From the exit of defending Champions in the group stage till the final entry of Croatia,Russian World Cup was a collection of unexpected chapters. Even experts didn't predicted such illusions in the World Cup. Argentina, Portugal's exit from the round of 16, Brazil's failure in the round of 16 are the unexpected failures. Russia, England's dream journey, Croatia's surprising final entry was the stories of success at Russia.
But there are performers whom single handeldy led the team to their best. When Messi,Neymar failed to reach the expectations, some unanticipated performances hoisted inthe event. The following article lists 5 players who showcased shocking performances at the 2018 World Cup event.
Igor Akinfeev has been the deciding contender for the Russian team at the World Cups. The CSKA Moscow goal saver was an ordinary performer in the club matches. He was criticized for his Champions League performances mainly due to a limited number of clean sheets. But when he played at his home grounds Akinfeev showcased his actual talent.
Having Uruguay and Egypt in the group, Russian team's round of 16 entrance seemed to be a bit tougher before the World Cup analysis. But Russia started their home journey in a great way thrashing puny Saudi Arabia for 5-0 margin, Igor Akinfeev started the journey with a clean sheet. Igor Akinfeev's next heroic performance was against Spain. The Russian stopper shocked the Spanish side with some excellent penalty savings.
Igor Akinfeev protected 2 penalty kicks from Koke and Lago Aspas with Aspas's kick would have almost reached the target. This performance helped the goalkeeper to stay in the limelight. His performance was a surprise showing for his side. But Igor Akinfeev wasn't able to maintain his form against Croatia in the quarters as the penalty shootout ended up in a 4-3 margin.
Croatia's World Cup trip was unexpected. They have made impossible at Mother motherland. Croatia had a little hopes on No. 9 forward Andrej Kramaric. This is mainly because, the forward didn't had any notable achievements in Club matches. He was a less used player in the English Premier League matches.
The TSG 1899 Hoffenheim forward played a crucial role in Croatia's journey at Russia. He wasn't a great finisher, but his assists were pivotal in many matches. When Kramaric in the forward, the mid×elders didn't had any over duties.
Kramaric found the goal post only once at Russia. But that was a crucial one, in the quarter finals against the hosts, Russia. The 39 minute goal helped the Croatian side to equal their score card with Russia's one goal. Kramaric will play a key role in their final against France. If he maintained his form Croatian side can achieve the throne.
Belgium finally had to give up in the semi final against France. Thrashing the Brazilian side, assaulting the England in the group stage was their notable achievement in the tournament. The team had an amazing winning streak of 5 in the tournament and smashed a total 14 goals. Russian World Cup will be one of the best memories for any Belgium fan.
Marouane Fellaini was an unexpected performer of the side. The long curly hair man was a key performer in the middle area. Fellaini created a lot of goal scoring opportunities for his side and scored a crucial goal against Japan. This performance helped him to get a place in their quarter final match against Brazil.
Marouane Fellaini continued his form against Brazil. He was exceptional in the mid field. When Fellaini was in the mid field, Neymar and gang had struggled a lot to reach the Belgium goal post. The Manchester United No.27 player wasn't a great executant before the World Cup. But performed exceptionally well when required.
Another French man in the list. Experts never expected a final position for the France team. This is mainly because the team didn't had any star players in the list. The team was filled with many young talents. Olivier Giroud was one exception in the list with 31 year age card. But his experience doesn't seemed to help his side.
This was mainly because Olivier Giroud wasn't a great finisher. His talent was limited in ball possession and passes. But Olivier Giroud is a great play maker for the side. Although Mbappe, Griezmann shined as goal scorers, Olivier Giroud had pivotal role in giving assists to these goals. Breaking the defense with some nasty techniques was his core skill. This helped the French side to make amazing moves.
The interesting fact is that. although Olivier Giroud makes his business in the forward, he hasn't scored a goal in the World Cup. Even there was only a countable number of strikes to the goal post from him. But Olivier Giroud's presence in the team will be a great advantage for the French team. As the final package is ready at Russia, Olivier Giroud's play making will aid in achieving France's second title.
The England team midfielder, Jordan Henderson had a key role in leading his side to the semi finals. Although given with the leading cap at Liverpool, Henderson was an ordinary shower in the club matches. Even the English fans worried a little on his position at the mid field. All this was due to poor play making styles from the No.14 Liverpool Man.
But Jordan Henderson replied to all these criticisms by showing his real skill at Russia. Even former England under 21 manager stuart pearce described him as the best performer of the World Cup. When Harry Kane was busy in the run for Golden Boot, Henderson had duties to give assists to the totenham No.10 forward.
Henderson's performance was less noticed by the media. This is mainly due to goals of Harry Kane and decent performance from Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli. Now, the England team found their door out of the World Cup. Mario Mandzukic's extra time goal thrashed the hopes of England's 2nd World Cup final entry. But a real football fan will never forget Henderson's unexpected outing at Russia..