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Real Madrid World Cup Spotlight: Modric through, heartbreak for Hazard, Courtois, Rudiger



Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images

Within a span of 24 hours, two of the pre-tournament favourites saw themselves eliminated from the competition. While Belgium failed to register a win over Croatia that was a necessity, Germany’s situation was far more unfortunate as even a win did not get them over the line.

The day began with Morocco cruising past Canada and topping their group deservedly. The game between Croatia and Belgium thus became far more important, but it was Luka Modric’s side that sealed the deal by holding on to a draw.

The late kickoffs saw Spain take on Japan and Germany face Costa Rica. Luis Enrique’s side fell to the Asian side courtesy of an ambiguous VAR call and thus finished second in Group E while even a 4-2 win was not enough for Hansi Flick’s Germany.

Madrid Universal brings you an overview of the performances of Real Madrid players on the night.

Luka Modric (Belgium vs Croatia)

Both Luka Modric and Croatia’s performance against Belgium was far from what one would usually associate them with. Yet, the Real Madrid player’s base level in itself is head and shoulders above the rest of the crop, and Thursday’s game exemplified the same.

Modric did nothing flashy on the night, yet silently dictated the terms of the game. He completed 83% of his passes, seven out of seven attempted long balls and had two shots on target. He also helped hold the fort for his team with good defensive contributions – two interceptions, four tackles and six duels won.

Thibaut Courtois (Belgium vs Croatia)

Coming off a tough day against Morocco, Thibaut Courtois returned to his very best in his team’s final game. Belgium were faced with a must-win game against Croatia, and while they failed to get three points on the day, the goalkeeper did his part by keeping a clean sheet.

The Belgian made four key saves on the night, three of which came from shots taken inside the box. He was massive in the second half, denying the likes of Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic.

Eden Hazard (Belgium vs Croatia)

Eden Hazard’s recurring poor performances forced Roberto Martinez to drop him in the must-win encounter. Eventually, the manager brought him on in the 87th minute out of desperation as his team needed to find the all-important goal.

Coming on at a time when his side were unleashing attack after attack in hope of finding the back of the net, Hazard managed just three touches and completed one pass. Given his downward spiral, it could have been the player’s final World Cup appearance.

Dani Carvajal (Spain vs Japan)

Came on at halftime for Cesar Azpilicueta and had a mixed day at the office. Indeed, Spain conceded two goals within ten minutes of his arrival, yet, one must not forget that he made a key interception to prevent the damage from going further with a last-ditch tackle.

However, his contribution in the final third was subpar especially given the situation his team was in.

Marco Asensio (Spain vs Japan)

The winger started on the bench for La Roja but was called on by the manager in the 57th minute after Japan had taken the lead. He was part of the desperate late Spanish surge in an attempt to restore parity but did not contribute as much as he would have liked to. 

In just over half an hour on the field, Asensio had one shot on target and two shots blocked. He had one good attempt from distance but the Japan goalkeeper controlled it rather comfortably.

Antonio Rudiger (Germany vs Costa Rica)

The centre-back dished out a poor display, especially in the first half as Costa Rica opened up the German defence with ease. He made a glaring error in the form of a disastrous clearance that almost resulted in a goal too.

Rudiger was far from his best on the night and did not improve much in the second half. The win over Costa Rica marked the end of his team’s run in the World Cup and could well be the end of the National Team careers for several members of the squad.

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Euro 2024: Rating every Real Madrid player’s performance at the tournament



Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

The UEFA Euro 2024 came to an end last night with Spain being crowned the champions of Europe thanks to a 2-1 victory over England in Berlin.

Considering how well La Roja played throughout the tournament and their performance in the finals on Sunday night, they were the deserved winners of the trophy.

With Spain lifting the trophy, Real Madrid veteran defender Dani Carvajal added another title to his already successful campaign finishing 2023/24 as a La Liga, Champions League, and EURO winner.

Nacho and Joselu, who were still contracted with Real Madrid when the Euro started, joined Carvajal on that list while Jude Bellingham finished on the losing side.

