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Tracking Juventus Player Performance in World Cup Knockout Stage

Adam DigbyFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2014

Tracking Juventus Player Performance in World Cup Knockout Stage

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    Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

    Only three teams—Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United—have more players representing the countries in the World Cup this summer than Serie A giants Juventus.

    Sadly on Tuesday, Italy were eliminated in controversial fashion. Their Group D failure ensures no fewer than six members of the all-conquering Bianconeri would return home from Brazil.

    Kwadwo Asamoah’s Ghana also lost out, but fortunately for fans of Juventus, a raft of other stars from the side remain in the competition, seeking football’s grandest prize on its biggest stage.

    Martin Caceres will continue to represent Uruguay as a vital cog in defence for La Celeste, just as Stephan Lichtsteiner is for Switzerland. Paul Pogba is the star of the France midfield, helping Les Bleus to forget their own recent woes.

    Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla bring genuine quality to Chile’s XI. Both players showed their ability as the South American side qualified from an extremely difficult group.

    Over the following slides we will track the progress of these players through the knockout stages. Hopefully, one or more Juventus stars will lift the golden trophy aloft

    *UPDATED SATURDAY JULY 5*

Stephan Lichtsteiner (Switzerland)

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    Felipe Dana/Associated Press

    A firm favourite of Antonio Conte, defender Stephan Lichtsteiner has shone brightly for the perennially underrated Switzerland. He has played a big part in them reaching the last 16, registering an assist in their final group game against Honduras, his pass hit home by hat trick hero Xherdan Shaqiri.

    In their knockout encounter with Argentina, the 30-year-old earned another start, but was unable to prevent his side succumbing to a narrow 1-0 defeat.

Paul Pogba (France)

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Having gone from a reserve team player at Manchester United to a two-time title winner with Juventus, Paul Pogba has enjoyed a similar explosion on the international stage. The midfielder only earned his first cap for Les Bleus in March last year, but the 21-year-old is already a regular for Didier Deschamps’ side.

    He notched an assist in the 5-2 mauling of Switzerland, and was selected to start their last 16 meeting with Nigeria. He broke open a tough deadlock with a well-taken headed goal, capping an excellent performance as his side eventually emerged 2-0 winners.

    Stats site Squawka.com shows he completed all four of his take-ons, 81 per cent of his passes and made three clearances.

    In the the quarter-finals, he was unable to prevent a 1-0 loss to Germany. WhoScored.com shows he made one tackle, one interception, and failed to record a single shot on target, as their opponents moved on to face hosts Brazil.

Knocked out at the Group Stage

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Italy’s exit means Juventus supporters will be watching without half their stars involved. Gianluigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Claudio Marchisio and Andrea Pirlo will now rest until pre-season training begins.

    Kwadwo Asamoah also fell by the wayside in the group stage. His Ghana side were unfortunate not to qualify as the results on Thursday ensured Germany and USA would progress at their expense.

Martin Caceres (Uruguay)

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    While the reprehensible Luis Suarez will have few admirers among those of a Bianconeri persuasion, Martin Caceres is one of Juve's most likable stars. His effort, determination and quality make him a firm fan favourite, and even those who are bitter at Italy’s loss to Uruguay will wish the defender the best of luck.

    He was chosen to start against fellow South American side Colombia on Saturday, registering four clearances, two interceptions and one tackle, according to WhoScored.com. He was unable to prevent a wonderful display from James Rodriguez, as Colombia won 2-0.

    The Uruguayan dream of repeating their 2010 showing came crashing to an end on Saturday.

Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla (Chile)

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    The only side with more than one Juventus player still in the competition, Chile’s hopes hinged largely on the performances of Juve star Arturo Vidal. After emerging from a tough group containing Netherlands and Spain, Chile were drawn to face Brazil in the round of 16 on Saturday, an arduous task for even the best sides.

    Coach Jorge Sampaoli selected both Vidal and Mauricio Isla to start the encounter at Belo Horizonte’s Estadio Mineirao. Isla returned to the lineup after he was rested in Chile's final group game. The midfielder lasted almost the entire opening 90 minutes, recording three tackles and one interception before being substituted as normal time ran out.

    The 1-1 scoreline remained intact during extra time, with Isla lasting the duration on the right flank. The hosts held on during a tense penalty shootout, with Neymar's final kick giving Brazil the victory over an excellent Chile side.

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