2022 World Cup defender power rankings: Matchday 3

Mitch Wilks
Koulibaly enters the rankings
Koulibaly enters the rankings / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages
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With the big guns separated from the weak links as the World Cup knockout stages are established, it's time to do some power ranking.

Some massive defensive displays were needed for teams to book their spot in the last 16, and we got exactly that. So, without further ado, here are the 10 most impressive defenders in Qatar after matchday three.


10. Dayot Upamecano (France, down 4)

Dayot Upamecano
Upamecano will be back in the knockouts / Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

Simply put, Upamecano didn't play as France lost 1-0 to Tunisia. That reflects well on him, though, and highlights just how important he is for Les Bleus.

9. Pervis Estupinan (Ecuador, down 1)

Pervis Estupinan
Estupinan keeps his spot in the rankings / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Ecuador couldn't find a win against Senegal in matchday three, but defeat isn't a total reflection of Estupinan's tournament so far; the Brighton full-back has been solid.

8. Jurrien Timber (Netherlands, new entry)

Jurrien Timber
Timber looked good / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Granted it was against Qatar, you can only play what's in front of you, and Timber did that brilliantly in matchday three.

A performance that highlighted exactly what he can offer when he's in top form.

7. Nayef Aguerd (Morocco, -)

Nayef Aguerd
Hands up if you're bossing the World Cup... / Matthias Hangst/GettyImages

A positive World Cup campaign is perfect for Aguerd, who has seen his 2022/23 campaign disrupted by injuries.

Morocco only conceded once in the group stages and the West Ham man has been key to that.

6. Harry Maguire (England, up 4)

Harry Maguire
Maguire is playing an important role / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Maguire hasn't been headline-stealing levels of good, but he's consistently been fine for England.

And when you consider all the noise around him heading into the tournament, you can't really ask for much more. Not put a foot wrong yet.

5. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco, new entry)

Achraf Hakimi
Hakimi was brilliant / Fantasista/GettyImages

A masterful performance against Canada thrusts Hakimi into the rankings firmly in the middle of the pack.

Morocco have been mighty thus far, but the Paris Saint-Germain man needs to keep up this level if they want to go deep into the tournament.

4. Romain Saiss (Morocco, - )

Romain Saiss
Captain fantastic / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Okay, no more Moroccan entries after this one, we promise.

Truth be told, though, their defence has just been that good. And Saiss has played his part in that. A composed display sees him keep fourth spot.

3. Harry Souttar (Australia, new entry)

Harry Souttar
Souttar is loving life / Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

Stoke City are massive. Quite literally, when talking about their very own Australian defender Souttar.

The towering centre-back has been absolutely vital in helping his nation qualify for the knockout stages and took his fine form into the final group stage contest. The Potters on tour.

2. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal, new entry)

Kalidou Koulibaly
Koulibaly starred / Fantasista/GettyImages

A true leader's display fires Koulibaly into the rankings in second place.

He put in an imperious showing against Ecuador and deserves the chance to shine in the knockout stages.

1. Josko Gvardiol (Croatia, up 2)

Josko Gvardiol
Don't mess with Josko. / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

If the world didn't already have an eye on Gvardiol, they certainly do now.

He was key in helping Croatia keep a clean sheet in their goalless draw against Belgium and is very quickly establishing himself as one of the best young defenders in the game. His price continues to rise.

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