The 2022 World Cup has come to an end, and now it’s time to look forward to the return of club football.
Manchester United were one of the most heavily represented clubs in Qatar, boasting 15 players – only Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City had more.
Given that United players would be playing for all the World Cup favourites in Argentina, France, Netherlands, England and Brazil (to name a few), the best betting apps for football betting would have given you excellent odds for a United player lifting the big cup.
The World Cup is the biggest stage in football, and having a good tournament can do wonders for a player’s confidence. But how did those 15 Red Devils perform during the competition? Let’s have a look.
Having already made a huge impression at Old Trafford, Lisandro Martinez enjoyed a successful World Cup campaign. He managed to get his hands on his second major international title, and helped Argentina to their first World Cup since 1986.
He was often used as a back-up option by manager Lionel Scaloni, but played his part nonetheless. He featured in five games from a possible seven, starting twice.
While one Man Utd centre-back was celebrating, another was heartbroken. Raphael Varane missed the chance of lifting back-to-back World Cups, losing in the final on penalties to Argentina.
Despite this, the Frenchman was widely praised for his performances. Having missed the opening game with a slight knock, he came into the starting XI for their clash with Denmark, and remained in the line-up ever since.
Varane’s tournament ended in the 113th minute of the final, being substituted off with a suspected injury. However, recent reports suggest that this is nothing to worry about long-term, and he was just suffering with fatigue.
Despite Brazil’s shock quarter-final exit to Croatia on penalties, Casemiro performed admirably in Qatar. He started four games, winning three of them.
His personal highlight came in the victory over Switzerland in the group stage. With the game still goalless heading towards the full-time whistle, the defensive midfielder struck a powerful effort into the top corner via a small deflection.
After being a regular starter in their run to the Copa America final last year, Fred found his game time somewhat limited at this tournament. He spent a total of 145 minutes on the pitch, starting twice. In this time, he did little of note, while replacement Lucas Paqueta impressed.
Similarly, Antony didn’t get as much time on the pitch as he may have liked. He made one start and appeared a further three times off the bench, failing to register a goal or an assist.
Of the four United representatives in Brazil’s squad, Alex Telles got the fewest minutes. The Sevilla loanee got one start against Cameroon and came off the bench for a cameo against Switzerland. In this time, he didn’t concede a single goal.
Individually, Bruno Fernandes was possibly United’s best player at the World Cup. Playing in a less familiar role out on the right wing, the former Sporting man was one of the stars of the group stages.
In his first appearance, he played a huge part in Portugal’s victory over Ghana, recording assists for Joao Felix and Rafael Leao in a 3-2 victory. He followed this up with another standout performance, bagging both goals in the 2-0 win against Uruguay.
He continued this form going into the round of 16, putting in a fine display and getting another assist in the 6-1 demolition of Switzerland. But his luck ran out in the quarter-finals, falling to a 1-0 defeat to Morocco.
Overall, he exited the competition with two goals and three assists. This made him the joint-top playmaker of the tournament, level with Lionel Messi, Harry Kane, Antoine Griezmann and Ivan Perisic.
After finding himself stuck behind Joao Cancelo in the opening two fixtures, Diogo Dalot managed to force his way to the front of the queue and make the right-back spot his own.
Fernando Santos gave him the chance to impress in the third group stage fixture against South Korea, and he repaid his manager’s faith with an assist for Ricardo Horta.
He kept his place in the starting line-up for the knockout ties against Switzerland and Morocco, earning plaudits for his performance in the former outing. However, he was below par in the latter, which saw Portugal eliminated.
Harry Maguire’s selection was the subject of much debate in England. He had performed well on the international stage in the past, but his club form was well below standard, and he had lost his place in Erik ten Hag’s side.
Gareth Southgate stuck by him, and it delivered mixed results. He contributed to three clean sheets from five games and was singled out for praise in the 0-0 draw against the United States.
However, he also had some shaky moments. Some people blamed him for the goals scored against England by Mehdi Taremi and Olivier Giroud, while others were critical of his display against Senegal in the round of 16.
Marcus Rashford wasted no time in making an impact in Qatar. We mean that literally – he scored his first goal of the tournament just 49 seconds after coming on as a substitute against Iran.
The 25-year-old made his only start of the campaign in the third group stage game against Wales, and he was once again on the scoresheet. He broke the deadlock with a brilliant free-kick early in the second half and later secured his brace with a left-footed strike.
As the only left-back in Southgate’s squad, Luke Shaw was unsurprisingly a starter in all five games for the Three Lions. He played almost every minute, sitting out only the final 25 minutes in the triumph over Wales.
Overall, he had a fairly solid campaign. He assisted England’s first goal of the tournament and later contributed to three clean sheets.
Tyrell Malacia was included in Louis van Gaal’s squad for the World Cup, but did not get a single minute on the pitch. Instead, ex-United man Daley Blind was preferred in the left-wing-back role.
Heading into the tournament, many expected Denmark to be one of the teams to watch. This was not the case, as Kasper Hjulmand’s men crashed out in the group stages with just one point.
As for Christian Eriksen, it was a disappointing campaign, struggling to make any real impact in his three appearances.
Another who exited in the groups, Facundo Pellistri wasn’t able to make his mark in Qatar. He featured in all three of Uruguay’s games, starting two, but recorded no goals or assists.
The 15th and final United player at the World Cup is Hannibal Mejbri. The Tunisia international hardly got a kick, playing just ten minutes throughout the entire tournament.
Mejbri has since returned to action at club level, featuring twice on loan at Birmingham City in the Championship.
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