Atlético Madrid have 12 players currently representing their countries at the World Cup. We put together a guide to Atlético Madrid players at the World Cup ahead of the tournament. Consider this your in-tournament guide.
Results: 7-0 win over Costa Rica, 1-1 draw with Germany, 1-2 loss to Japan, 0-0 draw against Morocco (lost on penalties)
Morata scored three goals in the group stage. The first one was late padding during a 7-0 rout of Costa Rica, but the second came in the second half against Germany, a goal that broke the deadlock between the two teams. He scored the opening goal against Japan via a thumping header and was a late substitute against Morocco. The 30-year-old did not attempt a spot kick as Spain fell in the shootout.
The mercurial Morata still has not convinced everyone, and Spain’s early elimination does him no favors in winning over the masses. Writer and tactics analyst Jon MacKenzie wrote an interesting thread on how Spain’s press collapsed when Morata came on against Germany.
To clarify this, I just want to do a short thread showing how the pressing changes after Morata comes on/Spain score: https://t.co/78qG7ckfFj— Jon Mackenzie (@Jon_Mackenzie) November 27, 2022
Atlético’s captain played 52 minutes across two games, coming in as a sub against both Costa Rica and Germany. He did not play in the losses to Japan and Morocco. With Luis Enrique leaving the national team, Koke’s future with La Roja is uncertain — the Asturian was the one who recalled him after two years away.
Luis Enrique preferred Chelsea’s Cesár Azpilicueta in the first game at right back before going with Real Madrid’s Dani Carvajal in the second game. Llorente got his chance at right-back against Morocco but struggled against the shifty Sofiane Boufal and took few chances in attacking positions as Spain were eliminated.
Results: 1-2 loss to Saudi Arabia, 2-0 win over Mexico, 2-0 win over Poland, 2-1 win over Australia, 2-2 draw against the Netherlands (won on penalties), 3-0 win over Croatia, 3-3 draw with France (won on penalties)
Rodrigo de Paul
De Paul has become the whipping boy for Argentina’s lack of structure and coherence at the World Cup. They lost to Saudi Arabia in one of the biggest surprises in the history of the competition. He played a full 90 against Mexico and fared slightly better, produced an uneven game against Poland to wrap up the group stage, then did quite well against Australia in the last 16 — his high pressure in the penalty area freed Julián Álvarez to score the eventual winner in that contest.
De Paul carried an injury into the Netherlands game on Friday and played 65 minutes before his substitution. He started against Croatia, and in the final against France, de Paul completed 90 percent of his passes and drew six fouls in just over 100 minutes played.
Molina was sacrificed after the Saudi Arabia game as Lionel Scaloni made a number of changes to his starting XI. The right-back started the first game but only came off the bench against Mexico. He assisted Alexis Mac Allister’s goal against Poland in the Group C finale, then scored a lovely goal against the Netherlands.
Molina started the semifinal against Croatia as well as the final against France, but he faded in the second half after a bright opening half (especially defensively). He was substituted before the start of extra time.
Nice pass. Nice goal. Messi ➡️ Molina = GOAL OF THE DAY. ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/ttxgioQXFg— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 10, 2022
Correa was a late inclusion in Argentina’s squad after Nicolás Gonzalez suffered an injury. He received a few minutes at the end of the semifinal with Croatia.
Results: 1-0 win over Canada, 0-2 loss to Morocco, 0-0 draw against Croatia
Carrasco started against Canada and played poorly. Belgium won the game but they did not play well collectively. Kevin de Bruyne admitted as much after the game, when he said he wasn’t sure why he won the man of the match award. Carrasco was dropped for the following game against Morocco and Roberto Martínez substituted him in the final group game against semifinalists Croatia.
Witsel played all 270 minutes for Belgium in his third World Cup. This was a disastrous World Cup for the Red Devils, who were knocked out at the group stage. They were battered by Canada but somehow managed to escape with a victory. They weren’t as lucky against Morocco, who deservedly won 2-0. It’s hard not to see Witsel as, at least, part of the problem. Belgian’s Golden Generation simply aged out, and their lack of dynamism in central areas hurt them.
Results: 4-1 win over Australia, 2-1 win over Denmark, 1-0 loss to Tunisia, 3-1 win over Poland, 2-1 win over England, 2-0 win over Morocco, 3-3 draw with Argentina (lost on penalties)
Griezmann might not be banging in goals like he used to, but he is playing some fabulous football. He looks like the glue linking an injury-depleted midfield to a world-class attack for France. He assisted Kylian Mbappé’s winner against Denmark, which secured the world champions’ place in the knockouts, then had a goal against Tunisia ruled out for offside.
Griezmann produced another commanding display as an interior against Poland, creating four chances in the victory. The 31-year-old controlled the quarterfinal against England too, assisting Aurélien Tchouaméni’s outside-the-box laser before supplying Olivier Giroud with the winning goal via a whipped cross from the left flank.
In the semifinal win over Morocco, Griezmann ran himself ragged tracking back into his own penalty area, finishing the match with five combined interceptions and clearances while creating four chances on the other end. He was named man of the match as France progressed to a second consecutive World Cup final.
Griezmann struggled to impose himself in Sunday’s final at Lusail Stadium, finishing without a shot attempt and just 77 percent passing accuracy. Didier Deschamps hauled him off in the 70th minute.
Results: 0-0 draw with South Korea, 0-2 loss to Portugal, 2-0 win over Ghana
Giménez played the full 90 against South Korea and followed that up with another battling performance against Portugal. He went up against João Félix and the pair had quite the tussle. Josema was unlucky to concede a late penalty in the Portugal defeat, which Bruno Fernandes put away to wrap up the result. Giménez lost his cool completely after Uruguay’s elimination from the World Cup on goal difference and is facing a lengthy suspension.
Results: 3-2 win over Ghana, 2-0 win over Uruguay, 1-2 loss to South Korea, 6-1 win over Switzerland, 0-1 loss to Morocco
João started Portugal’s first two group games (you can read about those displays here). The 23-year-old supplied two assists in Portugal’s rout against Switzerland, which booked a quarterfinal place for the Seleção. He played the entirety of Portugal’s quarterfinal loss to tournament darlings Morocco, in which he had his side’s only two shots on target.
Results: 0-0 draw with Morocco, 4-1 win over Canada, 0-0 draw with Belgium, 1-1 draw with Japan (won on penalties), 1-1 draw with Brazil (won on penalties), 0-3 loss to Argentina, 2-1 win over Morocco
Atlético’s backup goalkeeper had the same role for Croatia and did not play a single minute in the tournament. He became the first Colchonero to win bronze at the World Cup after Croatia won the third-place game.