Tracking Barcelona Player Performance in World Cup Knockout Stage

Jason PettigroveContributor IJune 28, 2014

Tracking Barcelona Player Performance in World Cup Knockout Stage

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    Lionel Messi was once again on the periphery during the World Cup final.
    Lionel Messi was once again on the periphery during the World Cup final.Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

    After Spain, Cameroon and Croatia were sent packing from this World Cup tournament, Barcelona were left with just six players representing their various countries in Brazil.

    The host nation looked fairly comfortable in qualification, with Neymar taking the incredible pressure squarely on his shoulders and positively thriving on it.

    Dani Alves has been the weak link for the hosts but would he be exposed in the knockout stages?

    Lionel Messi has been Argentina's saviour when it mattered and Javier Mascherano has looked solid. 

    And although his work-rate hasn't come as a surprise to fans of the Catalans, Chile's Alexis Sanchez has taken the tournament by storm. Captain Claudio Bravo has brought all of his experience to bear, integral to his country's progression into the latter stages.

    This tracker will be constantly updated for the rest of the tournament, so please remember to check back each time one of the above has been in action.

    All data supplied by WhoScored.com and Squawka.com.

    —Last updated: Sunday July 13—

Lionel Messi

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    The closest Lionel Messi may ever come to the World Cup trophy.
    The closest Lionel Messi may ever come to the World Cup trophy.Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

    Game: vs. Germany

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 66

    Shots: 4

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 70 percent

    Lionel Messi was again on the periphery during the World Cup final.

    When Argentina were looking for their talisman to step up, he had little to offer, in-keeping with his performances in the knock-out stages of the tournament.

    Aside from one or two dribbles and a shot which flashed just wide of Manuel Neuer's left hand post, there was nothing to write home about from the world's best player.

Javier Mascherano

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    If anyone deserved a winners medal, it was Javier Mascherano.
    If anyone deserved a winners medal, it was Javier Mascherano.Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    Game: vs. Germany

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 87

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 82 percent

    If there was one Argentine player that deserved something out of this World Cup, it was Javier Mascherano.

    Once again in the final against the Germans, "Masch" laid everything on the line throughout, making almost every tackle, every clearance and once again being the go-to man.

    He excelled with his leadership skills on the biggest stage and quite how he lost out on the Golden Ball for player of the tournament to colleague Messi is anyone's guess.

Lionel Messi

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    Lionel Messi did what Lionel Messi does best.
    Lionel Messi did what Lionel Messi does best.Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Game: vs. Holland

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 70

    Shots: 1

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 80 percent

    Lionel Messi was, as expected, marked out of the game during the opening period. We didn't see a trademark first run until just before 10 minute mark but it was straight into traffic.

    Trying to open up the channels proved problematic with the Dutch defence on him immediately.

    With the first real chance of the game, a 14th minute free-kick was hit straight at Cillessen.

    Had to forage back in his own centre circle to collect the ball often with Nigel De Jong sticking to him like a limpet.

    Went on a super run down the touchline in the 37th minute and although a few players were beaten, he was crudely taken out by Bruno Martins Indi, who was carded for the challenge.

    Was just offside as Mascherano played a delicious pass into him on 50 minutes, and continued to be crowded out every time he appeared to find space in front of him.

    Holland have Ron Vlaar to thank after the Dutchman just got his foot to the ball as Messi was about to pull the trigger on what would've been a typical Messi goal.

    Hi terrible free kick on 72 minutes sailed way over and as tiredness began to creep in, a lot of his passing was wayward and rarely found it's target.

    Finally got the better of Vlaar with four minutes left of extra time, his cross finding Maxi Lopez at the back post who shot straight at the keeper.

Javier Mascherano

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    Javier Mascherano anchored Argentina's defence superbly well.
    Javier Mascherano anchored Argentina's defence superbly well.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Game: vs. Holland

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 104

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 4

    Successful pass completion: 84 percent

    Javier Mascherano stuck well to his task of anchoring the midfield, brilliantly timing tackles all evening long. Dispossessing Arjen Robben with ease on 12 minutes, he gave the ball straight to Wesley Sneijder, who was similarly wasteful.

    Dropped back into central defence often as Sabella countered Louis Van Gaal's tactics.

    Fabulous pass to Lavezzi on 22 to set up another attack but just a few minutes later was the victim of a nasty accidental collision with Georginio Wijnaldum on 26 which left him dazed and confused.

    With no apparent problems, he continued to execute his passes with aplomb, including a defence splitting ball to Messi on 50 which was accurate but the latter was marginally offside.

    Stuck to a simple, effective passing game throughout. Stormed forward on 87 minutes and tried to feed Sergio Aguero, only to see his tired pass expertly cut out expertly by Vlaar.

    His moment of the match was undoubtedly the game saving tackle on 90 minutes to stop Arjen Robben from winning the game inside 90 minutes. Denied the same player with two minutes left of extra time.

