World Cup 2018: 5 underperformers from the semi-finals
The 2018 World Cup has been a treat to watch and an absolute spectacle of top quality football. With every game churning up surprises with nail biting action, last minute drama and beautiful enthralling football, we have come to the last act of this great event - the final.
With France and Croatia playing the final, it has been a wonderful journey for both teams. Commiserations to Belgium and England who displayed some great vigour and challenged for a spot in the final with all their might, however falling short of that goal by a narrow margin.
With every player on the pitch giving his all, it really came down to some opportunities missed and some moments gone by.
With both teams playing off for 3rd spot, here is a list of players who under-performed for their teams in the semi-finals and can have a shot at redemption in the upcoming game if selected.
#5 Jordan Henderson - England
Having led Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League final last season, Henderson was equally commendable in his midfield role for England throughout their entire campaign, but the game against Croatia showed that it just wasn't his day.
The 28 year old was supposed to lay deep in his own midfield to cover the 3 man English defense and also help with the attack from a deep lying position.
With a young and energetic English squad playing for a place in the finals, it was up to Henderson to play a vital role with his composure, leadership and control as an experienced player in the team.
However, he was often caught out of position and was mauled by the Croatian midfield led by the likes of Rakitic and Modric.
In possession, Henderson let Alli and Lingard enjoy the creative freedom but with Croatia keeping plenty of possession and winning the ball back quickly, Henderson was often caught in space without backup as there were 6 team mates committed to attack and he couldn't command them to fall back in time.
England was being outplayed in the middle of the pitch as Croatia eventually learned that if they quickly switch the ball there is only so much ground that Henderson could cover.
Modric's time on the ball increased and with the number of chances Croatia created, Henderson who had been so adept at closing down spaces in midfield was left as a mere spectator.
His long-passes to Raheem Sterling were often misjudged or misplaced and the tactic failed as the game progressed and with Besic, Mandzukic and Perisic swapping wings to create even more chaos in the English half, Henderson continually seemed to be caught out miserably.
Eventually in extra-time, Henderson made way for Eric Dier who was introduced to freshen up the English midfield after it had wearily limped to full time.