The group stages of the 2022 World Cup have now 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 in the first knockout round.
Wojciech Szczesny [France 3-1 Poland] - Juve’s starting goalkeeper was no match for the world’s leading footballer. Kylian Mbappe turned it on when it was looking like Poland had done enough to keep the French out, and both his scintillating finishes were pretty much unstoppable for Tek who added another five saves to his tally to make it 23 for the tournament, seven more than any stopper.
He remains a frontrunner for the Golden Glove award especially with penalty saves in regular time this tournament, but likely one of the keepers accumulating more clean sheets thanks to stingier defences in front of them will likely take it. .
Alex Sandro [Brazil 4-1 South Korea] - The fullback remains out injured.
Danilo [Brazil 4-1 South Korea] - Defending Swiss Army knife Danilo continues to be a versatile defender for both Max Allegri as he is for Tite with Brazil. With Sandro and his replacement Alex Telles both out injured, the 31-year-old switched to the left flank for the emphatic win over South Korea that was pretty much over at the half hour mark.
Gleison Bremer [Brazil 4-1 South Korea] - Bremer came on in the 72nd minute for a guest appearance replacing his Juve teammate. He was powerless to prevent South Korea’s only goal of the game, a scorcher from Paik Seung-Ho from a partly cleared corner.
Adrien Rabiot [France 3-1 Poland] - Rumours of his exorbitant wage demands continue to grow, and his performances in Qatar have been an extension of how he’s played for Juve this season. For Les Bleus, he’s been working extra hard providing cover behind superstar Kylian Mbappe who has full licence to attack, and not bother doing much defending.
With France’s qualification for the Round of 16 already confirmed, Juve’s player of the season came on as a second half substitute after the North African side had already scored in what would become a famous victory for them. Rabiot still managed two shots as France chased a lost game. He had one dribble, won two aerials, made two tackles, two interceptions, one clearance and three blocks in the win.
Weston McKennie [Netherlands 3-1 USA] - The USMNT were beaten by an experienced Dutch side who let them play their game then hit them with precision on counter attacks. McKennie didn’t have a particularly outstanding game on the left side of midfield in the 4-3-3, especially in the second half with the Americans pushing for an equalizer.
The Juve midfielder had three shots in the game, along with winning two aerial duels, one tackle and two clearances on the defensive side of things before coming off soon after the hour mark.
Leandro Paredes [Argentina 2-1 Australia] - The summer signing did not feature once again and remained stapled to the bench.
Angel Di Maria [Argentina 2-1 Australia] - The forward remains injured and sidelined, but will have a chance to feature in later stages of the tournament with the Biancocelesti progressing into the quarterfinals.
Arkadiusz Milik [France 3-1 Poland] - The striker was thrown on for the last half hour in search of an equalizer, but instead Mbappe took the game away from the Poles. Milik had an excellent chance late on chalked off for offside, but otherwise didn’t do much else of note.