20 Players Whose Stock Fell During 2014 World Cup Group Stage
The World Cup group stage has now come to an end, which means it’s time to recap the best and the worst of the campaign so far.
The prestigious summer tournament can see players gain notoriety from good performances for their country, but which players have seen their stock fall as a result of the World Cup?
In no particular order, here are 20 players whose reputation has taken somewhat of a battering following a World Cup campaign to forget.
Steven Gerrard: England
Steven Gerrard’s first World Cup as a longer-serving England captain—he was a default skipper in the 2010 tournament—could not have gone much worse.
The Liverpool midfielder, 34, made two errors leading to goals in the tournament and was outshone by a player 10 years his junior in Jordan Henderson, who was playing in his first major international tournament after featuring for the U21s in 2013.
Gerrard himself has admitted he’s unsure about his England future, as per Matt Law in the Telegraph, and it would be a sad way to cap such a long international career if he did end it off the back of the 2014 World Cup.
Leighton Baines: England
Another player who’s greatly underperformed given what was expected of him is England left-back Leighton Baines. The Everton man was criticised by talkSPORT’s Stan Collymore for his errors made in the group stage that led to England’s elimination, and he returns home with his reputation having taken a big hit.
Baines turns 30 in December, and he won't have dazzled many sides to want to sign him this summer.
Phil Jagielka: England
Leighton Baines’ Everton team-mate Phil Jagielka, a centre-back, came away from the World Cup off the back of some questionable displays in two group games that saw the Three Lions concede four goals.
His position could be up for grabs by the time Euro 2016 comes along.
Didier Drogba: Ivory Coast
It was a sad way for Didier Drogba to end what is likely his last World Cup for the Ivory Coast, as the former Chelsea man didn’t perform to anywhere near his best.
He found himself replaced by Wilfried Bony as a result of his World Cup performances and perhaps won’t be in line for a return to Europe this summer.
Igor Akinfeev: Russia
Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev made a number of high-profile errors in the group stages that led to goals and his country’s exit, and he certainly didn’t look confident between the sticks when the tournament started.
Akinfeev's disappointing performances epitomised Russia's as a whole in this summer's tournament.
Iker Casillas: Spain
Spain’s long-serving goalkeeper Iker Casillas endured an error-strewn World Cup campaign with the holders, but he is now likely to be making way for fresh blood by the time Euro 2016 approaches as he no longer looks the safe pair of hands that helped to win the tournament four years ago.
He was dropped in Spain's last World Cup group game for Pepe Reina as a result of his questionable showings.
Another Spain veteran who could well have played his last major international tournament for his country.
34-year-old playmaker Xavi was given the axe by his national team manager in their last World Cup group game as a result of his poor performances.
Mario Balotelli: Italy
Mario Balotelli wasn’t anywhere near his best for his country in this World Cup.
He didn’t come close to replicating the performances many have come to know him by in an Italian shirt, and the 23-year-old won’t have put himself in the shop window if he’s seeking out a move to greener pastures.
Shinji Kagawa: Japan
A poor season was capped by an even worse World Cup campaign for Japan’s Shinji Kagawa.
He failed to set the tournament alight as many would have expected given his talents and the strength of the Japan side, and he’s another player who needed to attract potential suitors this summer.
Kevin-Prince Boateng: Ghana
A very disappointing World Cup showing for Ghana’s Kevin-Price Boateng was capped with his expulsion from the national team, as reported by Kieran Gill in the Daily Mail.
Coupled with the Africans' elimination from the group stages, it’s been a tournament to forget.
Antonio Valencia: Ecuador
Another player with a point to prove did nothing to showcase his true abilities in this summer’s World Cup. Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia was disappointing in the group stages for Ecuador, and he was greatly outshone by his namesake Enner Valencia.
Antonio Valencia found himself sent off in their final group game too.
Cheick Tiote: Ivory Coast
Chieck Tiote performed below-par for the Ivory Coast in the World Cup group stages, and he made an error leading to a goal that contributed to their elimination.
If he wanted to prove his credentials for a big European side to procure his signature, he’s certainly failed this summer.
Luis Suarez: Uruguay
For biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a group game, Suarez has been given a four-month global ban, as per Owen Gibson in the Guardian, and will miss nine games for his country. His World Cup, and maybe his time at Liverpool, is over.
For a player with great strength, bags of pace and a left foot capable of producing sublime long-range efforts, Hulk is a frustrating player to watch.
He’s been anonymous in this summer’s World Cup for Brazil so far and hasn’t come close to justifying his selection over the likes of the omitted Lucas Moura.
Kostas Mitroglou: Greece
After enduring a season to forget at Fulham that saw him suffer relegation to the English second tier, Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou was hoping to put it behind him with a good World Cup campaign.
However, injuries and poor form have once again blighted his time in the tournament so far, and he just doesn’t look the same player anymore.
Edinson Cavani: Uruguay
Edinson Cavani has been very guilty of profligacy in the World Cup this summer. The Paris Saint-Germain striker can’t seem to find the target in games. While he did score in their 3-1 defeat against Costa Rica, Cavani hasn’t come close to showcasing his true abilities up front for Uruguay.
Romelu Lukaku: Belgium
However, it just hasn’t happened for him. To make matters worse, Lukaku is being outshone by the young Divick Origi, who’s been a revelation so far for the Rode Duivels.
Brazil midfielder Paulinho has been very disappointing in this World Cup. His form dipped for Tottenham at the tail-end of the season, so it was a surprise to see him keep his place in the Brazil first team over the likes of Manchester City’s Fernandinho.
However, the Brazil coach may be forced to reconsider if he doesn’t feel Paulinho can lead the national team to glory.
Alex Song: Cameroon
Cameroon endured a woeful World Cup campaign, and midfielder Alex Song ended it in disgrace. The Barcelona man got himself sent off in their penultimate group game against Croatia for a deliberate elbow, as per the Independent, and he is reportedly up for sale by the Spanish club this summer, according to Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star.
Samuel Eto’o: Cameroon
As it will likely be Samuel Eto’s last World Cup for the Cameroon national team, he‘ll certainly be disappointed with the level of his performances. Released by Chelsea this summer, as reported by Rhys Turrell in the Daily Star, Eto’o failed to make his point to his former employers in the tournament, and was dropped for Vincent Aboubakar.