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Underdogs shine in sensational round – World Cup Team of Matchday 3

After a bit of a slow start, the 2022 World Cup has come alive in matchday 3.

It’s been by a mile the most entertaining set of games so far. With qualification for the knockout rounds on the line, we saw several twists and turns, and several shocks.

Amongst all the drama, some players stood out. Here is our best XI from matchday 3.

Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – Poland were one of the sides involved in the chaos of matchday 3. They just about managed to squeeze through ahead of Mexico on goal difference, despite a 2-0 defeat to Argentina.

And they certainly have Wojciech Szczesny to thank for keeping that scoreline down. The Juventus goalkeeper made a string of impressive saves, including one to deny Lionel Messi from the penalty spot.

Sergino Dest (RB) – Fun fact: United States are the only side in the World Cup who are yet to concede from open play. It was this defensive solidity that helped them narrowly beat Iran in their decider on Tuesday.

Sergino Dest was part of an American backline that limited Iran to just four shots. Additionally, he provided the assist for Christian Pulisic’s winner in the 38th minute.

Harry Souttar (CB) – Following an incredible run to the semi-finals at the 2020 European Championships, Denmark were widely touted as dark horses for this tournament. And yet, they went into their fixture with Australia needing a win to stand any chance of progressing.

Those hopes were ended with a 1-0 defeat. Harry Souttar was essential to the Socceroos’ clean sheet, producing several important tackles and clearances.

Kalidou Koulibaly (CB) – Of course, defenders can do more than just defend. Occasionally, they’ll pop up at the other end and score a vital goal.

That’s exactly what Kalidou Koulibaly did. With Senegal just minutes away from elimination, the Chelsea man finished from a set piece to take his side into the round of 16.

Aziz Behich (LB) – Back to Australia now, as Aziz Behich also impressed. The full-back was also influential as his side defeated Denmark, helping keep Danish right-winger Andreas Skov Olsen very quiet with a fine display.

Frenkie de Jong (CM) – Amidst all the madness, Netherlands had a reasonably comfortable third fixture. They defeated hosts Qatar 2-0, in a game where they rarely came under threat.

Frenkie de Jong put in his best performance of the tournament so far. He helped the Oranje control the game with 63% possession, and he was on hand to tap home from close range for the second goal.

Luis Chavez (CM) – Mexico were one of the unfortunate teams to miss out on the round of 16 by the finest of margins. They needed just one goal against Saudi Arabia to overtake Poland and qualify for the knockouts.

Nonetheless, midfielder Luis Chavez gave us all a sensational departing gift. He scored what was arguably the goal of the tournament, rifling a stunning 35-yard free-kick into the top corner.

Alexis Mac Allister (CM) – Argentina went into their final game knowing that a win would be enough to take them to the top of Group C and avoid a round of 16 clash with France. But they found it tough in the first half, failing to find the net before the break.

But Alexis Mac Allister was there to calm the nerves after the break. The Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder was picked out by Nahuel Molina and swept his shot into the far corner to break the deadlock.

Marcus Rashford (RW) – Marcus Rashford started the game on the left, where he was involved but not particularly impactful. For the second half, manager Gareth Southgate moved him over to the right, and he was electrifying.

First, he lit up the game with an excellent free kick to open the scoring. Later, he cut inside onto his weaker left foot and slammed one through the legs of Danny Ward to put England 3-0 up.

Kai Havertz (ST) – Four years after their disappointment in Russia, four-time world champions Germany have been hit with another group stage exit. Their 4-2 victory against Costa Rica wasn’t enough to see them through to the knockouts.

Despite this, Kai Havertz still managed to put in an impressive display. After coming on in the 66th minute, he netted a brace as Die Mannschaft came from behind to win.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta (LW) – Much like Germany, Uruguay were also unable to make it to the knockouts despite victory in their last fixture. Diego Alonso’s men looked set to progress, until South Korea nicked a late winner against Portugal.

Even then, Giorgian de Arrascaeta can be proud of his performance against Ghana. He bagged his country’s first goal of the tournament with a close range finish, and later completed a wonderful passing move with a powerful volley to make it 2-0.

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