Plenty of clean sheets have been kept thus far in Qatar, and some top individual performances have played a big part in that.
Here are 90min’s picks for the best defenders from matchday 1.
Thiago Silva didn’t have too much to do against Serbia but did well when called upon, keeping Aleksandar Mitrovic quiet.
Many headed into the World Cup feeling Shaw would be a weak link for England but he didn’t look it in their opening game, getting an assist and creating a number of other chances against Iran.
Godin was rock solid for Uruguay against South Korea and so nearly gave his team the win with an excellent header hitting the post. There’s life in the old dog yet.
In what was a dull affair, Gallardo was one of the few players that livened things up with the Mexico left-back defending well and being a real threat going forward.
Gvardiol is widely considered to be one of the best young centre-backs around and he showed why in his World Cup debut, impressing on and off the ball in Croatia’s 0-0 draw with Morocco.
Preciado set up one of Ecuador’s two goals in their opening match and caused Qatar a number of other problems. He was flawless at the back too.
Having lost his place in the Barcelona starting XI to Alejandro Balde, many were surprised that he started ahead of his team-mate in Spain’s opening match but Alba showed why, setting up one goal and multiple attacking moves.
He would have hoped to come on in different circumstances having been subbed on for his injured brother, but Theo changed the game after that, getting an assist and creating chance after chance.
Alderweireld would have been hoping for and expecting a quieter night against Canada but he handled the surprise onslaught well, making 12 clearances, and he set up the only goal of the game with lovely pass.
Watching Saudi Arabia pull off the shock of all shocks against Argentina, we couldn’t help but wonder why none of their team guides in tournament previews mentioned that they had Paulo Maldini reborn in their ranks.
Al-Tambakti was a revelation, thwarting attack after attack from the tournament favourites.
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