Probably one of the most fortunate team in the FIFA 2018 event. Argentina's journey at Russia was a real struggle. Making the round of 6 was a sturdy task for the team, although placed in a weak group consisting Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.
Argentina skipper, Lionel Messi's performance in the event was crucial for the team. But the Barcelona No.10 started disappointing the side from their opening match itself. Messi wasn't able to make a single move in their match against Iceland. Along with this, Messiah missed a penalty opportunity in the match. A hattrick from CR7 in the next match invited more criticism for the striker. In the remaining two matches, Messi improved his performance, but failed to add a single goal in his World Cup stats. A crucial win against Nigeria in the final group match opened the doors for round of 16 to the Messi side.
To be frank, Messi wasn't a poor performer, but tactics from the opponents caused trouble for the striker. We have seen Iceland defenders surrounded by him in the first match. Later the condemnation became more hefty as Ronaldo performed well in their group matches.
Germany's performance in the group stage was a real upset for every football fans. The team wasn't able to make into the round of 16 despite big names in their squad. Thomas Muller's performance has been the biggest heartbreak along with Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler and Timo Werner in team.
Muller was the World Cup specialist for the German side. The Bayern Munich man shook the nets 10 times in his last two World Cup events. After the retirement of Klose from the team Muller was considered as the most experienced striker. The Germany side faced a shock in their first bout against Mexico faced a 1-0 defeat. Although came back strongly with a 2-1 win over Sweden, Germany once again harassed by the underdogs, South Korea. In all these occasions, Muller wasn't seen threatening for the defenders.
Muller was not a disastrous performer at Russia. But the football fans expected more from the striker. Some of his passes in the group stage was deadly, but the strikers weren't able to make use of the opportunities. A few net shakes from Muller in the event may favored the German side in the round of 16.
Although England team was exceptional with captain Kane's performance, Raheem Sterling's performance was disappointing in the event. The Manchester City striker had a lot of responsibilities, while wearing the English jersey at Russia.
Raheem's 23 goals were crucial in in winning the Premiere league title for the Man City side. This made him one of the most important player of the England team. But the striker failed to make an impression in the group stage. A 2-1 win against Tunisia in the opening match added confidence to the England team. England thrashed Panama for 6-1 margin in the second match, A 1-0 failure against Belgium paused their winning streak. In all these matches, Raheem didn't scored a single goal. Although had few goaling chances, Raheem failed in all the occasions.
As English squad is in amazing form, Raheem still have the opportunities to shine in the striking area. If he showcased his premier league performance, England team can make wonders at Russia.
Poland's performance in the group stage was a total disaster. Qualifying for the next stage wasn't a herculean task for the team as they placed in the Group H with Senegal, Colombia, Japan as the competitors. The team heavily depended on Lewandowski's performance, which caused their round of 16 dream.
Lewandowski had crucial role in guiding Poland to Russia. There was 16 goals from him in the World Cup qualifiers. But in the main stage Lewandowski disappointed the squad. Poland scored 2 goals at Russia and there was no involvement for Lewandowski in these. Instead, Lewandowski had the stories of missing chances. There was 2 notable missing opportunities by the Bayern Munich striker, one against Colombia and another in the final group stage clash with Japan.
Lewandowski had a good season with Bayern Munich last year. Considering his form, Poland squad has assured their position in the last 16. But Lewandowski returned home with a lot of criticisms.
Antoine Griezmann had an grand opening in the World Cup. But later on, the striker lost his potential to score goals. In their first match against Australia, Griezmann scored a goal with the courtesy of a penalty in the 58th minute against Australia and the match was favored for the French side with a 2-1 margin. But overall, the French midfielder had a poor stat in the World Cup group stages.
France squad had a lot of expectations from Griezmann, Mbappe and Dembele led forward. But Griezmann had less ball possession than the rest two. Also, he was considered as the key player in the defense side. But he was an ordinary performer at the spot.
France team hasn't defeated yet in Russia. The young squad are capable of making their second World Cup triumph. If Griezmann make use of the existing opportunities, it will be a strength for the young side.