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Who is the best player of the world cup, the best team, best game, best break-through player? Jurgen Klinsmann also picks his ‘best tactical plan’ of the tournament

Klinsmann’s team pick is more interesting. He picks England and rules out Brazil, as they changed their team and lost to Cameroon. Klinsmann clearly isn’t a favourite for such wholesale changes in a world cup, like Brazil and France did.

Juergen Klinsmann,Juergen Klinsmann, left, sits in a car as he records a podcast after the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Argentina at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Graham Dunbar)

Former German international Jurgen Klinsmann’s favourite goal isn’t much of a surprise. It’s Richarlison’s bicycle kick against Serbia. “It was a goal that was like he was playing beach soccer, it is something that as a child he would be trying automatically,” he wrote in his BBC newsletter. “It’s like when you grow up and try all sorts of crazy stuff. It came naturally to him – he has probably done that as a kid many times before, and then the ball comes exactly that way in a World Cup! He just follows his instinct and executes it in the same way as he would in his neighbourhood as a youngster.

It was fantastic, the kid is just so good at doing that. I saw it live as well. I was joking with my group of coaches here at Fifa that we should print out T-shirts with a picture of this goal and put the date on and say we were there!” Thousands might just be doing it without being there, too.

Klinsmann’s team pick is more interesting. He picks England and rules out Brazil, as they changed their team and lost to Cameroon. Klinsmann clearly isn’t a favourite for such wholesale changes in a world cup, like Brazil and France did. “I am not a fan of those decisions … before tonight, I would have considered Brazil, but they changed almost their entire team and lost.”

Not many are going to argue with his best player pick: 

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Kylian Mbappe scored one and assisted one for France against Australia (Twitter/@FIFAWorldCup)

“When he turns on the turbo, when he goes at people, he stands out. There are other guys as well who have scored goals, Marcus Rashford and Cody Gakpo are among players to have also scored three, while Messi is hitting form, but Mbappe looks so sharp.

You have a feeling that he purposefully goes in a lower gear to fake his opponent and then he goes suddenly two gears higher. There is always an extra turbo in him and he is just fun to watch when he is involved. He is very creative and very inspiring,” Klinsmann wrote.

Netherlands’s Cody Gakpo is his selection for the best breakthrough player this world cup.

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“Gakpo has impressed with how he goes for it and breaks those defensive lines. Nobody really had him in the frame so much before the World Cup, he wasn’t someone people were talking about a great deal, but he has really stood out at this tournament.”

And his best game of the tournament was Cameroon vs Serbia, the 3-3 dramatic draw. “It was great entertainment”.

His best tactical adaptation is interesting. We have seen in this world cup that more than man-marking the main strikers; teams have tried to cut off the supply chain. Klinsmann picks “Cutting the supply line” as his best tactical adaptation.

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“Teams are desperate to stop the service into key attacking players. The pipeline into Harry Kane is interrupted, it was the same into Neymar in Brazil’s first game.Teams are trying not only to mark these superstars but to make sure they don’t get the ball at all, and some teams are doing this really well. It is making it really hard for the difference-makers to make a stamp on the tournament.

“If, like Poland’s Robert Lewandowski against Argentina, you don’t see the ball, any ball at all, you have nothing to work with. If you cut them off before they ever receive the ball there is no way they can score. It is as simple as that!”

First published on: 03-12-2022 at 10:41 IST
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