World Cup 2018: 8 players that decided the Round of 16
The group stages of the FIFA World Cup 2018 provided a mixed bag of emotions for football fans as the smaller teams managed shocking results against the tournament favourites. We witnessed some mouth-watering encounters between the world's biggest stars who looked to lead their nations to the knockout rounds of the tournament.
The group stages saw the disappointing exit of World Cup 2014 champions Germany who finished astonishingly last in their group. A number of underdog nations like Japan, Sweden and Denmark managed to seal their spots in the elimination stages of the competition against all odds.
The Round of 16 produced some mouth-watering ties as France faced Argentina which meant that one of the favourites would suffer an early exit from the competition. Several matches went all the way to penalty-shootouts as goalkeepers had a chance to turn heroes for their nation.
All eyes were on the sport's biggest stars who either shined in pressure situations and led their teams to victory or flopped on the biggest stage as their sides faced a painful early exit in the extravaganza. Let's take a look at 8 stars who rose to the occasion and decided the round of 16 ties for their respective nations.
#8 Kylian Mbappe (France)
The French Golden Boy, Kylian Mbappe shocked the entire footballing world after completing a sensational move to his dream boyhood club Paris Saint Germain for a whopping 180 million euros from rivals AS Monaco at just 18 years of age. All eyes were on the French star as he helped PSG to the French quadruple scoring 21 goals also producing 11 assists in 41 games across all competitions.
In the World Cup 2018, France haven't looked too convincing in attack with Mbappe looking like the only striker in form scoring 3 goals in 3 appearances. His most important contribution until now came against Argentina in their mouth-watering Round of 16 tie where he stormed past the defence scoring 2 goals and grabbed the assist for the crucial opener.
A lot is expected from the striker at the World Cup following his stunning move and he is exciting without doubt with his bursting runs and goal-scoring form. If France are to get past fellow favourites Belgium or Brazil in the semi-finals and win the World Cup, Mbappe will need to remain fit throughout the tournament and continue his current blazing form in front of goal.