World Cup Player Power Rankings: Mbappe loses top spot to surprise name

The group stage of the World Cup is over after a chaotic final round of games that left fans of many teams reaching for their calculators to work out exactly who had advanced.

Germany and Belgium are the biggest name casualties thus far, while Uruguay are another of the sides to suffer final-game heartbreak, with South Korea the beneficiaries.

While it is the end of the road for many of the world's top players, for others the competition is only really just about to begin as 32 teams are halved to just 16.

But with the first stage in Qatar now behind us, who has been the best player of the tournament up to this point?

Using Opta's player index – which calculates ratings based on data collected from every game – we can answer that question and give a rundown of the top 10 players so far.

10. Jordi Alba (Spain)

Spain's group stage ended on a low note as they lost 2-1 to Japan, though they thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 and drew 1-1 with Germany in their first two outings. Alba assisted two goals across those games – only France's Theo Hernandez can match that tally among defenders.

9. Alex Sandro (Brazil)

Left-back Alex Sandro impressed in Brazil's wins over Serbia and Switzerland, winning a game-high 11 duels in the second of those matches and attempting four more tackles than any other player. An injury kept him out of the Cameroon match and his absence was felt in the shock 1-0 loss.

8. Ritsu Doan (Japan)

Japan have been arguably the story of Qatar 2022 so far with their comeback wins over Spain and Germany to advance at the expense of the latter. Having levelled up the scoring against Germany, Freiburg forward Doan did likewise against Spain to help send his side through.

7. Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)

Fernandes was given a breather for Portugal's final group outing, a 2-1 loss to South Korea, having played a major part in helping his side advance with that match to spare. The Manchester United playmaker has been directly involved in four goals in Qatar, which is level with Alvaro Morata and Kylian Mbappe for the joint-most.

Bruno Fernandes has been involved in four goals so far
Bruno Fernandes has been involved in four goals so far

6. Marquinhos (Brazil)

Cameroon may have scored after Marquinhos had been introduced from the substitutes' bench, but the experienced defender was solid at the back in helping to keep clean sheets in the wins over Serbia and Switzerland.

5. Kylian Mbappe (France)

Mbappe topped our rankings at the end of matchday two after leading all players at the World Cup for shots (13), attempts in the box (11), expected goals (2.3) and touches in the area (29), but he drops to fifth after failing to find the net from his three efforts as a substitute in France's 1-0 loss to Tunisia.

4. Alvaro Morata (Spain)

Morata maintained his record of scoring in each of Spain's matches in Qatar with his header against Japan, with that making him just the second La Roja player to score on his first three World Cup appearances after Telmo Zarra in 1950.

3. Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)

Gakpo is another who has a perfect scoring record this tournament, having found the net in each of the victories against Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar. In doing so, he became the first Netherlands player to score in all three group matches at a single World Cup, and the first for any European nation since 2002 – soon to be joined by Morata in that regard.

Cody Gakpo has three World Cup goals
Cody Gakpo has three World Cup goals

2. Marcus Rashford (England)

Rashford is level with Mbappe, Morata, Gakpo and Enner Valencia on three goals in the Golden Boot race after scoring twice in England's 3-0 win over Wales. The opener came via a direct free-kick – his first for England, and the first at the 2022 World Cup.

1. Wojciech Szczesny (Poland)

A surprise name tops our list, though Szczesny is deserving of his place at the summit after making a tournament-high 18 saves. That includes keeping out penalties from Salem Aldawsari and Lionel Messi, making him just the third goalkeeper on record (since 1966) to save two penalties in a single World Cup (excluding shoot-outs).