World Cup 2018 – individual awards


Although the World Cup came to an end last weekend, where France went on to beat Croatia in the finals, a large number of football fans are still talking about the prestigious competition as a whole and are massively debating about which players deserve to win which award at the end of it.

With no further ado, here are EuroFantasy League’s individual awards per position…

Goalkeeper of the tournament

Thibaut Courtois. It wasn’t a straight forward decision with who was the best goalkeeper throughout the World Cup campaign, especially when the likes of Danjiel Subasic, Guillermo Ochoa and Jordan Pickford produced a number of solid performances. However, Thibaut Courtois showed why he still remains as one of the best shot-stoppers in Europe despite his lack of development in recent years.

The Chelsea goalkeeper was top notch from start till end, and if it wasn’t for his incredible number of saves in the Quarter-finals against Brazil, Roberto Martinez’s men would not have gone on to finish in third-place this summer. Also, if his dominant displays were watched by a certain individual called Florentino Perez, Thibaut Courtois’ potential move to Real Madrid could be quicker than many think.

Defender of the tournament

Raphael Varane. France became known for how complete and dominant their midfield is and how many fine superstars they have in attack. But, one department that does not get the appreciation it deserves is the defence, an area that was brilliantly ran by Raphael Varane.  The Real Madrid centre-back was there when his side need him the most as he stepped up as a leader without the armband.

In the World Cup final, Varane made a monumental interception that prevented Ivan Perisic from going one-on-one against Huge Lloris, which could have allowed Croatia to level up with France just ten minutes into the second half. On top of that, Les Blues had two young and rising full-backs in the backline, meaning that Varane had to remain consistent with his duty whilst guiding both players.

Midfielder of the tournament

Luka Modric. It’s never easy for a midfielder to be on top of his game and on top of the opposition from start till end on a weekly basis. On the other hand, Luka Modric showed how a midfielder can be purely effective in all ways and how an ageing player can store his energy whilst using his stamina to the best of his ability. If it wasn’t for him, Croatia would not have reached past the Quarter-finals.

Having proving himself at club and international level, there is no doubts at all that Luka Modric will go on to be regarded and mentioned as one of the best central midfielders of all time. The Zadar-born star superbly remained cool, calm and collected whilst carrying his country forward game by game, even when his side were struggling to gain momentum or were a goal down to the opposition.

Forward of the tournament

Eden Hazard.  Within this area, many football fans would potentially pick the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe or Harry Kane. Though, the most ideal pick had to be Eden Hazard, someone who was constantly creating chances for Belgium. Despite playing under a defensive-minded coach in Roberto Martinez, the dazzling winger still came up with three goals and two assists.

Even when he was marked by a few players from the opposition, the Chelsea attacker would somehow find room and space to dribble into. Hazard went on to completing 40 successful dribbles and 15 key passes in six games, which is seriously impressive for a player that was heavily relied on. In the end, his commitment and performances was seen and praised by everyone around the world.

Play the most challenging Fantasy World Cup 2018 game here

Four well-known players who failed to impress at the World Cup

De Gea

As the World Cup has now come to an end, many football fans will be filled with pure joy or sadness as 32 countries went on to play in the most prestigious international competition there is to play for.

Many young talents received their ideal chance of shining on the grandest stage of them all in Russia, whilst a number of well-known players failed to show their skills and quality this summer.

With no further ado, we now look at the four individuals that had a poor World Cup at a personal level and did not replicate the performances they were producing at club level in recent years.

David De Gea – Spain

Manchester United’s David De Gea, who is seen as the best goalkeeper in England and the whole of Europe, had a poor World Cup at a personal level as he could not produce the crucial saves that he makes on a weekly basis at Old Trafford. However, his team-mates and most importantly the manager, kept faith in him and had had his back as he started in all of the side’s fixtures.

De Gea’s first error of the competition came in the opening fixture, where it allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to score his second goal of the match during an entertaining and thrilling draw between Portugal and Spain. Also, he was criticised and personally targeted following the side’s penalty shoot-out against Russia in the last-16, where he failed to save any of the four penalties he faced.

Javier Mascherano – Argentina

Not many were expecting Javier Mascherano to play a regular role for Jorge Sampaoli’s side throughout the competition due to his poor positional awareness as well as the decline he has experienced in recent years. Though, the 34-year-old surprisingly started in all four of Argentina’s games as he went on to construct some unconvincing displays whilst being a passenger in midfield.

After having such a below-par campaign compared to his old and usual standards, it’s not a surprise to see the former Barcelona and Liverpool player retiring from international football. Four years ago, Mascherano played an influential role in helping the side to reach the World Cup finals, but he could not do the same this time around as he looked past his best and totally confused on and off the ball.

Jerome Boateng – Germany

Germany were seen as one of the main favourites to win the competition, especially as they were the current champions of the world before the tournament had kicked off in Russia. Many football fans will state that the likes of Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller had let the side down, when in fact, it was Jerome Boateng and the rest of the defence that could not handle the pace of the opposition.

Against Sweden, Boateng let the team and himself down, when he made two unnecessary fouls which led to him being sent off at a time his side needed him the most. Although the team went on to beat Sweden, it was more down to some late brilliance and due to the help of the video assistant referee. Overall, the 2018 World Cup will be one campaign that the defender will want to forget.

