moreno (Mexico)

Marcelo Díaz (Chile)

Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)

Bernardo Silva (Portugal)

*All photos courtesy of FIFA.com*

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