Shinji Ono selects the Best XI of the Russia World Cup

(C)Hironori Saito
Former Japanese international Shinji Ono, currently playing at Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, picks his best players from the World Cup..

France won their second ever world title on July 15th, triumphing over Croatia in the World Cup final which culminated an exciting tournament.

With the latest technology such as VAR (Video Assistant Referee) and GLT (Goal Line Technology), tensions were high among the players. We saw some exciting matches including strong teams’ struggle and breakout stars from the new generation.

The supporters are not the only ones who couldn’t take their eyes off football matches. It was the same for football players too. That is why Goal, asked the J. League players, who have deep knowledge on international football, to choose the “Russia World Cup Best XI”.

This time, Shinji Ono from Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, who played in three World Cups including France 1998 World Cup in France, 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, and 2006 World Cup in Germany, was asked to select the 11 best players from the World Cup. 

"In this year’s World Cup, the strong favourites had tough matches. It proves that the competition among national teams are getting tougher. Although Morocco lost in the group stage, I really like their style of football, they were one of the teams I would have loved to see in the knockout stage.

"With that being said, these are the 11 players I have selected. First of all, I feel that 3-4-3 formation would be best but with these members, I think that each player could analyze the situation and try to balance it out in any formation. So, I’m not too concerned about the formation," said Ono. 


Manuel Neuer - EA

Manuel Neuer (German National Team / FC Bayern München)

Unfortunately, the German team lost in the group stage, but his ability is excellent. He is a wonderful player who contributes to the build-up play as well. 


Simon Kjaer (Denmark National Team / Sevilla F.C.)

Simon Kjaer - EA

He has a good ability to pass the ball to the front lines. He is a player who can create a base for offensive tactics from the defence. 

Sergio Ramos Garcia (Spain National Team / Real Madrid C.F.)


Of course, I evaluate him highly for his one-on-one defending ability but also for his leadership to bring the team together as the captain.

Marcelo Vieira da Silva (Brazil National Team / Real Madrid C.F.)


Although he is positioned in defence, the role he should play should be similar to the role of Akito Fukumori in Sapporo Consadole. I would like him to energize the offensive plays with passes from the back line. 


Luka Modric (Croatian National Team / Real Madrid C.F.) & Isco (Spain National Team / Real Madrid C.F.)



Their stamina to last throughout the match is extraordinary. In addition to that, they can also build accurate attacks. The skill in choosing passes to launch quick offensive moves and slowing down play when required is amazing. And when they are on the defensive side, they are committed to cover any open space, but they can also win the ball from the opponents which is wonderful.

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco National Team / AFC Ajax)


This player can receive a pass at all times, but he can also rush forward from behind an opponent to get to a pass. I felt that he is an extremely high-quality player.

Eden Hazard (Belgium National Team / Chelsea FC)


He is a top-level player who can create an opportunity to score from nothing and can also draw out good performances from other players.


Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal National Team / Real Madrid C.F.)


Luis Suarez (Uruguay National Team / FC Barcelona)


Lionel Messi (Argentine National Team / FC Barcelona)

I probably don’t need to explain about these three players. They always score goals, which is the most important task for a forward. I’m not going to take time to describe their style of play. They can score goals. That says it all.

Full Team

Russia 2018 Ono