Ranked! The 10 best players at World Cup 2022

Ranked! The 10 best players at World Cup 2022
(Image credit: Future)

World Cup 2022 has culminated in the only way it could.

Argentina and France have been the two best sides of the competition without any doubt. The two of them have had more Player of the Tournament shouts than any other and in Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, they both have the only two stars with five goals a-piece. 

But it's not all about them… here are our 10 best players of the tournament. 

10. Dominic Livakovic

Dominik Livakovic of Croatia celebrates after the team's victory during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 3rd Place match between Croatia and Morocco at Khalifa International Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

(Image credit: Maja Hitij - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

A defence that could hold on almost until the end of time was backed by a goalkeeper comfortable in stepping into the limelight when needed. 

Dominic Livakovic was every inch the superstar in this tournament, more than matching the likes of Luka Modric when it was his time to shine. His saves kept Croatia in the tournament a number of times, not least when it came to penalty shootouts. The standout goalkeeper of the tournament – and one of the breakout stars. 

9. Enzo Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez of Argentina celebrates after scoring their team's second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Mexico at Lusail Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.

(Image credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

He announced himself on the world stage by coming into the fray against Mexico and scoring a worldie. It was a goal so good that Leo Messi celebrated it more than his own from that same game.

The Benfica schemer has been spectacular in the Argentine midfield, doing the hard-running alongside the likes of Alexis Mac Allister. The Albiceleste's run to the final has been, in part, thanks to youngster in the centre of the park. 

8. Cody Gakpo

Cody Gakpo of Netherlands during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and USA at Khalifa International Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

(Image credit: James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

The mercurial magic of Louis van Gaal sides in knockout competitions was strangely subdued eight years on from Robin van Persie's salmon-like headers and Tim Krul coming on just for shootouts – aside, of course, from Wout Weghorst's crazy 10 minutes against Argentina.

But Cody Gakpo was more than brilliant in a rather dull Dutch line-up. The PSV star netted in all three group games – one with his head, one with his left foot and one with his right – proving himself to be one of the outstanding rising stars of European football. Had the Oranje given him a little more in service, maybe he'd be looking at a Golden Boot.

7. Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham

(Image credit: Getty)

Oh, it's not just British bias. For Jude Bellingham to step into his first World Cup at the age of 19 and run the midfield on every stage he graced shows exactly what we're dealing with, here.

From the towering header that opened England's campaign to the Dortmund starlet bellowing instructions to his senior team-mates as the world crumbled around them post-penalty against France, Bellingham has been nothing short of magnificent. Hopefully it's his first of many big tournaments for the Three Lions – and the last one of such heartbreak. 

6. Sofyan Amrabat

Sofyan Amrabat World Cup 2022

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Few would have put a Fiorentina defensive midfielder in the frame for being the defining destroyer of the 2022 tournament – but Sofyan Amrabat has been the engine in the Moroccan machine.

He's set the pace and got through considerable dirty work in a side that has sat back to absorb pressure in some moments, stepping forward to press and keep the heat turned on in others. He's been almost flawless – it wouldn't be a surprise if this is the competition that earns him a move to a bigger side. 

5. Achraf Hakimi

Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi of Morocco celebrate after the team's victory during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Morocco and Spain at Education City Stadium on December 06, 2022 in Al Rayyan, Qatar.

(Image credit: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

The compass of the Atlas Lions, always pointing north. Bono was replaced at the last minute in one fixture, Noussair Mazraoui dropped in and out on the opposite flank, while Romain Saiss and Nayef Aguerd both nursed injuries throughout the tournament. 

Achraf Hakimi featured through it all, leading Morocco in attacks, as Hakim Ziyech tucked in. His electric recovery pace was just as integral, however – while the icon of this tournament for the north African nation may well be the PSG full-back panenka'ing against Spain in the penalty shootout. Like many of Morocco, he wasn't born within the country's shores – but he embodies everything great about this side.

4. Josko Gvardiol

Croatia's Josko Gvardiol goes down in the area following a challenge from Morocco's Sofyan Amrabat in the sides' World Cup 2022 third-place play-off.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Faultless… well, until Leo Messi took him for a walk in the semi-final. But we won't hold that against him.

Josko Gvardiol was astounding in the backline for Croatia, becoming one of the calmest, most reliable heads in the side – and that's no mean feat for a team that boasts Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic in midfield. The RB Leipzig side was inspiring, strong and able to kickstart attacks, while knowing exactly when to step out and meet attackers. 

At just 20, this seems like the first of many tournaments. It wouldn't be surprising if he becomes the new star that Croatia build around post-Modric. 

3. Antoine Griezmann

Olivier Giroud hugs Antoine Griezmann after the two combined for France's winner against England at the 2022 World Cup.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In 2018, Antoine Griezmann was the core of a team at No.10, top-scoring for Les Bleus, taking penalties and running beyond Olivier Giroud to steal the thunder and bring the lightning. The difference four years can make is incredible.

At club level, fortunes have been mixed – but Griezmann is 70+ consecutive international fixtures deep and combining the best aspects of Paul Pogba's and N'Golo Kante's games in the midfield axis' absence. The Atletico star has been relentless – in the press, in his midfield running, becoming a very different kind of player for the French this time around.

Griezmann has found space that no one else could, creating in the most important moments and being the spark that Didier Deschamps' men revolve around. There's a reason he's undroppable. 

2. Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates after scoring the team's third goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between France and Poland at Al Thumama Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

(Image credit: Francois Nel/Getty Images)

No one has ever looked so ready-baked to be a superstar: there's absolutely no doubt that he'll break Miroslav Klose's all-time scoring record, right?

It said it all when England faced France in the quarter-finals of the tournament and immediately panicked about how they were going to contain him. Mbappe has been his usual brilliant self in Qatar, too, scoring five, turning full-backs inside out and barely getting out of second gear until he needs to put the afterburners on.

Mbappe was destined for the top in 2018 – now, he's there. It seems like it's in the palm of his hand how long he stays here. 

1. Lionel Messi

Argentina captain Lionel Messi celebrates after Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar on 13 December, 2022.

(Image credit: Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images)

In some ways, 2022 has been a remontada for Leo, like he's never had to manage before. 

No one had ever doubted him, throughout his career – yet since moving to PSG, there's been talk of whether he'd lost it: whether he was past his best. There's a parallel there to Cristiano Ronaldo (as there usually is). 

What a way to answer your critics. Lionel Messi has returned to the throne in some way in Qatar, leading Argentina in a very different way to Diego Maradona. He's been effortless, providing moments of superstardom that will last a lifetime: whether it's the assist to Nahuel Molina against the Netherlands or the hit from distance against Mexico, it's not just the Albiceleste that has revoled around him, it's been the whole world. 

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.