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World Cup 2018: 5 most disappointing players from round one

David C
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Top 5 / Top 10
27.21K   //    20 Jun 2018, 20:00 IST

Germany v Mexico: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Muller was nowhere near his best vs Mexico

All 32 nations have now played at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with the final two of them meeting yesterday when Senegal triumphed 2-0 over Poland in Group H.

While most of the so-called favourites have failed to impress collectively, the first match-day was, if nothing else, eventful in terms of individual performances. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Spain in Group B, for example, while Denis Cheryshev, Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane all found the net twice for their respective teams.

Not everyone has made headlines for the right reasons, though. Although many of the big stars delivered in their opening games, there were several others who put in the kind of head-scratching performers that left fans wondering whether they were really watching the same players who regularly do the business in Europe's top domestic leagues.

The good news for them, and their frustrated coaches is that there are at least two (and potentially up to five) further match-days in which they can put things right. After all, Mario Gotze was adjudged to have made a slow start in Germany's group opener four years ago, and he went on to score the winning goal in the final a month later.

Here are five who will be hoping for a similar turnaround in fortune.

#5 Thomas Muller

In fairness, virtually all of Germany's big stars disappointed in their Group F opener against Mexico, not least of all Muller's fellow attackers Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler and Timo Werner, all of whom were easily kept at bay by their opposing defenders.

In the case of the Bayern Munich man, however, it's a little more surprising. In his previous two World Cups, Muller found the net an impressive 10 times, including a hattrick in the opening game four years ago against Portugal. If there's anyone you'd trust to grab a goal on match-day one, it's him.

It's not just the lack of goals that mark this one out as a sub-par performance, though. Muller didn't look threatening with the ball, and which is more he didn't work hard enough off it to cut off the Mexican supply line - a staple of his industrious playing style since his debut almost a decade ago.

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David C
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