World Cup 2018, Day 15 Review: Pyrrhic victories

For our final round up of the group stages, let’s do something a little different. Rather than focus on the top performer from each of the four matches, we’ll take a look at the main man in each of our four categories. If they happen to have all been from the same game then so be it.

Attack

Our top player here was Tunisian defender, Yassine Meriah. His long, cross field passes to the right flank were a feature of Tunisia’s build up play in their match with Panama. Four of his five attempts were successful, and two of them were deemed important by the Twelve algorithm

He did also top the error ratings thanks to his own goal, but I’m sure featuring here will have softened the blow of that. Meriah amassed the most attacking impact of the Tunisia squad across their three games, so it seems fitting that he is included here.

Defence

In a day when four games only shared a total of six goals, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that goalkeepers feature well here. In fact, the top three spots were all taken by shot stoppers, but the cream of the crop, he rose to the top, it’s David Ospina.

The Colombian was followed by Thibaut Courtois and Eiji Kawashima, with Gary Cahill the top non-goalkeeper in this category. As with Meriah, Ospina topped this category for his nation across the whole group stage too.

Off ball

As this is not a stat that is widely used in public, it’s probably worth a quick explanation from the brains behind Twelve, David Sumpter.

Our top man here plays for Panama; it’s their defensive midfielder, Gabriel Gómez.

Hmm, no important actions to display, eh? That’s not uncommon in this category, so make sure you click the ‘Only important actions’ button. Doing so reveals Gómez covered the central zone of the pitch well, and he was clearly happy to press the ball in the Tunisian half of the field. He only made one important off ball action across Panama’s three games, but he topped their rankings for the group stage.

Shots

The shot scores take account of the quality of the chances, so it’s not necessarily that the player who takes the most shots wins. However, that is what happened here; Wahbi Khazri had five shots for Tunisia, which was more than any other player on Thursday. It was even one more than Colombia mustered against Senegal.

To continue the theme of the article, Khazri was Tunisia’s top shots man for the goal stage. Good luck in League One next season, Wahbi!

Man of the day

So which of the four heroes here amassed the most points in total? None of them, it was Poland’s Jan Bednarek. The image at the top should’ve given that away, wouldn’t you say?

Only one issue remains. For the rest of the tournament, should I number these reviews by the days since the tournament began, or the number of days that have featured matches? I haven’t got long to decide either *gulp*.

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