Unpredictable, astonishing, suspense till the end. If I were to describe the FIFA World Cup 2018 in three words or phrases, I really can’t think of anything better.
Throughout this World cup, we saw brilliant team performances, amazing goals, late thrillers and what not. We got some amazing new talents. And the ones we knew, the global superstars, also did step up to the plate when their countries needed them the most.
Let’s take a look at the 3 best players who lit up this edition of the World Cup with their astonishing performances.
Before the start of the World Cup, no one was really big on the idea of Croatia going all the way. And to be honest, why would they be? They’d sacked their coach just 7 months prior to the World Cup (Spain says, “That’s cute”), and had to qualify through the play-offs. But Croatia had a team. And more importantly, they had a leader in the shape of Luka Modric. Croatia’s captain tied the whole team in the same knot since day 1. The togetherness of the Croats, the zeal to win was obvious from the start. And fittingly, the fire to win was seen the most in the eyes of their world class midfielder.
Luka Modric never stops. 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/lJbwBmjFzT
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 12, 2018
Throughout his career, Modric had never been the one to score goals, give assists much. He was that tinkerman on whose tune the whole team danced. But this World Cup was different. Modric scored 2 in the opening 2 games. And he’s been just amazing since then. With three Man of the Match awards already in the World Cup, Modric also converted two crucial penalties in Croatia’s two shootouts. And it’s not just his attacking prowess. Even at 32, Modric is the player who’s ran the most (39.1 miles) in this World Cup. The way he’s dictating the play for Croatia, their fans can believe. With a courageous captain like Modric in their ranks, they can believe that their team can avenge 1998, when they went out in the semi finals against their opponents on Sunday, France.
LUKA MODRIC IS IN A WORLD CUP FINAL THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER pic.twitter.com/OM9PahlMyR
— Ryan Rosenblatt (@RyanRosenblatt) July 11, 2018
With top notch performances like his match in match out, if Croatia do end up winning the World Cup, there shouldn’t be a debate on who should win the golden ball. An with that in the bag, we may very well see someone apart from Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo winning the Ballon D’or later on this year.
Belgium’s golden generation have been nothing short of brilliant this World Cup. ‘The Red Devils’ have proved their worth in gold. Even though they went out in the Semis, their Golden generation have shown exactly what they are made of. None more so than Belgium’s little wizard going by the name of Eden Hazard. With his speed & immaculate dribbling skills, Hazard has set the world cup on fire since their first match against Panama in the group stages. Ever since, Hazard’s been an absolute nightmare, especially for the right wing backs of Belgium’s opponents. Take Fagner & Pavard for example.
Even though Hazard’s scored only 2 goals, and even those coming in one match; he’s been so much more for Belgium. The way he’s created space, created chances for Lukaku and company to score is extremely commendable. And Hazard’s game has matured a lot. Before, he was this young skilful winger who loved to run at people with not necessarily the best decision making always. But this term, he’s been enormous. With his footballing sense being put to display on its entirety, Hazard has proved that he’s ‘not your typical’ kind of winger.
Eden Hazard vs France • World Cup 2018 pic.twitter.com/vm3NVfD3jP
— َ (@HazardComps) July 11, 2018
Against Brazil in the later stages when the 5-time champions were pressing hard, Hazard was kind of isolated in attack. But that didn’t put him down. He tracked back, dispossessed them & started numerous counter attacks. And his hold up play was nothing short of amazing that night. Against Japan, he showed his true class. In the 94th minute and score locked at 2-2, De Bruyne ran through the defence. Hazard proved to be a decoy when he alone to three defenders away which led to Chadli having the free space to apply the finishing touches. In this day & age of goals and goals & some more goals, Hazard has proved that it’s the overall play that makes a player.
Ever since his first ever professional season with Monaco, French football’s new ‘Poster Boy’ has been on the lips of the footballing world. With his astronomical transfer to PSG confirmed, the hype just grew. An entire nation expected greater things from him in his first ever world cup. And ‘The Kid’ didn’t disappoint. Granted, he’d been a shadow of himself in the group stages. But let’s not forget he was decisive in the match against Peru, scoring the only goal of the game. But it is in the Knockout phases that Mbappe has really taken the World Cup by storm.
Mbappe’s ridiculous pass skill is the best thing you will watch tonight. This man is unreal. pic.twitter.com/2A2aWBnDLU
— World Cup (@FlFAWC2018) July 10, 2018
When Argentina came from behind to take the lead against France in the Round of 16, Didier Deschamps’ side needed a hero. And up stepped the ‘Boy wonder’. With two goals, Mbappe showed his class. And in the semifinals, Mbappe gave nightmares to Mousa Dembele & Jan Vertonghen. With his explosive speed, he ran the show against Belgium. And some of his deliveries to striker Olivier Giroud were literally jaw-dropping. With the biggest achievement of a footballer’s life just 90 minutes away from him, Mbappe could very well be one of the prime candidates for the golden ball as well. And the Ballon D’or may also be waiting for the Prodigy.
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