World Cup Now: Picking our team of the Group Stage after first round


Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia on Wednesday marked the end of the first round of group stage matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Ahead of the start of the second round on Friday, “World Cup Now” hosts Warren Barton, DaMarcus Beasley and Jimmy Conrad picked their Team of the Group Stage (so far).

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois, Belgium

Conrad: I know people are going to say, “Oh, Memo Ochoa! He saved a big penalty again for Mexico in that 0-0 draw vs. Poland.” But Thibaut Courtois also saved a penalty and made other big saves to keep Belgium relevant when they were getting pumped by Canada. He’s my goalkeeper of this first round.

Thibaut Courtois saves Belgium

Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois makes an incredible penalty kick save after Canada drew a handball in the box in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Defender: Romain Saïss, Morocco

Barton: He played extremely well. He organized the back line, he threw himself in front of the ball. To go against Croatia, who got to the Final in Russia and looked to do well, I just thought he was excellent organizing his back line and defending.

Midfielder: Gavi, Spain

Beasley: The youth has served us quite well so far. Any time that your name aligns with Pelé, you’re doing pretty good. And I’m just talking about this game. I know that he’s won the Golden Boy award for the best young player in the world, but I’m just talking about this performance and what he means to Spain. He’s a great player. I think he will have a phenomenal career. Eighteen years old and 10 days, the youngest player to score at a World Cup since Pelé.

Spain’s Gavi scores goal vs. Costa Rica

Watch Spain’s Gavi scoring a goal against Costa Rica in the 74′ in the 2022 Men’s FIFA World Cup.

Forward: Olivier Giroud, France

Conrad: He scored two goals and I think what’s cool is that, with the second goal against Australia, he set the record for most goals for the French national team, beating out Thierry Henry. We’re talking big names here. He’s been a loyal servant for every club he’s played for, always puts in the dirty work and now he has a record that’s going to be tough to overcome. He’s actually benefited from Karin Benzema, the reigning Ballon d’Or winner, getting hurt right before the start of the tournament.

France’s Olivier Giroud scores two goals against Australia

Olivier Giroud scored two goals against Australia to help lead France to a 4-1 victory.

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