Russia 2018 has sprang amazing and memorable games. But the individuals on the pitch who have played out their hearts for their nations have made it possible. Some of the players were expected to rise to the occasion. Others were not.
YEN.com.gh brings you a list of five players who have surprised all with their performace at the tournament.
1. Benjamin Pavard
The VfB Stuttgart defender was not even expected to make France's squad to the World Cup. But injuries to and underwhelming performances from established pushed things into Pavard's way.
France coach Didier Deschamps took a chance on him and it is paying off. Pavard has been playing at the World Cup as if he has been wearing the national shirt for long. And his goal against Argentina could only have boosted his morale.
2. Denis Cheryshev
In fairness, Cheryshev could be described as a Real Madrid flop. But the 27 year-old made sure that this World Cup was going to be about more than just a portfolio in failure.
Cheryshev's talent is not doubted although he does not make the starting line-up at club Villarreal. The winger is blessed with pace and considerable skill. Of the four goals he scored, fans are already tipping two to make the list of goals of the tournament.
3. Yerry Mina
At 6'5 feet, Yerry Mina is obviously a danger to any side that is defending crosses. But as football will tell you, potential and reality are two different things.
However in the case of Mina, Mina is definitely a real threat. The defender scored three goals as Colombia made the quarter final stage. Two of the goals were winners. When the ball is to the ground, it is not as if Mina is bad too.
4. Harry Maguire
Only two years ago, Maguire was with a group of friends cheering on England at the Euros in France. This year and at this tournament, the 25 year-old is at the centre of England's defence.
Maguire's fairy tale story gets better because he has been one of the best defenders at Russia. Forget his goal against Sweden, Maguire has racked up numbers in clearances, interceptions and aerial duels.
5. Hirving Lozano
What we often do not see in football are players with genuine ability to use both feet excellently. Lozano is in this special minority. The Mexican winger plays for Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.
Having gone into Russia as his club's top scorer last season, the pressure to perform exceptionally was not the 22 year-old's shoulders. After all, the likes of Guardado, Chicharito and Herrera were more experienced. But Lozano went home taking much of the plaudits for Mexico.
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