The 2018 World Cup is over after France claimed the trophy for the second time with a 4-2 win over a spirited Croatia in Moscow.
A brilliant final to cap off what has been a fantastic tournament saw Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe all score to finally fend off a hugely determined Croatia side.
Winger Ivan Perisic, one of the players of the tournament in Russia, equalised for the first-time finalists and Mario Mandzukic pulled a goal back after his own goal opened the scoring at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Paris Saint-Germain’s 19-year-old sensation Mbappe was named Young Player of the Tournament after he became only the second teenager to ever score in a World Cup final, after Brazil’s Pele in 1958.
This was the tournament where Mbappe and the much criticised Paul Pogba came of age, with Mbappe almost certain to be a future Ballon D’Or winner in years to come.
Didier Deschamps, whose tactics were not always warmly received by the Les Bleus faithful, became only the third manager to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager.
As always, some players impressed and some did not. Some relatively unknown players showed how good they are whilst some household names failed to deliver.
We’ve taken a look at some players who fall into the second category in our Flop XI of the 2018 World Cup:
GK: David De Gea
David De Gea has arguably been the world’s best goalkeeper for the last couple of years, but he had a nightmare in Russia. He made uncharacteristic mistakes against Portugal and Morocco, he was not great in their penalty shootout defeat to Russia and conceded six goals in four games. Argentina’s Willy Caballero and Japan’s Eiji Kawashima were other notable poor performers.
RB: Joshua Kimmich
Kimmich is seen as the heir to Phillip Lahm for both Germany and Bayern Munich, but he, as well as many of his teammates, did not have a great tournament. He was constantly caught out of position in all three group games, and despite his best efforts, he was not effective going forward.
CB: Jerome Boateng
Jerome Boateng was shocking in Germany’s historic early exit; he was ripped apart by the energetic Mexican frontline in the opening game, should have gave away a penalty against Sweden and then was sent off, ruling him out of the decider against South Korea.
CB: Nicolas Otamendi
Nicolas Otamendi may have had a good season at Manchester City, but his flaws were exposed at the World Cup. He lacked composure on the ball and was run ragged by Kylian Mbappe against France, while his petulant side came out when he kicked the ball at an opponent in successive games.
LB: Raphael Guerreiro
The Portugal left-back was given a hard time against Morocco and could have done better. He did not track Edinson Cavani’ run for the opening goal in their defeat to Uruguay.
CM: Carlos Sanchez
Carlos Sanchez was given the first red card of the tournament for a stupid handball just three minutes into Colombia’s opening game against Japan, which ended up ultimately giving his side too much to do. He then hauled down Harry Kane in their last-16 tie against England, right under the nose of the referee. Huge concentration lapses from the former Aston Villa man
CM: Javier Mascherano
This was one tournament too far for the former Barcelona man. The 34-year-old, who now plays for in China for Hebei China Fortune, looked slow and off the pace, and made a poor mistake to allow Nigeria back into the game in their final group game.
RM: Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller came into the World Cup hoping to go even closer to compatriot Miroslav Klose’s all-time goals record, but failed to register a shot on target for Die Mannschaft playing on the wing, where he is not at his best.
LM: Timo Werner
Perhaps slightly harsh, but big things were expected of Werner after his Bundesliga and Confederations cup exploits. He failed to live up to those expectations, missing some good chances in their early games before being shunted out to the wing.
ST: Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski’s Poland were expected to make it to the last-16, but successive losses saw them become one of the earliest eliminations. The Bayern Munich striker’s first and increasingly likely to be his only World Cup, was a pretty poor one for a striker who regularly scores 30 goals a season for his club.
ST: Gabriel Jesus
Another perhaps slightly harsh inclusion, but Gabriel Jesus looked lost amongst the star names of the Selecao side. Many had expected the Manchester City man to be one of the best youngsters at the World Cup, but no goals and few chances saw those expectations evaporate. His time will surely come in the future.
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