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The biggest hits and misses at the World Cup

World Cup round-up: Who were the biggest hits and misses at Russia 2018?

July 17, 2018 By Ali M.
Some men garnered plaudits in the summer tournament; others failed to meet expectations.

The World Cup is done and dusted, with France's 4-2 win over Croatia bringing down the curtains on an exciting tournament. Over the course of a month, 64 games had been played, with fans being treated to entertainment at the highest level.

Russia 2018 also gave several players the chance to impress in football's biggest stage. While some impressed and will now see their stocks rise as a result, the same cannot be said about others.

Some of the biggest names left a lot to be desired due to their below-par displays in the summer competition. Here are the biggest hits and misses from the 2018 World Cup.


Luka Modric

He captained Croatia all the way to the final. He won the Golden Ball ahead of several other bigger stars. Enough said.

Kylian Mbappe

Many believed he is the future of football before the tournament began. Now everyone knows he destined to become a superstar. He scored four goals and stole all the headlines en route to winning the title.

N'Golo Kante

While Mbappe made all the headlines, Kante was the man doing all the dirty work. He took out opposition attackers out of games, namely Messi, and was vital to France's successful campaign.

Eden HazardHazard was one of the standout performers of the tournament despite narrowly missing out on a spot in the final. His dribbles proved too difficult to handle for many as the Red Devils finished third in Russia.

Trippier and Maguire

Kane won the Golden Boot, but it was these two defenders who surprised many with their amazing performance. Trippier was the relentless wing-back who both defended and aided in attack while Maguire was the rock at their back three. Both men will see their stocks rise.

Honorable mentions: Coutinho, Mandzukic, Perisic, Pogba, Courtois, Yera Mina


Lionel Messi

In 2014, Messi was the Golden Ball winner. In 2018, he crashed out of the World Cup after a disappointing campaign. He scored an exquisite goal against Nigeria but that was the only time he found the back of the net. While the chaos surrounding Sampaoli may have been the root cause, Leo's campaign failed to meet expectations nonetheless.


This World Cup was meant to be the tournament in which Neymar led Brazil to a sixth title in epic fashion. Instead, he scored only twice and made the headlines for his theatrics rather than his displays.

David De Gea

De Gea is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but not once did he prove that in Russia. His blunder in the 3-3 Portugal tie, his struggles in the round of 16 penalty shootout, and the fact that he saved only one save in their four games summed up his campaign.

The entire German national team

Singling out Mesut Ozil for Germany's early exit like the majority of the media has done would be harsh. The entire team disappointed and thus it is difficult to name a single culprit. They struggled to create many chances but when they did, they were wasteful. Their shaky defense did not help as well. 

What about Cristiano Ronaldo?

His case is an odd one. After the first two group-stage games were played, Ronaldo was the talk of the entire town as he had scored hat-trick past Spain and one goal against Morocco.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, Spain, FIFA World Cup

However, as the tournament progressed, his form dipped. He struggled against Iran and Uruguay and the fact that his nation failed to make it far worked against him. Regardless, this was one of his better tournaments on an individual level.

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