The first FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Qatar has been lauded by football fans across the globe and pundits as one of the best tournaments to date. However, while several teams experienced elation such as winners Argentina and Morocco who finished fourth others failed dismally in Qatar.
We take a look at five players who were expected to deliver in the Arab state but simply failed to leave their mark on the tournament.
1. Gareth Bale (Wales)
The Wales captain fired the small country into the World Cup with a memorable strike against Ukraine in a play-off match. The former Real Madrid winger was on the scoresheet once in the tournament, with a penalty against the USA, in a 1-1 draw. However, he failed to lead his troops to take any points from Iran and England and the Dragons crashed out finishing at the bottom of their group with one point and a solitary goal.
2. Harry Kane (England)
The Tottenham Hotspur forward failed to replicate his form from the 2018 World Cup in Russia that saw him claim the Golden Boot. Kane’s name was missing from the scoresheet in the group stage, and although he netted against Senegal in the round of 16 it was his only goal from open play. Ultimately the 29-year-old’s failed penalty miss against France in the quarter-final saw a promising English team knocked out by their old foes.
3. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
The former Manchester United striker who is currently on loan at Inter Milan from Chelsea had been out with an injury for most of this season. Belgian coach Roberto Martinez threw the burly striker on against Croatia in a decisive group-stage match, and it all went to pieces for Lukaku. The Inter forward missed four golden opportunities to secure the Red Devils a place in the next round and was photographed kicking the dugout after the match.
4. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
The Barcelona striker struggled to lay down a marker in Qatar, failing to convert a penalty in a 0-0 draw. Lewandowski scored two goals and created one assist as the Poles reached the round of 16 for the first time in 36 years, but perhaps many Polish fans expected more from their talisman.
5. Cristiano Ronaldon (Portugal)
The former Manchester United striker appeared in his fifth and most likely final World Cup, registering a solitary goal. Portugal’s manager Fernando Santos relegated Ronaldo to the bench after that and the six-time Ballon d’Or bowed out in tears as the European nation was ousted in the quarter-finals against Morocco.