The second round of games in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup has come to an end and Juventus’ contingent in Qatar continue to be heavily involved throughout. Even as turmoil reigns back home in Turin, let’s take a quick spin around the squads and see how the Bianconeri have performed.
Wojciech Szczesny [Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia] - Juve’s starting goalkeeper was excellent once again leading his country to their first win of the group stage and virtually sealing their berth in the next round of the competition after stopping a penalty and making a series of impressive saves to maintain his personal clean sheet streak.
Tek made five saves in total, all of varying difficulty from outside the box and inside the 6-yard box. The Poles come up against Argentina in the last matchday, and a draw or a win should ensure they top the group and avoid France in the Round of 16, and instead take on whichever of Australia, Denmark or Tunisia makes it through.
Alex Sandro [Brazil 1-0 Switzerland] - The fullback had another good game for the Selecao, with his tireless running and defending both tested against the resilient Swiss. His seven tackles led all players on the pitch, and he chipped in with two interceptions, one block and one clearance.
Danilo [Brazil 1-0 Switzerland] - Having started at the right back position in the win over Serbia, the 31-year-old was unavailable due to injury that will likely keep him out for the rest of the group stage.
Gleison Bremer [Brazil 1-0 Switzerland] - The summer signing was on the substitutes bench again and did not feature in with Thiago Silva and Marquinhos getting the nod.
Filip Kostic [Cameroon 3-3 Serbia] - Goals, comebacks, chances, this game had it all as the two sides traded punches like a pair of heavyweights slugging it out. After missing the last game Kostic got the start on the left side of a 3-4-2-1 formation, and was good value for the Serbs as he got a shot off, made three tackles (team-high) but was responsible for two of the team’s four offside calls.
After falling behind early, Serbia became the first team to score twice in first half stoppage time to go into break ahead 2-1. They would then add to that lead soon after halftime, but were unable to hold off the surging African side who scored twice almost in succession for a 3-3 final score.
Adrien Rabiot [France 2-1 Denmark] - Juve’s player of the season again had a good game for the dominant French side who were nevertheless tested strongly by one of the popular dark horse favorites for the competition, Denmark. Rabiot did not find the back of the net this time with Kylian Mbappe bagging a brace, but his four shots taken were only surpassed by the aforementioned Mbappe.
The Danes only goal came from a set piece with Rabiot losing his man, but he was also peripherally involved in the two goals Didier Deschamps’ side scored, so that pretty much even it out.
Leandro Paredes [Argentina 2-0 Mexico] - The summer signing was a casualty of the heaping pressure placed on the shoulders of Lionel Scaloni after that upset defeat against Saudi Arabia to open the competition. Paredes did not get a whiff of the pitch in the much-changed Albiceleste and is unlikely to be needed again unless injuries play a part.
Weston McKennie [England 0-0 USA] - The USMNT remain unbeaten against one-time colonizers England and while they didn’t really look like they were going to win the game, conversely they did not look overmatched against a strangely passive Three Lions side either.
McKennie featured for the first 77 minutes in this one, playing as the right-sided midfielder in a 4-4-2, a position not unfamiliar to him from his time at Juventus. He managed two shots and a dribble, along with getting in two tackles, one clearance and two blocks.
Angel Di Maria [Argentina 2-0 Mexico] - The forward had a better game against Mexico than he had against Saudi Arabia, with his five successful dribbles far surpassing any other player on the pitch. Di Maria also got the assist on the opening goal, finding Lionel Messi whose laser found the far corner of the net behind a despairing Memo Ochoa.
Dusan Vlahovic [Cameroon 3-3 Serbia] - The Juventus striker remained on the bench even as Serbia went seeking a late winner in this one after mounting a comeback to go ahead.
Arkadiusz Milik [Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia] - The striker got the start this time next to star Robert Lewandowski, and put in a typically industrious performance for the 71 minutes he was on the pitch. He went into the book early in the game for a clattering challenge, but also hit the post with a second half header while managing one shot, one tackle and one block in his 23 touches.