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FIFA 19 Ultimate Team: 11 players who need big boosts after the World Cup

Kylian Mbappe FIFA 19

Mpabbe, Cheryshev, Alexander-Arnold: these chaps are all set for monster years on the digital turf once EA’s new game lands in September

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While players returning from the World Cup get a short break before their pre-season training starts, there’s no such downtime for FIFA Ultimate Team fans. New ‘Team of the Tournament’ cards ensure hundreds of thousands of matches are still contested daily – and the community is buzzing with speculation as to which stars of the summer will turn into cult heroes come FIFA 19. That’s where FourFourTwo comes in.

We’ve analysed the in-game stats of every World Cup squad member to produce the definitive list of players who merit an Ultimate Team upgrade next season. Some are youngsters who broke through onto the international scene too late to receive a FIFA 18 upgrade – hence Trent Alexander-Arnold making the team over Kieran Trippier. Others were already known globally, but played so well that they still deserve a hefty attributes increase. Oh hi there, Kylian...

Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege • Mexico)

While Jordan Pickford enjoyed a coming-of-age tournament, even his performances were trumped by the big-haired Mexican known as ‘Memo’. Ochoa notched 25 saves – bettered only by Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois with 27 – at a rate of 80.6%, and scored an 88-rated special card in FIFA 18 as a result.

His standard card next year won’t go that high, but expect it to easily crest the '80' mark.

FIFA 18 rating: 79

Predicted FIFA 19 rating: 82

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool • England)

Double-A’s breakout season on Liverpool’s right flank didn’t only surprise previous incumbent Nathaniel Clyne – it caught FIFA developers EA on the hop too.

Rated 68 to start the season, England’s No.22 surprisingly wasn’t afforded a winter upgrade – meaning that his FIFA 18 card still ranks as inferior to Matthew Lowton, Martin Kelly, Carl Jenkinson, Luke Ayling and Chris Solly. That’s guaranteed to be rectified emphatically.

FIFA 18 rating: 68

Predicted FIFA 19 rating: 78

Kenneth Omeruo (Chelsea • Nigeria)

As with Pickford, it’s tempting to have Harry Maguire in this spot – but two England defenders would be overkill, and Alexander-Arnold’s upgrade is a greater priority. Instead, in what was an underwhelming World Cup for African teams, let’s show a little love for the man FFT once called “the best Chelsea player you’ve never heard of”.

Impressive against both Iceland and Argentina, Omeruo may finally have put himself in Premier League contention for 2018/19.

FIFA 18 rating: 72

Predicted FIFA 19 rating: 75

Yerry Mina (Barcelona • Colombia)

The man who broke English hearts in the last 16 – albeit only for half an hour – announced himself spectacularly with three goals in the tournament, including that last-minute header against the Three Lions.

But his abilities in both boxes shouldn’t have been surprising, given that they’re what inspired Barça to splurge €11.8m on him in January. Five club appearances later he’s already being linked with another move, but wherever he ends up, Mina’s FIFA 19 rating is going to be colossal.

FIFA 18 rating: 80

Predicted FIFA 19 rating: 83

Ivan Strinic (Milan • Croatia)

Gareth Southgate correctly identified Sime Vrsaljko as a major threat ahead of his team’s semi-final clash – but Croatia’s opposite full-back was just as instrumental in causing English legs to flag, constantly supporting Ivan Perisic on the left flank.

Fresh off a World Cup final and dream move to Milan, it’s safe to forecast a big ratings bump as he seeks to establish himself ahead of Ricardo Rodriguez.

FIFA 18 rating: 75

Predicted FIFA 19 rating: 79

Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal • Russia)

As the only Russian currently plying his trade in La Liga, and a product of Real Madrid’s academy, Cheryshev was always likely to have a significant role for the hosts. Yet he far surpassed even the loftiest pre-tournament hopes, becoming the squad’s talisman as that wonderful left foot drove home four key goals, and steered his country to within a penalty shootout of the semi-finals.

With his likeness added as part of FIFA 18’s World Cup spin-off, cult hero status in FIFA 19 is assured.

FIFA 18 rating: 79

Predicted FIFA 19 rating: 82