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Rated! The best and worst performer so far from every team left in the World Cup

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Russia

Igor Akinfeev

Star man

Aleksandr Golovin ran the show in Russia’s 5-0 thrashing of Uruguay in the World Cup curtain-raiser, pulling the strings in a No.10 role to set the hosts on their way. His creativity was again key in the 3-1 defeat of Egypt, and Russia missed his influence when he was rested for the loss to Uruguay.

Must improve

Igor Akinfeev didn’t make a single save against Saudi Arabia and Egypt, such was the lack of threat posed by Russia’s first two opponents. The CSKA Moscow shot-stopper didn’t cover himself in glory against Uruguay, though, and his slow reactions are a warning for the knockout phase.

Croatia

Luka Modric

Star man

Luka Modric’s diminished popularity back home hasn’t stopped him turning on the style in Russia. The midfield metronome scored a superb goal to cap a tremendous all-round display against Argentina, while he was also excellent in the victories over Nigeria (where he converted a penalty) and Iceland.

Must improve

Mario Mandzukic has yet to find the net at this World Cup, which will be a concern for manager Zlatko Dalic. The Juventus striker missed an excellent chance against Argentina and generally looked off the pace, but he could be fresher in the last 16 after being rested in the 2-1 triumph over Iceland.

Denmark

Kasper Schmeichel

Star man

Kasper Schmeichel delivered one of the best goalkeeping displays of the competition so far against Peru, when he made several excellent stops to keep Los Incas at bay. The Leicester glovesman was unable to stop Mile Jedinak’s penalty against Australia, but he’s yet to concede from open play in Russia.

Must improve

Left-back Jens Stryger Larsen has looked vulnerable to pace in the last couple of weeks: Peru winger Andre Carillo and buccaneering right-back Luis Advincula caused him problems in Denmark’s opening match, as did Australia’s Matt Leckie in the two sides’ 1-1 draw.

Brazil

Willian

Star man

Tite’s decision to redeploy Philippe Coutinho in a central role paid dividends in the group stage, with the Barcelona man scoring two goals and creating another. Coutinho brings creativity to the Seleção midfield and has suddenly become one of his country’s most important players.

Must improve

Willian hasn’t been at his best thus far, even allowing for the fact he’s had to perform a selfless role by providing width on the right flank while attacks are funnelled down Neymar’s side on the left. Despite his diligent defensive work, the Chelsea forward hasn’t offered much in the final third.

Mexico

Hirving Lozano

Star man

Hirving Lozano scored one of El Tri’s most memorable World Cup goals with the winner against holders Germany in their opening game. He then turned provider in the victory over South Korea by setting up Javier Hernandez’s 50th Mexico goal, and has impressed throughout with his speed and dribbling.

Must improve

Edson Alvarez was poor in the 3-0 defeat by Sweden, the 20-year-old right-back scoring an own goal and showing some suspect positioning throughout. The youngster has contributed to Mexico's cause going forward, but there have been signs of weakness when he’s been forced to defend.<--pagebreak-->

Belgium

Romelu Lukaku

Star man

Romelu Lukaku scored four goals in his two group stage appearances, three of which were lovely finishes. The striker’s touch and movement have also been sharp, with Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens completing a fearsome front three.

Must improve

It feels harsh to criticise Yannick Carrasco for his occasional struggles at left-wing-back; this, after all, is an attack-minded winger playing out of position. Carrasco has left space in behind him, though, and better teams could exploit that in the knockout rounds.