These footballers were always available to receive a pass and orchestrated their teams’ play.
Every touch of football has a purpose and intention behind it. Some teams like Spain love to dominate possession, due to which their players feature highly on the ‘most touches’ list. However, having most touches does not guarantee success, as most of the work happens in the 18-yard box at both ends.
These are the five players with the most touches so far in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Stats from fbref.com.
5. Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia): 413 touches
Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic is playing his third World Cup. The 30-year-old has held fort alongside Luca Modric and Mateo Kovacic in midfield. Croatia will rely on their midfield prowess to emulate their 2018 World Cup finals run. Brozovic has been the engine of the team, allowing Modric and Kovacic the freedom to roam freely and attack.
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4. Rodrigo De Paul (Argentina): 436 touches
Argentina’s Rodrigo De Paul has improved with each game. His performance against Australia saw him make 102 touches and three key passes. Against hosts Qatar, De Paul became only the second player to record 160 touches and make 130 accurate passes in 90 minutes (Sofascore). De Paul’s growing influence can be of great aid to Argentina in the knockouts.
3. Aymeric Laporte (Spain): 456 touches
Spain’s quick passing style of football saw them shatter numerous possession-based records under Luis Enrique in this World Cup. But their defeat to Morocco in the Round of 16 meant the end of the road. Laporte further enhanced his reputation as one of the best ball-playing centre-backs, mustering 456 touches in four matches.
2. Pedri (Spain): 462 touches
The mercurial Pedri was everywhere for Spain. The Barcelona starlet ended the group stages with the highest xT (Expected threat) and the most line-breaking passes. Pedri also created the second most chances for Spain. He is the key to Spain and Barcelona’s midfield and will only get better with experience. The 20-year-old totalled 462 touches in four games, becoming one of the players with the most touches in this World Cup.
1 Rodri (Spain): 710 touches
Rodri played all four games as a centre-back and broke the record for the most passes completed in a single World Cup with 638. He broke his own record for most passes in a single game but ended up on the losing side on both occasions. He was miles above the competition for most touches too, posting a whopping 710 in four matches the most in FIFA World Cup 2022.