After a tightly-contested affair that ended in a goalless draw against Croatia, Eden Hazard’s Belgium are out of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Luka Modric’s side, however, have made it through to the Round of 16, finishing second in Group F.
The Belgian Red Devils had looked sub-par throughout the tournament even though they had managed to pick up a narrow win over Canada in their opening fixture. But the 2-0 loss to Morocco last time out put them under intense pressure.
Needing a win to stand a chance to qualify, especially with Morocco getting the better of Canada in the other Group F match, Belgium could not get the job done.
In a brave call, Roberto Martinez opted to drop Hazard from the starting XI. His Real Madrid teammate, Thibaut Courtois, did brilliantly to keep Belgium alive in the match, pulling off several clutch saves.
However, at the other end, Romelu Lukaku missed three sitters after coming on at half-time, as the match ended in a goalless draw. Hazard, who came on as a substitute in the latter stages of the game, could do little to change things.
While the Real Madrid duo’s journey in Qatar comes to an end, another Los Blancos star goes through to the knockouts as Modric and Croatia advance again. Having drawn against Morocco in their opener, the Vatreni had beaten Canada resoundingly to put themselves in a good position.
But a loss would have sent them out. However, the team managed to pull through and hold things together. Special mention for Josko Gvardiol who had a top game against Belgium to help Croatia go through.
This Belgium side, considered the ‘Golden Generation’, had advanced to the semi-finals of the last World Cup. But things have been rocky for them for a while now, with recent reports of infighting within the squad only adding fuel to that.
Eventually, Hazard, Courtois & co. are out, while Modric will lead Croatia into the Round of 16, where they could likely face Spain.
Inter Milan star claims he is the best playmaker in the world, ahead of Real Madrid superstar
Hakan Calhanoglu raised many eyebrows in the summer of 2021 when he left AC Milan to join arch-rivals Inter Milan on a free transfer.
It was a move that surprised many, but more than two and a half years later, Calhanoglu’s acquisition has turned out to be a masterstroke from Inter Milan’s end.
During his time at Inter, the former HSV starlet has featured in 125 competitive matches, racking up 23 goals and 24 assists. He has eclipsed his AC Milan numbers, which is quite a feat to achieve.
Calhanoglu hails himself as the best playmaker
Hakan Calhanoglu’s performances have been particularly impressive in the ongoing campaign. The midfielder has been involved in 14 goals this term, including 11 goals.
In light of his performances, Calhanoglu has raised eyebrows by hailing himself as the best playmaker in the world, in a recent interview.
“I’m the best playmaker right now,” Calhanoglu said, shortly after Inter Milan’s narrow 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid.
Calhanoglu ranks Toni Kroos as the ‘next best’ after him and Rodri
The Turkish international went on to name a few more players who he thinks are the best playmakers after him.
Calhanoglu notably mentioned Real Madrid superstar Toni Kroos, stating (h/t DAZN), “After me Rodri, then Toni Kroos, Kimmich and Enzo Fernández.”
The Turk’s decision to add Kroos to his list is highly surprising as the German maestro has been quite important to the Real Madrid team this season.
Even at the of 34, Kroos has remained an integral part of the Real Madrid midfield. His experience and leadership have been crucial in guiding an otherwise young midfield unit.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for another veteran Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric.
The Croat is reportedly unhappy with his current role in the first team and is likely to leave Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.