The knockout rounds of the World Cup 2022 have been enthralling, with several individual players showing their class in the crunch games. After a disappointing group stage for several Bayern Munich players, the first knockout round was productive for the remaining Bavarian players left in the competition. Let us look at how Bayern players fared in this round and what awaits them in the quarter-final.
Netherlands continued to impress under Louis Van Gaal in Qatar. They delivered a complete performance to outclass the USA in the round of 16. However, it was yet another game on the bench for Matthijs de Ligt. After starting against Ecuador in the first group game, de Ligt has been watching games from the bench. Former Bayern head coach Van Gaal has preferred Ajax defender Jurien Timber over de Ligt.
De Ligt eventually came on for Nathan Ake in the added time as Netherlands were looking to see out the game after taking a 3-1 lead. The former Juventus defender is not upset with the lack of playing time at the World Cup since he respects the decision from the head coach. De Ligt is unlikely to start against Argentina in the quarter-finals, but he will be ready to make an impact if called upon from the bench.
Croatia held their nerves to beat Japan in the penalty shootout to book a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup 2022. Bayern’s Josip Stanisic missed the game against Japan due to an injury. He has not featured for Croatia in the current World Cup, but the experience of going deep in a big tournament will be valuable for the young defender. Stanisic will be hoping to recover for the quarter-final clash against Brazil later this week.
The defending champions further cemented themselves as favourites to lift the trophy by delivering an accomplished performance against Poland. Dayot Upamecano was once again impressive for France as he managed to keep Robert Lewandowski quiet for most of the game. The Bayern defender also excelled on the ball against Poland. He has firmly cemented his place in the starting lineup.
Kingsley Coman came on against Poland for the final 15 minutes, while Benjamin Pavard was once again an unused substitute. The reports in France suggest that things are not looking good for Pavard in terms of earning back his place in the starting XI. France is set to face England in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
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Noussair Mazraoui was involved in a historic result for Morocco on Tuesday. The former Ajax defender started as a left-back for Morocco in their penalty shootout win against Spain. Mazraoui defended brilliantly on the left flank during his stay of 82 minutes on the pitch. The win against Spain ensures that Morocco will make their first appearance in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Morocco will face Portugal in the next round later this week.