After years and years of anticipation and suspense, the 2022 World Cup has now come and gone with Juventus’ contingent in Qatar heavily involved throughout. Argentina’s win in the global showcase now means Juventus remain the most successful club in the world as far as players lifting the trophy while part of the Bianconeri squad.
Let’s take a quick spin around to see how the Juve players did over the month-long event.
Wojciech Szczesny [Poland, lost 3-1 to France in the Round of 16] - Juventus’ starting goalkeeper was in fine form, right until he ran into a very determined Kylian Mbappe who sent Poland crashing out of the tournament at the first knockout round. Juve fans will be hoping that he maintains that inspired level of play for the remainder of the season as they look to mount some semblance of a title chase.
His 5.8 saves per game was the highest total at the World Cup and he was WhoScored’s highest-rated keeper of the tournament, too. Ultimately, this was a tournament loaded with very good goalkeepers and Tek did more than hold his own for the Poles.
Alex Sandro [Brazil, lost 4-2 (SO) to Croatia in the quarter finals] - The first of a trio of Juventus defenders in the Seleção squad, the fullback seemed rejuvenated playing for Brazil but also struggled with the same injury issues that have plagued him over the years.
Sandro featured in three games altogether, coming on as a late sub in the quarter-final where Brazil were stunned by a late equalizer in extra time against Croatia; they then proceeded to make a real hash of things during the penalty shootout to exit despite being heavily favored to win it all.
The left back ended up leading all Brazilians in tackles and clearances per game, and was second in the team for interceptions, which will be encouraging for Max Allegri as he refuses to try any other options at that position.
Danilo [Brazil, lost 4-2 (SO) to Croatia in the quarter finals] - Like his Juve teammate above, the versatile defender lost time with an injury, with his ankle ailment seeing him miss the last two group games. The 31-year-old was used by coach Tite on both flanks, especially in the knockout rounds when he stepped in as left back in Sandro’s absence, and was on the pitch for both Neymar’s late goal and the shocking defending that led to the late equalizer.
Just like Allegri has for large parts of his Juve tenure, Tite has relied more on Danilo to be a reliable veteran position player and not necessarily someone who can come in and change the game. His ability to play pretty much anywhere across that backline at a set standard makes him a must-have for both teams.
Gleison Bremer [Brazil, lost 4-2 (SO) to Croatia in the quarter finals] - The summer signing got just his second and third caps during the tournament. He played in the 1-0 loss to Cameroon which was a game of no consequence for Brazil with their knockout berth already booked, and then came on to close out the game against South Korea with the score at 4-1 and the result settled.
Filip Kostic [Serbia, eliminated after finishing 4th in Group G] - The wide player did not make Dragan Stojkovic’s starting lineup in the opener against Brazil, but played the full ninety minutes in the 3-3 draw against Cameroon and the 3-2 loss against Switzerland that doomed the Serbs. Kostic got the start on the left side of a 3-4-2-1 formation when he did play, but was charged with more defensive responsibility than he usually does and didn’t contribute much in the offensive phase of the game.
Adrien Rabiot [France, lost 4-2 (SO) to Argentina in the final] - Juve’s player of the season continued his fine form (and occasional errors) into his Les Bleus adventure. With a handful of midfielders injured, Rabiot was elevated to a starting role for Didier Deschamps and he paid him back scoring once and picking up an assist as France overcame a surprising opener from the Aussies to run riot. In a French squad laden with superstars, Rabiot easily held his own and his performance portends well for both player and team.
He would have made it seven appearances if he hadn’t fallen victim to the mystery virus that swept through France’s squad, but was reportedly fit enough to return for the Final where Les Bleus looked quite inept for about sixty minutes as the Argentine midfield dominated the game.
Weston McKennie [USA, lost 3-1 to Netherland in the Round of 16] - The Juventus midfielder continued his mercurial form into his performances for the USMNT as he remained involved in every game but without making a significant impact in any of the them. With the hardworking midfield of Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah cleaning up in the middle, McKennie was unable to take advantage of the opportunity afforded him at the global showcase to make a mark, and was unable to make a difference for the offensively-challenged Americans.
Leandro Paredes [Argentina, World Cup Champions] - The summer signing has been poor at times for Juve leading to his being dropped by Allegri, and his performance for the Albiceleste in the stunning upset by Saudi Arabia showed no reason for the coach to change his mind about him. However, he seemed to work his way back from Lionel Scaloni’s doghouse as the tournament progressed and indeed played some pivotal parts in their title-winning campaign, not least his action of kicking the ball into the Dutch dugout to spark an all-out brawl in the quarter finals.
Paredes made five appearances in all, including two starts at the tournament. He was clearly more of a midfield enforcer and once Young Player of the Tournament Enzo Fernandez had made his mark, Paredes became an afterthought especially with how well fellow midfielders Rodrigo De Paul and Alexis Mac Allister played.
Angel Di Maria [Argentina, World Cup Champions] - The forward has always played for his national team with a different energy than he has mustered for his club appearances, and even more so at Juventus. He seemed like a ten years younger version of himself at the tournament, especially in the Final when he created the first goal by winning a penalty with his jinking run into the box, and then sweeping home the second against France with aplomb to finishing a lightning counter attack. It’s no surprise that Les Bleus were only able to come back into the game once Di Maria had been taken off in the second half.
Just like at Juve though, his tournament was marred by in injuries, and he was indeed fortunate to have been able to play a part in the latter stages of the competition. Di Maria finished with one goal and one assist, and ranking highly in most attacking metrics for the champions.
Dusan Vlahovic [Serbia, eliminated after finishing 4th in Group G] - The Juventus striker did not start the opener against Brazil, but came on after the hour mark when Serbia fell behind. His tournament was marked by scandal, with rumours rife that he had had an affair with a teammate’s spouse and was reportedly dropped for the 3-3 draw against Cameroon because of that.
He returned in the final group game and bagged his first World Cup goal, which put Serbia ahead against the Swiss, and had they held their nerve they would have been in the knockout round but defensive lapses saw them concede twice to crash out.
Arkadiusz Milik [Poland, lost 3-1 to France in the Round of 16] - The striker only got 100 minutes at the tournament in three appearances, putting on his typical industrious performances whenever he played but with the Poles focusing their attacks through Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinski, there was no room for Milik.