World -Cup 2018- 5 Flops from the Round of 16
Russian World Cup was totally a surprise package for football fans. Group stage witnessed some unexpected performances and exits. Round of 16 was also a continuation of the trend. There was some ups and downs in the round. Considering individual performances, Russia given shocks in that category also. As the quarter finals line up is ready, We are going to evaluate on the top 5 players that failed meet the expectations.
Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark)
Denmark's performance in the group stage was decent, they never beaten in the 1st round with 1 win and two draws, which was enough to make into the round of 16. They faced lower ranked Croatia in the next round. The match would've been favored, if the Denmark players reached coach's expectations.
Yussuf Poulsen would be the most disappointed player from Denmark side. His role was crucial in leading the Denmark side to Russia. Injury of Nicklas Bendtner promoted him to the striking area and the team had more hopes on his performance. Poulsen had a good start in the World Cup, striking the winning goal against Peru in the opening match. But later on his form started to fade. There was no notable performances from the midfielder in the next two matches.
Poulsen's performance was crucial in the round of 16 for the Denmark. If he showcased his talent in the midfield, Denmark would've got many striking opportunities. But bot team had to wait till the penalty to decide the game. 3 misses out of 5 penalties thrashed Den marks quarter final entry. If Poulsen performed well, he would have been the star of the round.
Goncalo Guedes (Portugal)
21 year old Portuguese mid×elder, Goncalo Guedes's performance was mediocre in the round of 16. Portugal team some how surpassed the group stage in the wings of Cristiano Ronaldo and in a desperate need of a support for the Real Madrid striker.
Goncalo Guedes played 14 matches for his national side and was the youngest in the Portugal squad. He was brilliant in ball possessioning and passes, but he lacked the talent of finishing. Also, his role was to be a wing man for Ronaldo and surrendered his favorite position of right forward. Gonçalo Guedes had small role in the quarter final match against Uruguay. Although Pepe was the goal scorer in the lost match, there was a courtesy from Guedes in the finishing.
Portugal team expected much more from the young mid fielder. Goncalo Guedes will have a lot of future opportunities with the national team. A good performance at Russia would've made placed him in the limelight.
Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
Russian World Cup was a disappointment for the Argentinian team. Some how they qualified for the round of 16 with a thread to needle difference.Lionel Messi was a disappointment in the tournament, but it was due to the great tactics from the opponents. Gonzalo Higuain was the another poor performer in their side, whom shared most of his time in the side bench.
Aguero's impressive performance caused the spot of Higuain at Russia. Sampaoli felt it was better placing Aguero in the starting line up than the Juventus forward. In the round of 16, Higuain wasn't even considered as the substitute.
Higuain-Messi combination was a failure recently, and was a main cause of Higuain's shifting. Also, unlike previous World Cup performance, Higuain lost his finishing skills. The 30 year old striker mostly playing his last World Cup and failed to showcase his best.
Carlos Sanchez (Colombia)
Carlos Sanchez was a total disaster in Russian World Cup. The Colombian mid-fielder caused few failures for his side. Colombia hasn't won a single match at Russia. After 2 draws in the initial clashes, Colombia surrendered to Senegal in the group stage. A penalty shoot out defeat in the round of 16 opened their door out of FIFA World Cup 2018.
Sanchez was red carded in his first match against Japan. This was one of the reason that the match ended up in a tie. Before the world cup, the ACF mid fielder was rumored as the key player for his national side. Also, his experience in the position made him the important cog for the Colombian side. In their match against England in the round 16, Sanchez was given with the defense duties. Sanchez's foul in the 57th minute with Harry Kane caused a 1-0 lead to the English side. Sanchez was called back to the side bench later on and invited many criticisms for his performance.
Sanchez received many death threats during the event. His poor performance, irresponsible plays was cause of these acts. Although hailed as the most experienced player of the Colombian side, for Sanchez, Russian World Cup would be a tragic episode.
David De Gea (Spain)
David De Gea was rumored as the no.1 contender for the Golden Glove at Russia. His experience and recent form with Manchester United was the criteria for the rumors. But the World Cup was a failure for the goalie. He was considered as the key player for the Spanish side and was a well trusted player in the goal posts.
From the beginning of the tournament itself De Gea was seen in a unpleasant form. In their opening bout against Portugal, Spain had to end the match with a draw in an easy win match. There was 1 goal kick, 1 penalty in the goal list along with a fault from the goal keeper. The next match favored the Spanish side and their last group stage match against Morocco ended up in a draw.
Spain faced a big blow in their bout in the round of 16 against Russia. Both team ended their extra time with 1-1 score card and result was set to declare in penalties. Gea was the favorite in the goal keeping section against Russia's Akinfeev. But the Spanish goalie was unable to manage the pressure resulted the penalties at 3-4 favoring Russia.
David De Gea made just one saving for his side. Spain squad expected more from the Manchester United goal keeper.