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Real Madrid World Cup Spotlight: Tchouameni rises to the occasion



Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

The second round of Group stage fixtures in Qatar gives the world a first glimpse at which teams are likely to qualify for the knockouts. The second day of the round saw teams of groups C and D in action with the spotlight primarily being on Argentina and France.

The first fixture of the day was between Tunisia and Australia at Al Janoub Stadium, where a great strike by Mitchell Duke saw the Socceroos take all three points.

The action then shifted to Poland’s clash against Saudi Arabia. Piotr Zielinski opened the scoring for the Polish side before Robert Lewandowski scored his first World Cup goal to seal the result.

France faced a stern test against Denmark in the third clash and were made to work hard for the win. After scoring through Kylian Mbappe just past the hour mark, the French side conceded at the other end seven minutes later. Ultimately, Mbappe scored again in the closing minutes to help his side top the group.

Argentina then played a virtually must-win encounter against Mexico. Despite a poor first-half performance from the Albiceleste, Lionel Messi inspired them by scoring a world-class opener before setting up the second and seeing his side through.

The only Real Madrid players in action on the night were Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga, both for Didier Deschamps’ side in the third game. Madrid Universal brings you an overview of the youngster’s performance and role on the night.

Aurelien Tchouameni (France vs Denmark)

Walking onto football’s biggest stage at the tender age of 22, one would expect a player to collapse under pressure. Even the best players in the world have struggled to leave their mark and play unscathed in the FIFA World Cup, yet, Aurelien Tchouameni faces no such roadblock.

The French youngster is built differently, and his ability to keep his feet on the ground and his head on his shoulders help him keep his cool, whatever the situation. Against Denmark on Saturday night, the Real Madrid player was at his imperious best in the middle of the park and dictated his side’s play.

His ball-playing was on point at Stadium 974, as he completed a whopping 98.4% of the passes he attempted. He had 81 touches and did not misplace a single pass until the 80th minute.

As the defensive midfielder, he held off Denmark’s attacks with four tackles, two interceptions, a blocked shot and a clearance.

Further, he won five of the eight ground duels he was involved in. His ability to quickly neutralise counters nullified the Danish side’s threat and helped the French regain possession faster.

In addition to his strong defensive showing, Tchouameni had a lot to contribute to the buildup and chance creation too.

He made two key passes against the European opposition and created one big chance. Further, he completed 75% of long balls attempted and even came close to scoring through a header late in the second half.

It is safe to say that the French National team have found an able replacement for the evergreen N’Golo Kante who is ruled out of the World Cup. With Tchouameni providing great dividends on the trust bestowed in him by Didier Deschamps, his prominence in the National Team seems set to grow from this point on.

Eduardo Camavinga (France vs Denmark)

For the second successive game, Camavinga started and stayed on the bench for the entire game. Yet, his exclusion from the action is understandable, given the player’s poor form for his club and the availability of better options on the bench.

Given the manager’s formation, it is unlikely that the youngster will see many minutes in the World Cup, especially as the tournament progresses into its deeper stages.

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Five players who will be fixed starters for Real Madrid next season



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Following a successful campaign, Real Madrid are poised for significant changes in their roster due to a combination of player arrivals and departures.

The responsibility of blending new faces with established stars will fall to coach Carlo Ancelotti and his staff as they aim to maintain the club’s competitive edge domestically and in Europe.

And to predict the team’s probable strategy and performance amidst these changes, it is imperative to identify the key players who will be constant starters.

Kylian Mbappe

The new talisman. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With Real Madrid no longer viewing Mbappe through rose-tinted lenses and finally being able to dress him in the royal white jersey, the Frenchman is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Owing to his instinctive nature to find the back of the net, he is poised to be paired alongside Vinicius Jr. in attack.

Last season, the 2018 World Cup winner scored a whopping 44 goals in all competitions. Thus Real Madrid will be banking heavily on Mbappe’s ability to ask questions of opposition defenders in the final third.

It is being said that Mbappe is all set to wear the iconic number 9 jersey at Real Madrid, which is indicative of the role he will play, as a focal striker.

Vinicius Jr.

The main man at Real Madrid. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Brazilian is in pole position to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and looking back on his season with Real Madrid, it is easy to see why.

Despite losing Karim Benzema, his usual partner in crime over the past few years, Vinicius performed remarkably well in Ancelotti’s new system.

Relentlessly taking on defenders, arriving into space, scoring goals, and stepping up in the biggest of moments, he was one of Real Madrid’s major lynchpins throughout the season as they lifted a historic double.

Vinicius impressively racked up 24 goals last season, and given his importance to the team, the likelihood of him not maintaining a starting role next season is nearly nonexistent.

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid Fans’ Player of the Season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Defying all expectations in his debut season, Jude Bellingham established himself as a key player for Real Madrid, demonstrating exceptional versatility, and maturity far beyond his years.

Although the Englishman’s performances wavered in the final stretch of the season, Bellingham’s contributions ensured Los Blancos were able to compete in the Champions League and especially La Liga.

In addition to scoring 23 goals in all competitions, he has constantly been a beacon of reliability in midfield and has proven to be the voice of reason on the pitch.

There have been murmurs about Bellingham potentially being berthed deeper next season as Real Madrid intends to use him as Kroos’ replacement. However, given his versatility, he is expected to be a crucial player wherever he plays.

Antonio Rudiger

A mainstay at the back. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rudiger is one of the major reasons Real Madrid managed to successfully disguise their injury crisis. Despite players falling like dominos in the back-line, the German stood resolutely as a dependable figure for most of the campaign, arguably enjoying one of his best seasons.

Expertly anticipating opposition strikers’ movements, he leaps forward to thwart attacks before they begin. Moreover, thanks to his large stature and incredible recovery pace, he is able to cover distances behind.

Reports have mentioned that Carlo Ancelotti views him as a crucial component of the squad and potential arrivals, such as those of Leny Yoro and Rafa Marin, in the back-line are unlikely to devalue his presence.

Thibaut Courtois

Back like he was never gone. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In spite of spending more than half of the campaign on the sidelines recovering from an ACL and MCL injury, Courtois is worth his weight in gold for Real Madrid.

He performed admirably in the final few games of the season and did no wrong against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final.

While Andriy Lunin made up for his absence with flying colours, he is placed below Courtois in the pecking order for now, which also has made the Ukrainian lean towards an exit.

The fact that Lunin, after his sublime season, stands no chance of dethroning Courtois between the sticks is a testament to how much the club appreciates the Belgian. Even at the age of 32, the Belgian keeper is anticipated to retain an important role in the team.

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