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Tracking Manchester United Player Performance in World Cup Group Stage

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2014

Tracking Manchester United Player Performance in World Cup Group Stage

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    Phil Walter/Getty Images

    Manchester United fans will be looking out for their players who are involved at the World Cup, with the Red Devils providing no fewer than 14 individuals at the competition, in Brazil.

    United players will feature on almost every day of the group stages keeping supporters of the biggest club in the world motivated to watch all of the matches. 

    For England, the Reds have four players representing their countryWayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

    Spain have two Red Devils in their ranks in Juan Mata and David de Gea, as do Belgium with Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj.

    Shinji Kagawa (Japan), Antonio Valencia (Ecuador), Patrice Evra (France), Javier Hernandez (Mexico), Nani (Portugal) and the mercurial Robin van Persie (Netherlands) complete the line-up for United. 

    Here we take a look at each player's involvement and impact during the group stage games:

    (All stats supplied by WhoScored.com.)

     

     —LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, JUNE 27—

Adnan Januzaj

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    Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

    Thursday, June 26

    Belgium v South Korea

    Minutes Played: 60

    Touches: 32

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 61 percent

    Manchester United starlet Adnan Januzaj made his first appearance for Belgium at the World Cup, featuring for an hour in the team's 1-0 against South Korea.

    The teenager showed flashes of skill but struggled to make a telling impact on the game.

    The match will have been a good experience for the young attacker as he starts his career on the international arena. 

Marouane Fellaini

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Thursday, June 26

    Belgium v South Korea

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 53

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 74 percent

    Marouane Fellaini retained his first-team berth after his goalscoring exploits and helped Belgium achieve maximum points in the group stage, defeating South Korea 1-0.

    Fellaini found it tough against a well organised and battle hardened Korean midfield but was comfortable enough not to concede territory or possession.

    Fellaini and company now advance to the Round of 16 to play Group G runners-up USA. 

Nani

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    Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

    Thursday, June 26

    Portugal v Ghana

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 75

    Shots: 5

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 80 percent

    Nani's World Cup ended on Thursday as his Portugal side salvaged some respect with a 2-1 over Ghana.

    Cristiano Ronaldo finally added his name to the Brazil tournament scorers list as he claimed the winning goal, late in the game.

    Nani will be pleased that he managed to score during the group phase but his overall performances have not excelled. 

    Time will tell if he has a future at Manchester United, or not.

Antonio Valencia

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    Christophe Ena/Associated Press

    Wednesday, June 25

    Ecuador v France

    Minutes Played: 50

    Touches: 31

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 0

    Successful pass completion: 80 percent

    Ecuador captain Antonio Valencia saw red against France as he was sent-off in a 0-0 draw which eliminates his country.

    Valencia jumped into a tackle, with his studs showing, giving the referee little choice but to follow the letter of the law and eject him from the game. 

    Ecuador needed to beat the French to guarantee their progression but second place in Group E was taken by Switzerland. 

Shinji Kagawa

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    Tuesday, June 24

    Japan v Colombia

    Minutes Played: 85

    Touches: 65

    Shots: 6

    Tackles: 3

    Successful pass completion: 95 percent

    Shinji Kagawa and Japan's World Cup came to an end with yet another defeat, this time losing 4-1 to group winners Colombia.

    Kagawa was once again relatively unimpressive and was substituted on 85 minutes.

    The tournament was a great opportunity for the Japanese magician to show his worth after a tough couple of seasons at Old Trafford but on this showing he may well be one of the names sacrificed as Louis van Gaal revamps his squad. 

    Japan end their campaign bottom of Group C, only claiming one point from three matches. 

Phil Jones

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Tuesday, June 24

    England v Costa Rica

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 71

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 71 percent

    Phil Jones finally got his chance at the World Cup as Roy Hodgson named him at right-back ahead of Glen Johnson.

    Jones gave a solid performance but the game had the feel of a testimonial at times, with the result largely unimportant.

    Jones is likely to feature more prominently in England's back-four if he can improve his form in the coming season at Manchester United. 

Chris Smalling

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Tuesday, June 24

    England v Costa Rica

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 58

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 86 percent

    Chris Smalling started England's last match of Group D against surprise package, Costa Rica.

    Smalling had a good game at the heart of the defence partnering Gary Cahill at centre-back.

    The pair largely kept the Costa Rica attack quiet as the game ended 0-0.

