World Cup - Top midfielders on Day 20: Featuring Hazard and Mascherano

Eden Hazard Dribbling

An Arsenal and Manchester United target, a current Chelsea star and an ex-Liverpool midfielder all feature.

The first round of knock out games is officially over and the World Cup didn’t fail to provide a shortage of drama over the eight games leading into the quarter-finals.

There was drama yesterday as Angel Di Maria scored a late winner for Argentina despite having one of his worst international performances for some time and the USA will be gutted today after a gutsy display that pushed Belgium all the way.

We’ve assessed the best midfield performers from day 20 of the tournament across several areas.

Attempts on Target

  TeamPosOntarget Scoring AttAppsMins
Ángel Di María Argentina MF 3 1 120
Kevin De Bruyne Belgium MF 2 1 120
Eden Hazard Belgium MF 2 1 111
Julian Green USA MF 1 1 15
Dries Mertens Belgium MF 1 1 60

The fact Arsenal and Manchester United target Angel Di Maria appears at the top of this list isn’t an accurate description of the way the Argentine played. Generally, he was quite wasteful in possession but showed enough accuracy in the final third with his shooting.

Tackles Won

  TeamPosWon TackleAppsMins
Alejandro Bedoya USA MF 7 1 105
Valon Behrami Switzerland MF 6 1 120
Gökhan Inler Switzerland MF 5 1 120
Kevin De Bruyne Belgium MF 4 1 120
Fernando Gago Argentina MF 4 1 105

Behrami deserves a mention because he was simply outstanding against Argentina and didn’t stop running throughout normal and extra time. He’s excelled at Napoli under Rafa Benitez and he broke the play up effectively throughout.

Interceptions Won

  TeamPosInterception WonAppsMins
Kevin De Bruyne Belgium MF 4 1 120
Jermaine Jones USA MF 2 1 120
Javier Mascherano Argentina MF 2 1 120
Graham Zusi USA MF 2 1 72
Valon Behrami Switzerland MF 1 1 120

Former Chelsea star De Bruyne was superb in terms of reading the play against the USA. He stepped in to cut off the danger before it could develop into anything serious and was relatively consistent throughout the entire game.

Dribble Contests Won

  TeamPosWon ContestAppsMins
Ángel Di María Argentina MF 9 1 120
Eden Hazard Belgium MF 5 1 111
Gökhan Inler Switzerland MF 4 1 120
Xherdan Shaqiri Switzerland MF 3 1 120
Valon Behrami Switzerland MF 2 1 120

Another area where Di Maria appears. However, he looked fitter and stronger than most of Switzerland’s players in extra time which allowed him to complete some very easy and simple dribbles. Chelsea star Eden Hazard is become a regular in this section during the tournament.

Accurate Passes

  TeamPosAccurate PassAppsMins
Javier Mascherano Argentina MF 85 1 120
Michael Bradley USA MF 80 1 120
Fernando Gago Argentina MF 78 1 105
Kevin De Bruyne Belgium MF 50 1 120
Eden Hazard Belgium MF 50 1 111

Former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano protected the ball better than any other player yesterday. He was careful and watchful in possession whether he was working with the defence to clear danger or trying to move the ball forward through the midfield.

Which midfielders have impressed you so far at the World Cup?

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