The 2018 World Cup Qualifiers continued this Thursday with matches all across the world. Most teams have a clear idea about their chances of playing on Russian soil next season, but some have to decide their fate in the upcoming days. The pressure is building up as the World Cup is inching closer and closer.
As we detailed this past Monday, there were several Manchester United players involved in these games. Now it’s the time to recap their performances from Thursday. Five players were involved in the European Qualifiers, while two others took part of the CONMEBOL matches in South America.
Romelu Lukaku netted an impressive hat-trick against Gibraltar in what looked like a public training session for The Red Devils. The forward did what he wanted with the opposing defence, as he scored two goals in the first half and closed things out in the second half with a penalty.
On the other hand, Marouane Fellaini was part of the squad but did not feature on the bench. Perhaps the manager Roberto Martinez wanted to rest him before the team’s upcoming fixture against Greece on September 3.
Paul Pogba was one of the best players for France in their win over the Netherlands. Even though Pogba failed to score, the playmaker constantly dictated the tempo and organised the midfield next to N’Golo Kante.
Pogba looked quite active during the entire match and had at least three clear scoring opporutnities, but missed them all. But even though he wasn’t accurate in the final third, he still ranked as one of the best players for Les Bleus in their 4-0 thrashing over the Dutch side.
On the other hand, Daley Blind had a poor performance during Netherlands’ loss. The versatile defender started at left back for the Dutch side, but struggled to contain Kingsley Coman all game long. And when the Bayern Munich winger left the pitch, he had to deal with Alexandre Lacazette and Kylian Mbappe.
Clearly not the best game for Blind. But he will try to bounce back in order to show Jose Mourinho he can battle for a starting spot after the international break.
Victor Lindelöf started and played all 90 minutes during Sweden’s 2-3 loss against Bulgaria.
It was a tough game for the Escandinavian side and Bulgaria at times made things difficult for them. Sweden came close to clinch a point in one of the most complicated away fixtures they had to face in the Qualifiers, but could not hold on in the final minutes. But despite allowing three goals, Lindelöf looked quite composed at the back. That’s a good sign for the future.
Sergio Romero is expected to start when Argentina takes on Uruguay later tonight.
Antonio Valencia is expected to start when Ecuador takes on Brazil tonight.