The World Cup has been fascinating so far and we’ve still got the quarter-finals to come. With just 8 sides left in the tournament so far, these teams will be playing their fifth game of the Russia World Cup.
Across teams, there have been a number of players who have stolen the headlines for their displays and maybe rightly so but there have been many who put in superb shifts for the team. Unsung heroes are vital to teams’ successes and a bunch of players have stepped into the role. One who does great deeds but receives little or no recognition for them.
Records have been shattered, tears have been shed and a number of fans from around the world have flocked to the tournament, as it progresses into the knockout phase. With the action heading into the latter stages of the tournament, 8 countries will remain after the final four round of 16 matches. In two weeks time, new world champions will be crowned.
Here we take a look at the top 3 unsung heroes who performed exceptionally well for teams that are still left in the competition.
#1 Ilya Kupetov
Russia has been a revelation at the World Cup under Stanislav Cherchesov and will face Croatia in the quarter-final. With a sound defensive plan and great counter-attacking threat and great tactical game management, the hosts have entertained at the tournament.
Ilya Kupetov has been a rock at the back for Russia despite being just 24-years-old and notching just 11 caps for his country. Kuipetov has been resolute in the air and reads the game exceptionally well forming a solid partnership with experienced defender Sergei Ignashevich for the country.
Kupetov is a big robust defender with a good technical ability and is a surprisingly strong player who has nullified opposition strikers. An important part of the Russian defence, Kupetov will face the test of his career with the physical challenge the Croatians bring in the quarter-final.
#2 Benjamin Pavard
Another right full-back, 22-year-old French defender, Benjamin Pavard’s inclusion in the French squad for the World Cup drew a lot of criticism from fans across the globe. Didier Deschamps faced a lot of heat for his inclusion, but the player has come up with the goods.
With sound positioning and good attacking play including a special goal against Argentina, Pavard has exceeded expectation. With Uruguay up next for France, the player has become a valuable addition to the team and important to the manager.
Pavard will be a threat Uruguay will have to contain and not take lightly as he could cause the iron defence some problems.
#3 Kieran Trippier
England right fullback, Kieran Trippier has been brilliant for Gareth Southgate down the right flank. Both defensively and, more importantly, offensively, the player has proved to be a real threat notching up a number of assists to his name while remaining solid defensively.
With great delivery and service from the player to the attacking players in the team, while acting as a solid cover for the back three, the hard-working right full-back has been exceptional. Trippier has been key for Spurs as well despite their signing of Aurier to replace Walker in the team.
With Walker acting as the right centre-half in the back three in the national set-up, the player has gelled with Trippier playing in his prefered position and formed a good aggressive duo for the country. The wide right player will be crucial for England when they come up against physically challenging Swedish team.