World Cup Player Power Rankings: Richarlison and Saka compete for top spot after flying starts in Qatar

The opening round of games at this unique World Cup did not disappoint, providing thrills, spills and surprise results in abundance.

After Brazil's win over Serbia, each of the 32 teams present in Qatar has taken to the field, and fans have had the opportunity to take in performances of varying quality from many of the world's finest players.

Using Opta's player index – which calculates ratings based on data collected from every game – we can reveal the top 10 performers from the first round of group-stage matches.

Does Richarlison lead the way after his heroics at the Lusail Stadium on Thursday, or has one of Gareth Southgate's young lions emerged as the pick of the bunch? Let's see who is sitting pretty in the Player Power Rankings after one round of games in Qatar…

10. Enner Valencia

Qatar hardly covered themselves in glory when they became the first World Cup hosts to begin with a defeat last Sunday, but Ecuador talisman Valencia took centre stage as he became his country's all-time leading goalscorer at the tournament with a clinical first-half brace.

Enner Valencia
Enner Valencia

9. Pedri

There were several standout performers as Spain recorded their biggest ever World Cup win by hammering Costa Rica 7-0, and the diminutive Barcelona midfielder was among them as he created a game-high three chances.

The teenager also completed 97 per cent of his 89 attempted passes, 30 of which came in the final third, as Luis Enrique's team dominated.

8. Mathias Olivera

Uruguay may be slightly disappointed after beginning their campaign with a goalless draw against South Korea, but Napoli left-back Olivera's game-high three tackles helped ensure Son Heung-min was kept quiet, and he also created two chances at the other end.

7. Yann Sommer

Sommer has long been thought of as one of Europe's most reliable shot-stoppers, and the Borussia Monchengladbach man did not put a foot wrong as Switzerland edged past Cameroon on Thursday, making five saves – a tally only bettered by two goalkeepers across matchday one.

6. Antoine Griezmann

He may not have joined fellow attackers Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud on the scoresheet as France thrashed Australia 4-1, but Griezmann certainly justified Didier Deschamps' decision to field him in a more withdrawn role on Tuesday.

Griezmann created six chances during the game – more than any other player managed across the first round of fixtures.

5. Shuichi Gonda

Shocks have been a key theme of this World Cup so far, and goalkeeper Gonda contributed more than most as Japan stunned Germany with a late fightback, emerging with a 2-1 victory.

Germany became the first team on record to generate an expected goals (xG) value of three and lose a World Cup match on Wednesday, with Gonda's competition-high tally of eight saves proving crucial.

Germany 1-2 Japan
Germany 1-2 Japan

4. Jordi Alba

Alba demonstrated the full extent of his on-ball capabilities in Spain's outstanding performance, teeing up Marco Asensio's goal with a pinpoint cross and completing over 100 passes throughout the game – one of three players to do so for La Roja (also Rodri and Aymeric Laporte).

3. Jude Bellingham 

The lack of a dynamic midfield presence has been viewed as a major factor in England's inability to get over the line in their last two tournaments, but Bellingham looks to have fixed that problem.

At just 19 years and 145 days old, he set the tone for England's 6-2 rout of Iran with a fine header, becoming the country's second-youngest World Cup goalscorer – after Michael Owen against Romania in 1998 (18 years, 190 days).

2. Bukayo Saka

Anything Bellingham did on Monday, Saka more than matched it as the Arsenal star atoned for his Euro 2020 penalty heartache by becoming the youngest player to score a World Cup brace for England (aged 21 years and 77 days).

Saka also led his team-mates for shots (three), shots on target (three) and touches in the Iran area (five) during a fine display.

1. Richarlison

Saka's brace was not enough to see him top the Player Power Rankings, however, as Richarlison's own double guided Brazil to a routine win over Serbia.

Since the Tottenham forward made his Brazil debut in September 2018, no Selecao player has bettered his tally of 19 international goals, and his stunning acrobatic volley to seal victory for Tite's men may be the pick of the bunch.

Richarlison
Richarlison