The FIFA World Cup has reached the quarter-finals with the final eight teams all dreaming of being crowned world champions.
In the midst of a thrilling tournament so far, we’ve delved into the facts and figures of Qatar 2022, with this a tribute to the most accurate passers at the World Cup.
Here are the six players – with a minimum of 300+ minutes played – with the highest pass completion percentage.
Nicolas Otamendi – 92%
Nicolas Otamendi has provided an experienced presence in the Argentina backline, starting all four fixtures during their run to the last eight.
The 34-year-old has retained his place as a first-choice despite competition from Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez and has registered one of the most impressive pass completion rates in the competition.
Otamendi – who two league titles at Manchester City before a move to Benfica in 2020 – has recorded a pass completion percentage of 92% in Qatar. It is a near identical record to his numbers across 12 appearances in Portugal’s top flight this season.
Nathan Ake – 92%
Another centre-back schooled in Pep Guardiola’s possession-dominant style, Manchester City’s Nathan Ake has also registered a pass accuracy of 92%.
Ake has featured as the left-sided centre-back of the Netherlands’ back three system, with Louis van Gaal having moved away from the Dutch traditions of 4-3-3 to implement a formation that suits those at his disposal.
Ake’s ability to bring the ball out from the back has been a feature, with the 27-year-old also ranked second among the players have covered the most metres with their ball carries, behind England’s John Stones.
— Nathan Aké (@NathanAke) December 3, 2022
It’s been so far, so good for the Netherlands, who topped Group A in comfortable fashion before beating the United States in the last 16. The challenge of Argentina and Lionel Messi now awaits Ake and the Orange in the quarter-finals.
Jude Bellingham – 93%
Jude Bellingham has been making headlines during England’s run to the last eight, with the teenager having been an influential figure in the Three Lions’ campaign.
He scored his first international goal during the opening win over Iran, before providing an assist for Jordan Henderson as Senegal were beaten in the last 16.
Full of drive and dynamism from the England engine room, he has exerted a box-to-box influence on Gareth Southgate’s side while remaining protective of possession – completing 93% of his passes in Qatar. Such has been his impact, he trails only France’s Kylian Mbappe for goal-creating actions.
Jude Bellingham is the first player to score a goal and provide an assist at a World Cup before turning 20 years old since Lionel Messi in 2006 🤯 pic.twitter.com/mYUzFqzbQ0
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) December 4, 2022
It’s set to be an almighty scramble to sign Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund next summer, with the 19-year-old having underlined his status as one of the world’s best prospects at the World Cup.
Declan Rice – 94%
Declan Rice sits fractionally ahead of his midfield partner, completing 94% of his passes for England.
The West Ham captain has been the anchor of Gareth Southgate’s midfield, providing an assured presence that allows Bellingham to break forward and join England’s front three.
Togetherness pushing us on! Another unbelievable night in an England shirt! Let’s keep pushing❤️ pic.twitter.com/ulD5SuZN6v
— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) December 4, 2022
In addition to his pass completion, Rice also leads the tournament for interceptions (8), alongside France’s Aurelien Tchouameni and Qatar’s Ró-Ró.
Aurelien Tchouameni – 95%
Replacing N’Golo Kante is an unenviable a task for any footballer, but Aurelien Tchouameni has been an imposing presence in the France side.
The world champions are into the quarter-finals as Les Bleus look to become the first team since 1962 to defend the World Cup, with Tchouameni leading the new wave of French talent.
No player at the World Cup can better his 95% pass accuracy, while he is the joint-leader for interceptions. There has been ambition and progression in his passing range alongside the accuracy, with just two players – Spain’s Rodri and Pedri – having made more passes into the final third.
💬 "𝘞𝘦'𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘦"
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) December 7, 2022
Perhaps the biggest compliment to Tchouameni is that the absences of Paul Pogba and Kante have barely been mentioned.
John Stones – 95%
John Stones has also recorded a 95% pass completion rate, level with Tchouameni as the most accurate passer at the World Cup so far.
Stones has long been viewed as the ideal modern centre-back, comfortable in possession and able to carry the ball forward with penetrative passes or strides into midfield.
Intelligent defensively and with elite distribution from the backline, Stones is the ideal central defensive compliment to the more domineering approach of Harry Maguire.
27 – Which players have completed the most long passes at the 2022 World Cup? Binoculars. pic.twitter.com/NDYXC4mBth
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 7, 2022
England have kept three consecutive clean sheets heading into the quarter-finals, the joint-most in the tournament.