Real Madrid had a total of 13 players representing them at the Euros in Germany and not all managed to make a solid impression. Here are how the Merengues’ stars fared at the European Championships.


Dani Carvajal: 8/10

The Spanish right-back was one of the stars of the show at the Euros, playing an integral role in La Roja’s success. Carvajal kicked off his first Euro with a goal in the opening game against Croatia and continued to be a reliable player for Spain both in defence and attack.

Carvajal forged a strong partnership with Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal on the right flank and even played a key role in the team’s opening goal against England in the final.

Nacho: 6/10

Technically no longer a Real Madrid player, Nacho was still contracted with the club when the Euros kicked off. Starting in the opener against Croatia, he helped Spain to a clean sheet against Croatia.

The veteran defender also put in solid shifts in the quarter-final and semi-final ties against Germany and France, respectively and helped see out the game against England last night.

Joselu: N/A

Behind the likes of Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal in the pecking order, Joselu, who left Real Madrid at the end of June, played just 90 minutes across two games.


Jude Bellingham: 6.5/10

Failed to deliver. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Having enjoyed a dream season with Real Madrid, Jude Bellingham was unable to replicate those performances for England.

While he did score two crucial goals, including a stunning bicycle kick to keep his team alive against Slovakia, and assisted Cole Palmer’s strike in the finals, his overall display left a lot to be desired.


Kylian Mbappe: 6/10

Real Madrid’s newest acquisition, all eyes were on Mbappe heading into the Euros. And even though France made it as far as the semi-finals, the 25-year-old failed to live up to the expectations with a nose injury impacting his displays.

Mbappe finished the tournament with a solitary goal and two assists, but as he admitted after the defeat to Spain, his Euro will go down as a failure.

Aurelien Tchouameni: 6/10

Making a return from injury during the tournament, the Real Madrid midfielder was a solid presence in the centre of the park for France alongside N’Golo Kante without really standing out a great deal.

The 24-year-old provided strength and stability in midfield for Les Bleus and even tried to get upfield in matches. But his shooting from distance was way off the mark.

Not up to the mark. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Eduardo Camavinga: 5/10

Starting just one of France’s six games and featuring as a substitute in three more, Eduardo Camavinga was not a major presence for Didier Deschamps’ side at the Euros which came as a surprise.

The Real Madrid starlet did show glimpses of quality when he did get a chance but not enough for him to make an impact.

Ferland Mendy: N/A

Having made a return to the France setup for the first time since 2022, Mendy did not play a single minute at the Euros, with former Real Madrid left-back, Theo Hernandez being preferred by the manager.


Antonio Rudiger: 7/10

Carrying on from where he left off for Real Madrid, Rudiger was a solid presence at the heart of the German defence at the Euros in his homeland.

Came up against some tricky forwards throughout the hosts’ quarterfinal run but did well to hold his own, but was guilty of losing Mikel Merino for Spain’s goal that eliminated Germany.

Toni Kroos: 6.5/10

It was not a fairytale ending for Kroos, who waved goodbye to his international career with a forgettable display against Spain during which he could have been easily sent off for the array of fouls he committed.

Prior to that, however, Kroos was instrumental for Germany in their run until the quarterfinals, stringing play together from the centre of the park.


Arda Guler: 7/10

Arda Guler made a good impression at the Euros. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

One of the breakout stars of the Euros, Arda Guler showcased his talent and potential, helping Turkey to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

The 19-year-old started off with a wonder-goal against Georgia and also added two assists to his tally in his first major tournament, following in the footsteps of greats like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. A bright future awaits.


Luka Modric: 6/10

Unlike recent years, Luka Modric’s Croatia were unable to get past the group stages, with the veteran midfielder finishing the tournament with a goal from under 240 minutes.


Andriy Lunin: 2/10

Started the tournament as Ukraine’s No. 1 against Romania but made costly errors that saw him lose his place in the starting XI. Did not feature again after the opener as his team crashed out of the group stages.

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