     

     

Lionel Messi

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    Lionel Messi was under close scrutiny from the Belgian defence all game long.
    Lionel Messi was under close scrutiny from the Belgian defence all game long.Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

    Game: vs. Belgium

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 52

    Shots: 2

    Tackles: 2

    Successful pass completion: 86 percent

    Lionel Messi led his team into their first World Cup semi final in 24 years, but his and their passage wasn't without it's problems.

    A great start to the game saw the captain twisting and turning his way around the Belgian midfield before feeding Angel Di Maria who in turn supplied a deflected pass from which Gonzalo Higuain provided the games only goal.

    It would be their only shot on target until Messi himself missed a one-on-one against Laurent Courtois in the last minute.

    But that doesn't tell the whole story.

    For long periods Argentina dominated, despite the crudest of challenges including Marouane Fellaini raking his studs right the way down the back of Messi's calf.

    Pass of the tournament goes to the Argentine captain who threaded one through the eye of a needle in the first half. That he even saw the pass in the first place is a sign of his genius.

    Whilst not a constant menace, Messi's threat was enough for Marc Wilmots to place at least two, and sometimes three, of his players in direct combat to the Albiceleste number 10.

    Bright, lively and energetic, it's a wonder that he had just 52 touches in the match.

Javier Mascherano

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    Javier Mascherano had his best game of the World Cup so far.
    Javier Mascherano had his best game of the World Cup so far.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Game: vs. Belgium

    Minutes Played: 90

    Touches: 62

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 89 percent

    This was easily Javier Mascherano's best performance so far at the World Cup.

    He was composed, calm and timed any challenges to perfection in a masterful display. A studious protection of the back four, allowed Messi and co to build from deep.

    Belgium represented a much stiffer test in a physical sense than Argentina had endured previously, and it was to Mascherano's immense credit that he kept a cool head, often in the face of heavy provocation.

    Never stopped running and played a pass at the right time throughout, including a beautiful cross field ball right to the feet of Di Maria. His accuracy in the pass, especially over the longer distances is something "Masch" is rarely given credit for.

Neymar

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    Neymar's World Cup is over after a nasty challenge from Colombia's Zuniga.
    Neymar's World Cup is over after a nasty challenge from Colombia's Zuniga.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Game: vs. Colombia

    Minutes Played: 88

    Touches: 64

    Shots: 3

    Tackles: 3

    Successful pass completion: 71 percent

    What a great shame for the competition in general, and for Neymar personally, that he will play no further part in this tournament.

    A crude challenge from Juan Zuniga late on in proceedings saw Brazil's poster boy carried off on a stretcher with what looked like a very serious back injury.

    Prior to that, Neymar was once again the instigate of any of the good things that Brazil did.

    You sensed the anticipation in the crowd go up a notch whenever he had the ball and his turn of pace on a number of occasions really set this game alight.

    With Fred, Hulk and Oscar disappointing once again, it was left to the youngster, incredibly making his 54th appearance for the Selecao at just 22 years of age, to pull the strings and conduct the Canarinho orchestra.

    Something he did with aplomb throughout the evening.

     

Lionel Messi

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    Switzerland did well to contain Lionel Messi.
    Switzerland did well to contain Lionel Messi.Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

    Game: vs. Switzerland

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 95

    Shots: 2

    Tackles: 6

    Successful pass completion: 74 percent

    Lionel Messi found it hard to get into the game in the opening stages as the Swiss expertly denied him space, doubling up on him where necessary.

    We didn't see his first trademark run until 19 minutes as he took on Rodriguez down the right channel. After working his way inside and bearing down on goal, the defender recovered sufficiently to snuff out the emerging half-chance.

    Unusually for Messi he provided very little movement in the opening half hour and much of the play passed him by. The half time whistle couldn't come soon enough.

    Tried his best to affect the play throughout the second half but was crowded out all too often. If he did get a shot away, invariably it was blocked. Switzerland had certainly done their homework.

    90 minutes of toil without reward.

    Valon Behrami continued to frustrate Messi during extra time, leading to a naughty kick out which went unpunished by the referee.

    Try as he might, he couldn’t make any impression on proceedings, an extremely poor all-round team performance leaving Messi’s own contribution impotent.

    Far too often his team mates gave away the ball, or were not on the same wavelength when the ball was played to them by Messi. It made for embarrassing viewing.

    Yet still he would be decisive in this match.

    Taking the ball to the heart of the Swiss defence with 3 minutes left on the clock before playing a perfect pass for Angel Di Maria to score the winner.

Javier Mascherano

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    Javier Mascherano was unhappy at the amount of free kicks given against him.
    Javier Mascherano was unhappy at the amount of free kicks given against him.Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

    Game: vs. Switzerland

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 111

    Shots: 2

    Tackles: 4

    Successful pass completion: 91 percent

    Barely involved at the beginning, only touching the ball twice in the opening 10 minutes.

    A robust tackle which resulted in a free-kick on 21 minutes clearly irked Mascherano who believed his opponent had made a meal of the challenge.

    As the half wore on, began to find club colleague Messi with unerring accuracy in either the short or long pass.

    Started the second half wagging his finger at the referee again, believing that Stephan Lichsteiner had made the most of his challenge.

