A magnificent seven Arsenal players were selected for the 2018 World Cup finals, yet just one Gunner made it to the quarter-finals.
Egypt anchorman Mohamed Elneny started every single Group A game for the Pharaohs in Russia. This was their first appearance at the World Cup finals since 1990.
Injury to the star of their national team, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, during the Champions League final scuppered Egyptian hopes of getting out of what looked an open pool. It was tournament hosts Russia and Uruguay who progressed instead of the Pharaohs and fellow Middle East nation Saudi Arabia.
England forward Danny Welbeck is on the fringe of the Three Lions’ relative success at this World Cup. He played 10 minutes off the bench in the dead rubber final Group G game with Belgium.
Welbeck may have been eclipsed by younger players, but Gareth Southgate still selected him for the tournament finals. England are now 11/4 in the World Cup Betfair outright betting to lift the trophy, having edged out Colombia on penalties to win their first knockout tournament tie in 12 years and continued to the semi-finals for only the third time in their history.
A functional Sweden side, now without the flair and outstanding individual talent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, rather beat Xhaka and Switzerland at their own game.
Veteran Spain defender Nacho Monreal played no part at all in La Roja’s shock last 16 exit at the hands of Russia. This was the third consecutive major tournament that the Spanish were among the betting favourites to win it and were eliminated earlier than anticipated.
It’s been a tumultuous time for La Roja – seeing the coach that steered them through qualifying, Julen Lopetegui, sacked on the eve of the World Cup finals for being announced as the new Real Madrid manager. Spain came through Group B as pool winners ahead of Iberian neighbours Portugal under last-minute replacement Fernando Hierro but then bowed out on penalties to the Russians in the first knockout round.
Nigeria attacker Alex Iwobi started their Group D opener – a 2-0 defeat by Croatia – but then lost his place in the Super Eagles’ side. After playing an hour of that first game, he had to be content with a couple of stoppage time cameos as the African nation bowed out at the first hurdle.
This was a World Cup where Iwobi, 22, could have made an impact but, with his playing time limited, the goals were scored by Leicester City owned striker Ahmed Musa, who was also on target at the previous finals at Brazil four years ago, and Victor Moses.
Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil may have played his last international match after the World Cup holders made a dismal attempt at defending their crown. Joachim Low’s lads bowed out in the group stage and, while the manager has kept his position, the big names who flopped may not.
Ozil played for his country like his does for Arsenal on an all-too-frequent off-day. Ineffective, languid and peripheral; he will have to do more to impress new Gunners gaffer Unai Emery.
And finally, Colombia keeper David Ospina played every minute of the South Americans’ World Cup finals campaign. He only conceded three goals in four matches and even saved a Jordan Henderson penalty in the shoot-out loss to England.
The arrival of fellow goalie Bernd Leno at the Emirates means there probably isn’t room in the Arsenal squad for him, the new signing and Petr Cech. Ospina may be looking for a new club sooner rather than later.