World Cup 2018, Day 10 Review: Kroos Control

After we saw a five goal game to open the tournament, and a six goal classic the following day, the goals had dried up a little at the 2018 World Cup. Belgium and Tunisia sorted that out though, by scoring seven between them in the first match on day 10.

Eden Hazard was our man of the match in Belgium’s 3-0 win over Panama, and he repeated the trick here. What made it more remarkable was that he only played 67 minutes, yet logged the third best match performance at this World Cup.

You get an indication from the chart here of how he and his colleagues had Tunisia penned back during his time in the match. Yet his replacement, Michy Batshuayi, did even better on a points-per-minute basis.

There’s a hell of a lot of talent in the Belgium squad, and they definitely have a good chance of going deep into the tournament. Saturday’s second dust-up saw Korea Republic take on Mexico. Son Heung-Min scored the most points in total, but Carlos Vela edged it on a pro-rata basis, as he was substituted in the 77th minute. However, the Mexican got 1,000 points for scoring a penalty, whereas Son scored a belter, so he feels a more worthy MOTM.

The final match was a remarkable game. Sweden could or should’ve had a penalty, before taking the lead. Germany equalised, had Jerome Boateng sent off, before scoring the winner in the 95th minute. Had it ended 1-1, the current world champions would’ve stood a good chance of going out in the group stage, yet now it would be a shock if they didn’t reach the last 16.

Toni Kroos was widely panned on social media for his performance, yet he popped up with the winning goal. Based on Twelve’s player rating system, he was actually man of the match, and bear in mind that would’ve been the case even had he not scored the winning goal.

So what did the numbers like about the Real Madrid man’s performance? Well, he was the game’s top or joint-top player for:

  • Passes
  • Final third passes
  • Completed crosses
  • Completed dribbles
  • Ball recoveries
  • Tackles

The numbers and the eye test definitely didn’t seem to agree here. However, it’s not just that they didn’t agree, but Kroos’ efforts were the best performance by any player at this World Cup, as he became the first man to break the 4,000 points barrier.

Weird eh? Lies, damned lies, and statistics!

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