World Cup 2018 will be remembered as one of the best ever tournaments to have taken place. The one-month long extravaganza provided numerous moments of football brilliance. But in addition to that, there were many emotional stories scripted.
The big guns weren't the talking point as the underdogs and small teams dominated the proceedings. The likes of Germany, Spain, Argentina and Portugal flattered to deceive. And teams like Croatia, Uruguay, Russia scripted their downfall.
In the end, it was France who won the tournament, and Croatia won the hearts of the fans.
Now that the tournament has come to an end, we take a look at the team of the tournament, which is dominated by players from small teams.
Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark): He played a mere four games, and was knocked out in the round of 16. But his exemplary performances have earned him a place in the 'best XI'. Kasper, just like his father Peter Schmeichel, made his country proud by his performances. He was a rock in front of goal, which is backed by his insane save rate of 91.3 %. The Denmark shot-stopper conceded just 2 goals from open play, and even did his utmost best in the penalty shootout against Croatia.
Raphael Varane (France): Varane has grown into a world class defender. He was a rock at the back for the losing finalists, and one of the best players for the team in the tournament. The centre back was nearly unbeatable in the air, and his pace meant he had the edge against fast forwards. France didn't concede many goals, and he had a huge role in that.
Harry Maguire (England): Remember the name, Harry Maguire! The England centre back is sure to become one of the best defenders in coming years. He is strong, very good in the air, and confident in possession. And in the attack, he proved to be a huge threat, causing major problems to the opposition in corners and set-pieces. England's promising campaign saw the growth of this fantastic defender.
Diego Godin (Uruguay): His team were eliminated in the quarter-finals, but Godin deserved to go through. The opposition attackers failed to breach the experienced centre back. In the group stage, Uruguay didn't concede a goal, and Godin was the primary reason behind it. And even when they let in against Portugal and France, the defender was not to be blamed.
Kieran Trippier (England): He played as the right wing-back for his nation, and will assume the same position in this squad. Trippier was exceptional in defense, and potent going forward. A set-piece specialist, he also scored a cracker of a free kick against Croatia in the semi-final. Another of those England players who should be proud of his displays.
Luka Modric (Croatia): He doesn't even need to be mentioned. Modric's place in the squad is the least he deserves for his amazing performances in the tournament. The 'Golden Ball' winner ran the show from midfield. Be it in a bit defensive position, or from attacking midfield, Modric delivered. His two goals and an assist won't tell the whole story about his brilliance.
Ngolo Kante (France): Another player who was a surety to be in the 'best XI'. His performances couldn't deliver the World Cup for France, but he is noway to be blamed for it. Kante's ability to break the attack, and his anchor role has allowed the forward players to flourish. And who can forget, his ability to run all game long. In the final, he was substituted early. But that won't take away all the great things he achieved this tournament.
Ivan Perisic (Croatia): The winger played in the left of a midfield four for Croatia, but is equally capable to play as a wing back. He started the tournament slowly, without causing much of a threat. But as the tournament progressed, he was very involved. Perisic produced a match-winning display against England, scoring one and assisting another. Overall, three goals and an assist for the winger as his team finished as the finalists.
Kylian Mbappe (France): The 19-year-old youngster has taken the world by storm at this very age. He has shone at the club level with Monaco and PSG. And now, he showed his ability in the biggest footballing tournament. Mbappe not only scored goals, but tormented opposition with his insane pace and trickery. His very existence on the pitch allowed spaces to be opened for the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud.
Harry Kane (England): With six goals to his name in the tournament, Kane won the 'Golden Boot'. It is debatable whether he deserved it, given most of his goals came from set-piece, corner or penalties. Yet, no one can take away the fact that he managed to get these number of goals. In a tournament where England excelled, Kane was one of the better players.
Antoine Griezmann (France): With four goals and two assists in the tournament, Griezmann finally proved why he is touted as one of the best in the world. In the initial matches, he struggled to exert his influence. But in the knockout round, the France No.7 was impeccable. Against Croatia in the final, he ran the show, and guided his team to the World Cup.