Wayne Rooney

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    Tuesday, June 24

    England v Costa Rica

    Minutes Played: 14

    Touches: 11

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 100 percent

    Wayne Rooney started England's final game of their World Cup campaign on the bench as the Three Lions took on Costa Rica, with the game ending 0-0.

    Rooney made way for Roy Hodgson's extended squad to play a match but no one could shine on the night, in a turgid affair.

    Rooney will now take some time out before returning for Manchester United's pre-season commitments, in four weeks time. 

     

Javier Hernandez

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    Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

    Monday, June 23

    Mexico v Croatia

    Minutes Played: 28

    Touches: 15

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 0

    Successful pass completion: 50 percent

    Chicharito became the sixth Manchester United player to score at the World Cup as his Mexico side proceeded to the knockout phase by beating Croatia 3-1. 

    The Little Pea once again failed to make the starting line-up for the third game running and instead warmed the bench. 

    The striker then came on in the second half and in the 82nd minute he gambled at the back post to head home, making the score 3-0. 

    Mexico now play Louis van Gaal's Netherlands in the next stage. 

Juan Mata

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Monday, June 23

    Spain v Australia 

    Minutes Played: 33

    Touches: 40

    Shots: 2

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 94 percent

    Juan Mata finally made his bow at the World Cup with a cameo that produced a goal and helped Spain to a 3-0 win over Australia, in their final game in Brazil.

    Mata entered the play as a 57th minute substitute for the legendary David Villa, making his final appearance for his country.

    Mata gave a typical performance with excellent possession and control.

    And the United player was rewarded late in the game as he slotted the ball between the goalkeeper's legs to score, in the 82nd minute. 

Nani

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    Martin Mejia/Associated Press

    Sunday, June 22

    Portugal v USA

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 70

    Shots: 4

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 67 percent

    Nani opened his goalscoring account at the World Cup as Portugal scraped a 2-2 draw in the dying seconds, against USA. 

    The winger opened the scoring early in the game, firing high above Tim Howard to make it 1-0, in the fifth minute.

    Nani had one of his better games from recent months but the contest became a struggle for Portugal, only equalising in the 95th minute of the match to save themselves from certain elimination. 

     

Marouane Fellaini

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    Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press

    Sunday, June 22

    Belgium v Russia

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 58

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 81 percent

    Marouane Fellaini anchored Belgium's midfield to a 1-0 victory as his team won their second successive match of the World Cup.

    The big Manchester United player battled hard against a resilient Russia side, with the game remaining a stalemate until the 88th minute when substitute Divock Origi won the three points for Belgium.

    Fellaini gave a composed effort in the centre of the park, looking solid next to partner Axel Witsel.

Antonio Valencia

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Friday, June 20

    Ecuador v Honduras

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 45

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 63 percent

    Ecuador skipper Antonio Valencia led his side to a famous comeback victory as they beat an aggressive Honduras team 2-1.

    The United winger's side trailed after 31 minutes but immediately equalised through namesake Enner Valencia. 

    And it was Enner Valencia who grabbed the winning effort in the second half to drive Ecuador to their first win of this tournament.

    A victory against France will guarantee progression for Antonio and company but if Honduras can hold Switzerland, a point will be enough to make the knockouts. 

     

Patrice Evra

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Friday, June 20

    France v Switzerland 

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 55

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 4

    Successful pass completion: 79 percent

    Patrice Evra's France team once again performed to their optimum as they destroyed Switzerland 5-2, in Salvador.

    The 33-year-old United veteran once again had an excellent game driving down the left wing from his full-back position.

    France started the match with former United starlet Paul Pogba on the bench but a rampant attacking performance saw Switzerland dismantled.

    Evra completed the 90 minutes and will surely continue as first choice left-back through France's World Cup campaign, 

Shinji Kagawa

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    Thursday, June 19

    Japan v Greece

    Minutes Played: 33

    Touches: 28

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 95 percent

    Shinji Kagawa was dropped from the Japan starting line-up for the 0-0 draw with Greece.

    The United attacker was sacrificed after he underperformed in his first World Cup game.

    Kagawa entered the action early in the second-half but was unable to influence the score despite some good spells of creativity.

Wayne Rooney

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press

    Thursday, June 19

    England v Uruguay

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 56

    Shots: 4

    Tackles: 0

    Successful pass completion: 71 percent

    It was a bittersweet night for Wayne Rooney as he finally broke his goalscoring duck at World Cup finals, in England's 2-1 defeat against Luis Suarez's Uruguay.

