FIFA World Cup 2018 : Midfielders Who Can Dazzle the Game

The game of football is often decided by one piece of ingeniousness. It is inevitable that a forward will produce such moments, but often than not there is one midfielder who can dazzle and shimmer at the greatest stage of all.

Players Who Can Dazzle in FIFA WC 2018:

Here we look at some of the highly rated midfielders who can register themselves in the history books.

Isco (Spain):

A blend of Zidane’s calmness, and Iniesta’s twist and turns; Isco has grown into one of World’s best free roam players. In Zidane’s first season Isco was never a starter and looked set for a move away from the capital. However, the following season Isco repaid Zidane’s faith when he was given the role just behind the striker.

He has been phenomenal since then. Isco produced one of the finest performances against Atletico Madrid dropping deep to help out the central midfielders and dribbling his way out of trouble. Spain will bank heavily on Isco as Iniesta is well past his prime, and no one has yet matched Xavi’s brilliance. Spain can change their formation and give Isco a more central role. Alongside Thiago Alcantara they will form a formidable pair if played together.

Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium):

An elegant number 10 with a blistering right foot, De Bruyne has been inspirational for Pep’s Manchester City. There is no doubt whatsoever regarding his mastery, and his fizzing set-piece deliveries make him a complete midfielder. He can shoot from range and has the vision to pick put teammates in a better position.

Belgium’s squad boasts of World class players, but they were disappointing in the 2014 quarter final against Argentina. Belgium will look to build a team around De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. The latter will operate from the middle and with Romelu Lukaku in number 9, they can yield a sensational goal scoring spree.

Paul Pogba (France):

His recent 100+ million euros transfer to Manchester United took the World by surprise. He might not have produced performances justifying the cost, but there is no doubt regarding the tall and lanky Frenchman. Pogba can operate as a box-to-box midfielder and his diagonal balls are a treat to watch. He has the perfect blend of skill and tenacity to get past players, and can kick the bejesus out of the ball from both his feet.

France will bank on him alongside Dimitri Payet and Blaise Matuidi. Poga when given an advanced central midfield position can produce stellar performances. However, he will be under the pump after a hefty move, and a disappointing final of Euro 2016.

Bernardo Silva (Portugal):

There is no better player in the World right now in terms of dribbling other than Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese has been a revelation under Jardim’s Monaco where he has excelled as a traditional number 10. He can breeze past players with little pace but truckload of skills.

He missed his chance when he was injured just before Portugal’s Euro success, but this around he will surely make it count. The days of Cristiano Ronaldo dependency seems to be over as Bernardo Silva will look to forge a formidable midfield with Ronaldo up front. Portugal will make sure Silva plays in his typical position where he does not need to track back all the time. Renato Sanchez and William Carvalho will take up the initiative of playing the dirty game.

Leo Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo – FIFA World Cup Statistics

There is no better rivalry than the one between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Perhaps, this is the best rivalry ever to take place keeping in mind the one between Pele and Maradona, simply because the former hung up his boots when the latter was ready to take the centre stage.

Coming back to the modern day legends, Messi and Ronaldo seems to break every record and the two make each other deadly and devastating. Here are few stats which shows which of the two has the edge till now.

Leo Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo World Cup Stats:

Cristiano is two years elder to Messi, but both of them hogged the limelight post 2004. Cristiano already stunned the experts after his 2004 Euro exploits, but Messi was still trying to make the starting eleven. In 2006 World Cup, Portugal had a decent run and finished fourth, whereas Argentina bowed out to Germany.

Messi looked way more matured than his age and his display against the Germans was impressive. In the tournament, Messi appeared in three matches scored one and set up another. Cristiano on the other hand looked a bit subdued but played brilliantly against England and Germany. However, he could only score a single goal in his six appearances.

By 2010, both of them were destined to be the greatest of the game. Portugal pinned their hopes on Cristiano, and Argentina had their own Messiah. After a poor start, Ronaldo was heavily criticized for underperforming. This fueled the Madeira born and despite being knocked out early in the tournament, he produced his best. Cristiano was involved in almost every Portugal attack and scored one and assisted another.

Messi on the other hand looked out of sorts and the Argentine could only provide an assist in his five games. Maradona and Messi were heavily criticized for Albiceleste’s performance. This worked as a blessing in disguise as the next World Cup saw one of the finest individual performances.

Argentina did not show ruthless efficiency in the qualifiers and looked for another setback. In their first game against Bosnia and Herzegovina, the argentines looked depleted until Messi curled a brilliant left footer to seal the tie. The little man was again required to step up when Argentina faced Iran. Iran put up a commendable performance before Messi struck another outstanding left footed shot on target. The game against Nigeria followed the same pattern where the little man scored twice to win the game. Messi’s pass against Belgium opened the scoring and led Argentina through. Netherlands game was a tight one and after shootouts, Argentina went through. The only game where Messi could not emulate his form was in the final against Germany. The magician was left shattered after giving such a swashbuckling performance.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a stark contrasting World Cup to that of Leo Messi. Plagued by his career threatening knee injury, the Portuguese talisman looked nowhere around his Real Madrid form. Drawn against Germany in the group stage, Portugal produced one of their worst displays as they lost 4-0. Cristiano Ronaldo did not look fit and the whole team crumbled around him. Against USA, it was Ronaldo’s curling cross that helped them salvage a point. Portugal had to beat Ghana mercilessly to qualify for knockout stage. Woodwork and squandered chances kept Ronaldo and Portugal at bay, where he could only score once.

The World Cup has not brought out the best out of Cristiano yet, and with age playing a factor, it would be hard for him to deliver. One should not challenge the resilience of the man, and with his recent 2016 Euro success, he might go all cylinders blazing. Leo on the other hand might kick his luck for not winning the cup in 2014. It will be hard for the diminutive Argentine to emulate such form again.

Conclusion:

Overall, Messi has appeared 15 times in World Cup where he scored five and assisted another three. Ronaldo, in his 13 caps could only find the back of the net 3 times and created two more. Clearly, Messi seems to have enjoyed superiority over his arch rival till now.