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World Cup 2018

The Best No. 8s In World Cup History

There are just eight days to go until the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and as part of our countdown, we have had a look at some of the best No. 8s in the history of the tournament, including one of the most decorated players in Spanish history.

Tired of reading? Click through the gallery above to see some of the best No. 8s to have played in the tournament.

Many top midfielders to have worn the famous No. 8 shirt at the World Cup – the biggest tournament in football. Not all have been midfielders, however, such as legendary France centre-back Marcel Desailly.

The former Chelsea defender wore the jersey for most his international career with Les Bleus, perhaps most famously in France's 1998 World Cup-winning campaign. Desailly went into that tournament as one of his nation's more experienced players with 41 caps, but went on to play a total of 116 games at international level.

Having played every single second of France's games in that tournament leading up to the final in 1998, Desailly was on the field for just 68 minutes against Brazil. The defender received his marching orders when he picked up a second yellow card, but the French still went on to win that match 3-0.

Also on the field that day was Brazil legend Dunga, who wore the No. 8 jersey for the Selecao. A natural leader, Dunga was always reliable for his country. The midfielder featured in 18 World Cup games in his career, which is just seven matches short of the most appearances at the tournament.

Netherlands legend Dennis Bergkamp wore the jersey for his nation, and despite never winning the World Cup, some of his best performances came in a Dutch shirt. The forward starred in 12 WC games in his career, scoring six goals and creating a further four strikes for his teammates, and had his best World Cup tournament in 1998, when he contributed to six goals in seven matches.

England's Jimmy Greaves deserves a mention for his involvement at the 1966 World Cup, when the Three Lions beat West Germany 4-2 in the final. The striker scored 44 goals in 58 games for his national team, but only appeared in one World Cup.

Last, but certainly not least, is Spanish legend Xavi Hernandez, who was instrumental in Spain's 2010 World Cup triumph in South Africa. Alongside the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso, Xavi was easily one of one of La Furia Roja's standout players.

The Best No. 9s In World Cup History

Despite never scoring at a World Cup, the midfielder never failed to perform on the biggest stage, and retired from international football with three major trophies to his name.

Who do you think was the greatest player to have worn the No. 8 shirt at the World Cup? Let us know in the comments section below.    

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