    And it was the Liverpool forward who stole the headlines as he broke Three Lions' hearts with a late winner from a Steven Gerrard error. 

    Rooney was returned to his favoured No. 10 role for England and looked more comfortable in the position.

    However, the irony was clear to see as Rooney struck with a tap-in on 75 minutes with the forward bursting into the box from a left-sided attacking position, rather than central. 

    Rooney also hit the crossbar with a close ranger header in the first-half and came close from a direct free kick which whistled past the post. 

    The United talisman had a stronger game than his previous effort against Italy but ultimately failed to inspire his team to a result. 

Danny Welbeck

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    Pool/Getty Images

    Thursday, June 19

    England v Uruguay

    Minutes Played: 71

    Touches: 36

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 3

    Successful pass completion: 68 percent

    It was a frustrating night for Mancunian Danny Welbeck as England collapsed to a 2-1 defeat against Uruguay.

    The forward had very little impact on the match in his wide attacking position and was substituted as England chased the game.

    Welbeck played primarily on the left-hand side of the pitch and was less economical than in the game against Italy.

    He was replaced by Adam Lallana, just four minutes before England's equaliser by Wayne Rooney.

Robin Van Persie

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press

    Wednesday, June 18

    Netherlands v Australia

    Minutes Played: 87

    Touches: 31

    Shots: 4

    Tackles: 0

    Successful pass completion: 38 percent

    Robin van Persie and his Netherlands team had to come back from a goal behind in the second half against a resilient Australian side and win the tie 3-2.

    After the Dutch took the lead from a brilliant solo effort by Arjen Robben, the Aussies wrestled control of the game with two consecutive strikesa wondrous volley from Tim Cahill and a disputed penalty by Mile Jedinak.

    But it was RvP who dragged the Netherlands back into the contest with a smart and powerful finish in the 58th minute, leaving goalkeeper Matthew Ryan helpless. Memphis Depay then completed the comeback with the winning goal.

    It was a tougher match for the United striker after the 5-1 destruction of Spain, with Australia defending in numbers.

    Van Persie was substituted in the 87th minute clearly struggling to complete the game after weeks on the sidelines. 

     

Marouane Fellaini

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    Sergei Grits/Associated Press

    Tuesday, June 17

    Belgium v Algeria

    Minutes Played: 25

    Touches: 19

    Shots: 2

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 71 percent

    Marouane Fellaini produced one of the headed goals of the tournament as he helped Belgium to a comeback victory over a tough Algeria side, winning 2-1.

    Fellaini was introduced to the game in the 65th minute for Mousa Dembele with the Belgians trailing 1-0 and he immediately made an impact.

    The Manchester United midfielder took his chance with the style he once displayed weekly for Everton, beautifully flicking the ball beyond the reach of the opposition goalkeeper, in the 70th minute. 

    It was a great moment for a player much maligned by football fans in recent times. 

Javier Hernandez

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    Miguel Tovar/Getty Images

    Tuesday, June 17

    Brazil v Mexico

    Minutes Played: 16

    Touches: 10

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 0

    Successful pass completion: 75 percent

    Chicharito started his second game of the World Cup on the bench for Mexico, against hosts Brazil.

    The striker was introduced into the game as a substitute in the 74th minute for Oribe Peralta.

    But The Little Pea failed to make an impact in the contest as his country earned a 0-0 draw against the tournament favourites. 

    The 26-year-old managed 10 touches during his time on the pitch and almost got on the end of a late rebounded shot from a Julio Cesar save, which would have given Mexico a famous victory. 

Nani

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    Phil Walter/Getty Images

    Monday, June 17

    Portugal v Germany

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 65

    Shots: 3

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 85 percent

    It was a hugely disappointing Monday afternoon for Nani and Portugal as they were dismantled by a ruthless German team, losing the game 4-0. 

    Cristiano Ronaldo and company had no answer to Germany's pressure and quality as Thomas Muller smashed in a hat-trick to claim the points.

    Nani was rated as Portugal's best player on the day by WhoScored.com but he was powerless to positively influence the scoreline. 

Antonio Valencia

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Sunday, June 15

    Ecuador v Switzerland

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 37

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 0

    Successful pass completion: 93 percent

    United winger Antonio Valencia captained his country in their opening tie of the World Cup against Switzerland, losing the match 2-1 to an injury-time winner by Haris Serferovic.

