Top five World Cup pass masters: Kroos & Busquets shine

Toni Kroos Germany

Bayern Munich's former United target impressive, while former Liverpool star Mascherano was also exemplary with his passing accuracy.

This summer's World Cup in Brazil has been full of exciting football, controversy and stunning goals.

Now at the halfway stage, the tournament takes a breather before the even more relentless knockout rounds begin, giving us the perfect opportunity to consult Opta statistics to find out the very best passer to have played so far.

Below we list the five players with the most accurate passes from the opening three games, as well as those with the highest percentage that have at least 100 passes. Interestingly, of the ten players listed, only six have made it into the latter rounds.

  TeamPosTotal PassAccurate PassPassing Accuracy %Long Ball Accuracy %Through Ball Accuracy %AppsMins
Toni Kroos Germany MF 289 269 93.08 94.87 0.00 3 270
Javier Mascherano Argentina MF 284 262 92.25 92.50 0.00 3 270
Philipp Lahm Germany MF 279 258 92.47 90.00 0.00 3 270
Andrea Pirlo Italy MF 269 250 92.94 86.21 80.00 3 270
Fernando Gago Argentina MF 247 228 92.31 84.21 100.00 3 225

Toni Kroos' longrunning transfer rumours linking him to United may have abated somewhat, but if his three games for Germany are anything to go by, he deserves to be paid as much as the best players around at as big a club as possible. Playing every single minute of the tournament so far, Kroos has completed more passes than any other player, misplacing just 20 out of 289. 

This puts him above Barcelona's former Liverpool star Javier Mascherano, and his Germany and Bayern teammate Philipp Lahm. Acclaimed Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo features despite his side having lost two of their games, and former Real player Fernando Gago also makes the grade for Argentina.

Kroos' passing skills are all the more impressive considering he has the highest percentage of accurate passes of these five five, and the highest percentage of accurate long passes.

  TeamPosTotal PassAccurate PassPassing Accuracy %Long Ball Accuracy %Through Ball Accuracy %AppsMins
Sergio Busquets Spain MF 130 127 97.69 100.00 0.00 2 180
Serey Die Côte d'Ivoire MF 143 138 96.50 80.00 0.00 3 225
Per Mertesacker Germany DF 200 193 96.50 75.00 0.00 3 270
Raphael Varane France DF 105 101 96.19 87.50 0.00 3 209
Marco Verratti Italy MF 104 100 96.15 75.00 0.00 2 132

When it comes to passing percentages, three players who didn't make it through feature, with Spain's Sergio Busquets at the top after misplacing just three passes in his two games in Brazil, leaving him with an astonishing 98% success rate. Ivorian midfielder Serey Die is also going home, though he only failed to find a teammate on five occasions, leaving him tied with Arsenal and German star Per Mertesacker on an impressive 96.50% accuracy. 

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