Real Madrid World Cup Spotlight: Tchouameni progresses to the finals with France
On Wednesday night, two contenders faced off against each either to claim the second spot in the World Cup final alongside Argentina.
On the one side, it was France who were hoping to get the second consecutive final berth in the competition. Their opponents, Morocco, were on a mission to rewrite history once again by becoming the first African side to ever reach the World cup final.
Morocco had only conceded one goal in the tournament until Wednesday, even that being an own goal. However, it did not take long for France to break down their defence and find a way to pass Yassine Bounou.
Griezmann’s pass to Mbappe saw the French winger in a great position to score. He had two shots blocked by the Moroccan defence before the ball fell at the feet of Theo Hernandez. The former Real Madrid left-back made no mistake, firing the ball past the goalkeeper.
The Africans fought valiantly thereafter and came close to equalising on multiple occasions. However, there was a feeling that Morocco were hesitant to take the final shot and unnecessarily looked for passes in scoring positions.
Their poor decision-making was punished by Randal Kolo Muani who scored with his first touch on the field. The Eintracht Frankfurt forward received a lovely ball from Mbappe in the box and struck the ball hard the first time to send it into the net.
With France booking a place in the finals, we take a look at how the Real Madrid players in action on the day fared.
Aurelien Tchouameni (vs Morocco)
The Real Madrid midfielder was thrown into the deep end against the underdogs with Adrien Rabiot being ruled out of the clash through injury. His partnership with the Juventus midfielder had grown along the course of the campaign in Qatar and the spark in the middle of the park was lacking on Wednesday.
Tchouameni was paired with Youssouf Fofana and the latter’s dismal show did not help the Real Madrid star’s case. Fofana struggled to make the right movements off the ball, often forcing his partner into difficult situations.
Considering all the factors against him on the night, Tchouameni put in a reasonable performance that saw him relatively safe in possession. He recorded 65 touches in his 90 minutes on the field, completing 40 passes with an accuracy of over 85%.
He recorded two key passes and created one big chance in the first half when his ball set Kylian Mbappe free in the Moroccan area. Further, he had one shot blocked and completed one dribble in the game.
Defensively, he put up a paramount show. He made three vital clearances, four interceptions and a tackle against Walid Regragui’s men. He also won three ground duels.
Tchouameni will now play the World Cup final on Sunday in his first-ever attempt at the competition, hoping to steer his side to their second consecutive title. However, he will face tough opposition in Lionel Messi’s Argentina and will have to play his best football for ninety minutes if his side are to retain their title.
Eduardo Camavinga (vs Morocco)
The Real Madrid youngster did not make it off the bench, even on a night when Didier Deschamps was without one of his starting midfielders.
Benzema, Camavinga start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Liverpool
Real Madrid will look to secure their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League when they take on Premier League bigwigs Liverpool in the second leg of their Round of 16 encounter tonight.
The Merengues are already in a solid position thanks to their 5-2 comeback victory in the first leg at Anfield, led by brilliant performances from Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema.
But the job is far from done as the Reds are perfectly capable of mounting a strong comeback, having done so in the past against Barcelona only a few years ago. The recent 7-0 thrashing of Manchester United also showed the capabilities of Jurgen Klopp’s men.
So, Carlo Ancelotti & co. will need to be professional and get the job done while guarding against any sort of complacency. The manager has a near-full squad at his disposal, with David Alaba the only player missing with an injury.
With the game set to kick off at the Santiago Bernabeu later tonight, Madrid Universal takes a look at how Los Blancos could line up against Liverpool.
Thibaut Courtois is a certain starter in goal for Real Madrid and will look to keep a clean sheet this time out after letting in two goals at Anfield in the reverse fixture.
The Belgian international will likely be shielded by the centre-back pairing of Eder Militao, who was in fine nick against Espanyol over the weekend, and Antonio Rudiger.
Dani Carvajal is a guaranteed starter at right-back, while Nacho Fernandez is set to get the nod on the left side after his solid performance after coming on as a substitute at Anfield. Ferland Mendy is back in the squad, but is unlikely to be thrust into the spotlight right away.
Moving into the middle of the park, Carlo Ancelotti has always banked on the experience of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos for the big games, and that will not change tonight against Liverpool at the Bernabeu.
The defensive midfield slot is up for grabs with neither Aurelien Tchouameni nor Eduardo Camavinga impressing against Espanyol. But, Camavinga has been in a much better nick in recent times than his compatriot and should get the nod.
As for the attacking trident, captain Karim Benzema is back in the squad after sitting out against Espanyol with an ankle issue. He is certain to start as the centre-forward while Vinicius Jr is a certainty on the left flank.
On the right, the likes of Rodrygo Goes, Marco Asensio and Federico Valverde are all options for Ancelotti, but it is the latter who is likely to get the nod tonight.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Modric, Camavinga, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius.
Rodrygo Goes has often made a big impact coming off the bench, especially in the big games and is certain to get minutes at some stage against Liverpool. Marco Asensio is another player who can provide goals from the bench and can be an asset.
Alternatively, if Carlo Ancelotti is looking to shore things up in midfield, the energy of Dani Ceballos might come in handy while Aurelien Tchouameni would also be in contention.
Youngster Alvaro Rodriguez has been making quite an impression of late and could get some minutes under his belt as well.