    Valencia's Ecuador team took the lead in the 22nd minute of the match but the Swiss side found a way back into the game to snatch all three points at the death.

    The 28-year-old had a solid match, achieving 37 touches on the right wing of Ecuador's 4-4-2 formation and ending the game with a 93 percent passing accuracy, per WhoScored.com

Patrice Evra

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Sunday, June 15

    France v Honduras

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 75

    Shots: 2

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 94 percent

    It was a good night on Sunday for United left-back legend Patrice Evra as his France team beat Honduras 3-0, in Group E.

    And Evra provided the assist for Karem Benzema to smash home his side's third goal, in the 72nd minute.

    Evra had received a very early booking to his name in just the 7th minute, after a poor challenge.

    The 33-year-old player achieved an excellent 75 touches in the match with a 94 percent passing accuracy proving he can still perform on the biggest of stages.

Wayne Rooney

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    Pool/Getty Images

    Saturday, June 15

    England v Italy

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 43

    Shots: 3

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 88 percent

    For any player the scrutiny is hard at international level but for Wayne Rooney it is at a different level.

    And the Manchester United talisman once again produced an average display for England when his country needed him to show why he is one of the highest paid players in world football.

    Rooney started on the left hand side for the Three Lions and never looked comfortable in the role, leaving Leighton Baines exposed at left-back and Italy winning the game 2-1. 

    However, the Merseysider played the pass of the night, a beautifully weighted cross for Daniel Sturridge to smash home and score at the far-post. 

    Rooney's statistics show that he had 43 touches of the ball on Saturday, per WhoScored.com, only winning one tacklea figure that shows he did not cover his defensive duties effectively. 

    The forward will need to play in a different gear against Uruguay if he is to maintain his reputation as one of the planet's great footballers. 

Danny Welbeck

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    Saturday, June 15

    England v Italy

    Minutes Played: 61

    Touches: 19

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 3

    Successful pass completion: 89 percent

    Despite suffering a minor injury in recent days, England manager Roy Hodgson kept faith in Danny Welbeck, starting him against Italy. 

    And despite the Three Lions losing the game 2-1, Welbeck can be pleased with his contribution before his 61st minute exit.

    It was always unlikely that Welbeck would make the full 90 minutes and his substitution came as England chased the game.

    Welbeck ended his match with a credible 89 percent pass completion and he won 100 percent of his aerial challenges after working the flanks on both sides for England. 

     

Shinji Kagawa

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    Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

    Saturday, June 15

    Japan v Ivory Coast

    Minutes Played: 86

    Touches: 66

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 80 percent

    It was a tough night on Saturday for Shinji Kagawa after his Japan team were the victims of a Didier Drogba smash and grab, in Group C.

    Drogba entered the fray with 28 minutes remaining and Kagawa's side 1-0 up.

    But within four minutes of Drogba's arrival, Ivory Coast had scored two quick goals to take the lead, and stolen the subsequent victory.

    Kagawa featured in his usual left-sided attacking role in Japan's 4-2-3-1 and was substituted after 86 minutes.

    The player had 86 touches in the game and ended the night with a 78 percent passing accuracy.

Javier Hernandez

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Friday, June 13

    Mexico v Cameroon

    Minutes Played: 17

    Touches: 10

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 0

    Successful pass completion: 67 percent

    Chicharito started Mexico's first Group A match of the competition on the bench after a goal drought for his country dating back a year.

    The Little Pea entered the action on 73 minutes and made an immediate impact with his runs into the channel and his busy play.

    The United striker only managed 10 touches in the game and had his only shot of the match in the 92nd minutea gilt-edged clear opportunity that he thrashed over the crossbar from ten yards.

Robin Van Persie

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Friday, June 13

    Spain v Netherlands

    Minutes Played: 79

    Touches: 92

    Shots: 4

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 87 percent

    Robin van Persie struck twice as Netherlands put world champions Spain to the sword, winning 5-1.

    The Dutchman equalised for his side in the 44th minute with a glorious looping, diving header from the edge of the penalty areaan iconic goal that will be remembered for many years to come.

    His second came in the 72nd minute to make the score 4-1 and destroy Spanish hopes. 

    The player was substituted in the 79th minute as he was clearly feeling the strain after a lack of match practice, but he had completed his mission in style. 

    From RvP's 92 touches in the game he achieved an 87 percent passing accuracy, but he only had two shots on target: both of them goals, per WhoScored.com.

     

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