It's A Dirty Job: 6 World Cup Players Who Do the Boring Stuff Well

When the World Cup is on, everyone focuses their attention on the big stars. The goalscorers and playmakers are revered and talked about before, during and after every game. These players have a lot to thank others for however, some of whom don't get the credit they deserve.


To the naked eye they have not done anything special but when looking closer its clear that these players do the dirty work, the breaking down, the holding up, allowing the flashier players to show off. These six players are the true heroes of the World Cup. 

6. Artem Dzyuba (Russia)

Artem Dzyuba has been described by many as an old fashioned centre forward. Dzyuba's style should have meant a difficult tournament, maybe even a totally quiet one. However from the moment he came on in the opening game, absolutely everything went through him as Russia defied their own critics and made it to the quarter finals, knocking out Spain in the process. 


He held the ball up, shrugged off defenders and played in the talent around him with expert big man play. With a style that is surely soon to be extinct, Dzyuba showed how crucial a player like him can be. 

5. Paulinho (Brazil)

Brazil never fired on all cylinders during this World Cup. The spluttering yellow and blue juggernaut only came to life in the quarter final, where they would still have made the semis if it weren't for the multitude of world class saves made by Thibaut Courtois.


Despite this Brazil's flair players, Neymar, Coutinho etc still made the headlines (Neymar for all the wrong reasons - who needs three hairstyles in three weeks??)


Paulinho went about his business in the best way, always trying to manoeuvre his team into goalscoring positions. Let down by other players' finishing, it could be argued that Paulinho deserved more from this World Cup.

4. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia)

Everyone should know who Ivan Rakitic is. Barcelona regular, Croatia stalwart and a footballer's footballer through and through - and another thing we learnt about Rakitic recently is he is the coolest of customers when it comes to taking a penalty. 


Not once but twice he stepped up in the most nerve shredding of situations, his country's World Cup future on the line and calmly stroked the ball into the corner. During the tournament he has been incredibly reliable, his passing pinpoint and his defensive positioning allowing for others to express themselves further forward. 

3. Marouane Fellani (Belgium)

Love him or hate him - and most people hate him - Marouane Fellani has had an excellent tournament. Used as a sub early on in Russia, the majority watching thought that when he entered the game, he was unlikely to impact the outcome in any way other than increase the yellow card count. 


Fellani had other ideas. 


He broke up everything the Brazilians threw at him in the quarter finals and changed the game against Japan, coming on and scoring the equaliser. His dogged attitude and his willingness to play anywhere inspired Belgium to their first semi final for over 30 years. 

2. Jordan Henderson (England)

Jordan Henderson has his critics. In and England shirt or a Liverpool one, Henderson is not always regarded as a game changing player. Many wanted to see more forward momentum from him rather than the move usual sideways football we have come to expect. 


This tournament Henderson has led the England team not only on the pitch but with the way he is handling everything else. Hopefully he and everyone else will forget the penalty miss against Colombia, he shouldn't be remembered for it. He should be remembered for his tenacious work in defence and his passing when going forward.

1. N'Golo Kante (France)

N'Golo Kante is world class. There is absolutely no doubt about that. He receives so much praise with the way he plays not only for club but country as well. Kante is on this list because he cannot be praised enough. 


He is the master of the defensive midfield role, a crab in front of the defence, breaking up everything and then in a flash turning it to another player to break. So understated, Kante has been a true puppet master this World Cup, pulling all the strings in a French team that would be lost without him. 

A list of six players who do the dirty work for their team, often going unnoticed.