    Stood his ground whenever necessary but going forward, much like the rest of the Argentina side, he couldn’t string two passes together as the Albiceleste struggled to break down a resolute Swiss set up.

    Managed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck at times and tried his best to galvanize those around him. By the end of extra time any balls were tired and labored, in keeping with much of the rest of the game.

Neymar

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    Neymar was the victim of some tough challenges.
    Neymar was the victim of some tough challenges.Associated Press

    Game: vs. Chile

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 74

    Shots: 4

    Tackles: 3

    Successful pass completion: 79 percent

    Neymar was buffeted early by a physical Chile side, with numerous card appeals waved away by Howard Webb. He appeared to feel the effects for a good few minutes afterwards.

    Showed a quick turn of pace when pouncing on a through ball, but overplayed when in front of goal and ultimately the danger was snuffed out. Supplied a great corner which lead to the opening goal.

    Ran again from his own half to outpace the Chilean defence, but couldn’t provide the finish.

    Rose brilliantly to place a header in the bottom corner, which was just deflected wide.

    Spent the opening 15 minutes of the second half foraging but to no great effect, and as the half wore on, Brazil's wunderkind had less of an overall effect on proceedings save for a slaloming run or two.

    A free header on 80 minutes from Dani Alves' wonderful floated cross was straight at Claudio Bravo.

    Extremely quiet and well marshaled during extra time, save for the odd set piece.

    Had Brazil's final penalty, and held his nerve for what was the games decisive moment.

Dani Alves

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    Dani Alves almost scored with a dipping 35 harder in the first half.
    Dani Alves almost scored with a dipping 35 harder in the first half.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Game: vs. Chile

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 100

    Shots: 2

    Tackles: 4

    Successful pass completion: 80 percent

    Made a mistake in the very early stages when he lost the ball trying to play out from the back. Luckily for him, Chile were unable to take advantage.

    Got his foot in on the odd occasion, but the game passed him by and he was quiet during the opening half hour.

    Just before the break he took aim from 35 yards out and his dipping shot was dropping under the crossbar until Claudio Bravo’s intervention.

    Continued to look edgy after half-time and was routinely beaten down the flanks, especially by club colleague Alexis Sanchez, and wasn't given the opportunity to be the flying wing back that we know he can be.

    Started extra time sensibly, looking to play the simple ball each time and without being wasteful, but ended the first period with a ridiculous booking. Alexis Sanchez couldn't punish him from the resulting free kick.

    Lost out to some robust challenges late on, and sent another long-ranger way over the bar.

Alexis Sanchez

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    Alexis Sanchez took his goal well.
    Alexis Sanchez took his goal well.Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

    Game: vs. Brazil

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 73

    Shots: 2

    Tackles: 1

    Successful pass completion: 81 percent

    Alexis Sanchez carried on his form from the group stages. Tricky when in possession, he was closed down quickly.

    If he lost the ball, as he did to Marcelo in the middle of the park, he would recover it just outside his area, showing all of the hallmarks of the hard-working play we have seen from him at Barcelona.

    Made the most of an embarrassing mistake from a Brazilian throw-in on the half hour. Was unmarked in the middle of the penalty area, and as Thiago Silva closed in, Sanchez made no mistake, placing the ball neatly in the opposite corner. 

    Continued to hustle and harry throughout the first half and almost forced another mistake for a second goal.

    His second half started with some trickery which opened up the space and an inch-perfect pass which Arturo Vidal couldn't take advantage of.

    Was instrumental in late Chilean attacks during the 90 minutes, a constant thorn to the Brazilian defence.

    Had no real influence during extra time with both defences dominant.

    Had the chance to bring Chile level in the penalty shoot-out and missed with a poor kick, probably the only thing he did poorly throughout.

Claudio Bravo

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    Claudio Bravo was inspirational as Chile captain.
    Claudio Bravo was inspirational as Chile captain.Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Game: vs. Brazil

    Minutes Played: 120

    Touches: 62

    Shots: 0

    Tackles: 0

    Successful pass completion: 45 percent

    Was very busy early on as Brazil fashioned cross after cross. Showed exactly why Barcelona have shelled out €12 million for his services with save after save, including a great catch from Neymar’s floated free-kick on 14 minutes.

    Could do nothing about the game's opening goal.

    Came and flapped at a ball on the edge of his area towards the end of the half, and was lucky that there was so much traffic that he could get back on his goal line before Brazil had the chance to take advantage.

    Fantastic one handed save from Dani Alves’ 35 yard piledriver.

    Raced out of his area on 53 and just edged Neymar in a foot race—the Brazilian could have had a certain goal if Bravo made a hash of his clearance.

    Simply astonishing save on 83 minutes from Hulk's powerful strike, parried away from goal and out of danger.

    Bravely came to gather a long ball at the beginning of extra time and took Jo's studs fully in the chest. Was equal to anything that was thrown at him, including a stinging shot from Hulk. A real all-action display.

    Continued to do whatever was necessary throughout extra time.

    Got a hand to Marcelo's penalty but couldn't keep it out, yet followed it up with a stunning stop from Hulk's spot kick.