Qatar World Cup

December 21, 2022

Ronaldo, De Bruyne, 8 other players that flopped at 2022 FIFA World Cup

By Efosa Taiwo

As expected in the gathering of greats, there would be those who would steal the limelight, and those whose performance many will call out.

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Julian Alvarez, Hakeem Ziyech, Luka Modric, to mention a few, were some of the standout stars from this year’s tournament and did perform at par with expectations held of them prior to the tournament.

However, there are some players who same expectations were held of them, but failed to live up.

Here are ten of them:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had a tournament to quickly forget. Prior to the tourney, no one expected the Portuguese star to rack up just one goal, and have his side crash out in the quarter-finals. They were among the favourites tipped to get to the final but despite having Ronaldo in their ranks, they were humbled out by the unlikeliest side, Morocco.

Although many will claim Ronaldo’s flop at the tournament was not down to him alone, but his lack of game time as he only started one of the five games Portugal played at the World Cup, nevertheless, his statistics at the tournament speak way below expectations held of him.

  1. Romelu Lukaku

One of the reasons, if not the major reason, Belgium crashed out of the group stage was down to Romelu Lukaku. Being one of the experienced and elite players in the Belgium squad, more was indeed expected from him after coming back from injury to feature in the last game against Croatia.

  1. Lautaro Martinez

Another Inter Milan player that had a horrible tournament with a stunning 0 goals in 6 games for Argentina, made worse by 0 assists. He lost more chances than any Argentine player at the World Cup, and although his side won the tournament, his performance is one he will look back to and find reasons to improve on.

  1. Darwin Nunez

The Liverpool man was expected to be the arrowhead of the Uruguayan attack in the light of aging Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani; but Nunez failed to even register a goal for his side as they painfully crashed out at the group stage of the competition.

  1. Mason Mount

A lot was expected from the English youngster but Qatar 2022 proved not to be his tournament as his impact was largely minimal for the English team all through their run to the Quarter Final.

  1. Sergiño Dest

The former Barcelona right-back was expected to be one of the high-performers for the US national team, but Dest balked all expectations with his underwhelming performance, which is consequently, an extension of what he has been producing at clubside level.

  1. Edouard Mendy

The Chelsea goalie took his poor form to Qatar, giving away cheap goals to opponents uncharacteristic of the vinatge Mendy known at his clubside.

  1. Kevin de Bruyne

Not a tournament to remember for the Manchester City man as he could not help his team get past the group stage recording no goal and no assist in his three appearances. Compared to other editions of the World Cup he has featured in, De Bruyne would trash this and look forward to doing better come the next.

  1. Christian Eriksen

Another playmaker who lacked effectiveness in leading his side past the group stage. Although many will assert he tried his best, but in comparison to the standard he has set for himself, it was a tournament he performed below par.

  1. Thomas Muller

It was a totally bad tournament for all German players to the exception of Jamal Musaila. Thomas Mueller, one of the experienced and established players of the German squad and one expected to lead the German team to a better tournament than their previous one in 2018, failed to be there for the German team with the quality he is known for as Germany disgracefully crashed out at the group stage for the second time in a roll.