Neymar – Brazil

It’s quite difficult to analyse Brazil’s time in the World Cup as they did not take it up a notch after the group stages, and it followed with them not having the composure and mentality to go on to beating Belgium in the quarter-finals of the competition. Tite’s men and the whole of Brazil had huge expectations in Neymar, who simply did not come up with the goods in the final third of the pitch.

On top of that, his antics of rolling around the pitch and diving from time to time summed up his average performances throughout the competition. The Paris Saint-Germain star was hyped up as the key man who would bring some excitement to the World Cup and help Brazil to take the trophy back home, however, that was not the outcome as he only scored twice from 26 attempted shots.

Mandzukic out to repeat heroics against French stars

It’s time for the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France going head-to-head against Croatia. Nicholas Carroll and Chloe Beresford provide their final tournament fantasy picks from the two nations remaining.

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What Next for Eden Hazard after Belgium’s Exit from the World Cup?

After having won four out of their five matches at this year’s World Cup, including being among the very few to win all their group games, Belgium exited the semifinals with a commendable performance. With the likes of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku leading the Belgian attack, the two have been instrumental in guiding their nation to the semifinals for the first time since 1986.

We previously examined Hazard and the Belgian team’s progress on Euro Fantasy League and discussed their prospects on reaching the final. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and they were narrowly edged out 1-0 against France. However, after Belgium’s third place match against England, Hazard will be contemplating his next club move.

His obvious choice will be to Spanish giants Real Madrid. After recently losing Ronaldo to Juventus, Madrid will undoubtedly be looking at a few big names, with Hazard as a favorite, to replace their Portuguese star. The latest news is that Barcelona have also indicated their intention to sign Hazard. A fight between the two Spanish giants over the Belgian could be on the cards. Yet, in an interview about his future with Chelsea, Hazard suggested it will depend on which players Chelsea signs for next season.


The 27-year-old is considering his options carefully, aware that his next contract will probably be one of the last he signs while in his prime. For now, he is a sought-after superstar. His past six years in the English Premier League have been exemplary and he has been an extraordinary presence at Stamford Bridge.

So much so, that in 2016 he was nominated along with Marco Reus, James Rodriguez and Anthony Martial to be the face of the popular FIFA 17 game. EA Sport’s senior producer Nick Channon told the Independent that Hazard, along with the other three superstars, represent exciting, attacking football and expressed his excitement at the prospect of global fans voting on the face which would represent the FIFA franchise globally.

Since the FIFA franchise’s inception in 1994 there has been an influx of soccer games vying to tap into the lucrative gaming market. Digital platform Foxy Bingo is well known for releasing sports themed slots that look to tap into soccer’s global fanbase. Their ‘Striker Goes Wild’ game is designed to target soccer’s online mobile gaming community and fans of the beautiful game. This only goes to show how wide reaching the market is for soccer fans who enjoy the sport on digital platforms; it demonstrates why the announcement of the next FIFA cover star is considered one of the biggest events in sports gaming, and what it says about the star who becomes the latest face of the game.

While Hazard was not chosen for the FIFA 17 cover (Marco Reus was), his popularity has not waned. Still in his prime, he remains a sought-after name with Chelsea officials offering a new contract worth over $400,000 per week, to persuade him to stay. With the World Cup behind him, and the world at his feet, Hazard’s career will reach greater heights no matter where he goes, or doesn’t for that matter.

Paul Pogba must mimic his France performance at Manchester United

pogba-goal-france-australia-world-cupIt might be crazy to wonder whether someone who cost Manchester United 89 million pounds is headed for a breakout year, but that’s precisely where we are with Paul Pogba.

The French international has had a very commanding, consistent display at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and one can’t help but wonder why the consistency is showing for France when it alluded him all season at United.To begin to answer the question, we must look at his season and experience in Manchester.  Continue reading

France’s youthful defence defies the doubters

France Uruguay

France secured their place in the World Cup final with a 1-0 semi final win over rivals Belgium, and Didier Deschamps’ now face their third ever final in the competition.

Les Bleus were earmarked as amongst the favourites to win the World Cup before a ball was even kicked in Russia, however a low key group stage performance dampened expectations.

A VAR-assisted win over Australia, followed by an unconvincing win over Peru and a dull 0-0 draw with Denmark saw the French through as Group C leaders.

However from there on they have excelled, putting themselves a clear favourites to now win their first World Cup since their victory on home soil in 1998.

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Fellaini continues to be Belgium’s secret weapon


Belgium secured their place in the quarter finals of the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a dramatic finale to their last 16 clash with Japan.

Japan took a shock 2-0 second half lead over Roberto Martinez’s star studded side, and threatened to cause the biggest upset of the competition so far.

Even the hosts win over Spain in the round of last 16 required a penalty shoot out, this was pure football from Japan.

However it was not to be, as Belgium’s quality and big game experience hauled them back into – with an injury time winner from West Brom’s Nacer Chadli breaking Japanese – and neutral – hearts.

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Defensive kings Uruguay will frustrate France


With the last eight of the 2018 World Cup now confirmed, the real attention turns to who can win the competition.

With pre tournament favourites and holders Germany already out, alongside other big hitters including 2010 champions Spain, current European champions Portugal and Argentina.

Brazil are now the most established name left in the tournament – alongside Didier Deschamps’ France – however neither of them have won the competition in the last 16 years.

France navigated themselves to the top of Group C, with wins over Australia and Peru – and a draw against fellow qualifiers Denmark.

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