The 2022 Qatar World Cup is now out of the group stages. Therefore, we can begin to analyze the performance of the big rookies in this massive (and high-quality!) international competition. We give you the full report of who is up and who is down in the World Cup.
This article focuses on the top rookies from the 2022 Panini Prizm World Cup product. So, where do the Qatar World Cup Rookies stand After the Group Stage?
The World Cup is such a high-profile event that players have managed to secure glory or squander their reputations in just a few games. In this list, we separate the wheat from the chaff.
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Qatar World Cup Rookies After Group Stage: Players On Their Way Up
These players have made a clear and positive mark in Qatar. They have performed well on the pitch and can now command transfers to bigger clubs or fatter contracts. But, more importantly, their cards will be worth more.
Julian Alvarez – Forward and winger – Argentina
Julian scored a crucial goal against Poland in Argentina’s 2-0 victory in the group stage. He received a pass from Alexis MacAllister in the 46th minute and smashed it on target. But his most significant moment was a sensational goal against Australia in the round of 16.
Inter Milan has been sniffing around, but after that performance, Manchester City may be interested in giving him a more prominent role in their squad after the competition.
Either way, Julian seems to have a bright future ahead of him. Another goal or two in the World Cup could set him on an even more promising trajectory as a legit potential superstar.
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Gabriel Martinelli – Forward and winger – Brazil
Regular Premier League watchers already know that Gabriel Martinelli is one of the most gifted players on earth. His new role on the Brazilian left flank has exposed the winger to an even larger audience. I was disappointed that Gabriel did not start in the first two games.
But as soon as Tite gave him a starting spot, the Arsenal winger shined, as expected. Though Brazil lost, Gabriel was the brightest spot on the pitch. My guess is that Tite will start him from now on. Either way, his fortunes seem to be one way up.
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Piero Hincapie -Center back – Ecuador
You couldn’t watch Ecuador in this World Cup without marveling at the exceptionally reliable defender at the back. Piero started every game. He was rock solid against Qatar and had a solid performance against the Netherlands. Unfortunately, he wasn’t at his best against the lightning speed of the Senegalese.
However, Hincapie’s reputation has been enhanced by his performances at this level. The defender was on track to being one of the top players in his position before the competition, and little has changed in the interim.
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Aurelien Tchouameni – Defensive midfielder – France
Tchouameni has been a starter for France in all their games and looked capable in midfield. However, his most robust performance was in the match against Denmark, where his stellar passing and tackling played a significant part in the 2-1 French victory.
Becoming a pillar of a World Cup contending team is an outstanding achievement for the 22-year-old midfielder. And with France positioned as one of the favorites to go all the way, he may play a role in more major triumphs very soon.
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David Raum – Left back or left side of midfield – Germany
Raum came into the tournament as a potential target for Real Madrid. As we know, the German campaign ended in disaster. But how did Raum fair? He was one of the bright spots for the side in that ill-fated first loss to Japan.
Spain marked him carefully down the flank, but he still irked that world-class side. But Raum was at his best against Costa Rica, making a pest of himself throughout the game. No one can blame the left-back for the German’s trouble, and his reputation is unscathed.
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Cody Gakpo – Winger – Netherlands
As the Netherlands started its first game against Senegal, everyone watched Cody to see if he could live up to the hype. His header goal was the game’s highlight for the Oranje squad, and Gakpo also created several opportunities for his teammates.
Cody wasn’t as dominant against Ecuador but still managed to score the only Dutch goal in a 1-1 draw against an excellent Ecuadorian defense before scoring for the third straight game against Qatar. He also performed strongly against the USA in the final knockout round. Gakpo is well on his way to superstardom. One of the revelations of the tournament.
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Tajon Buchanan – Forward – Canada
Tajon looked particularly impressive against Belgium, where he repeatedly threatened their high-profile defense. He also passed for an assist against Croatia and excelled against Morocco as well.
Aside from Davies, Tajon was quickly the best Canadian player in Qatar. As a result, many teams will be tempted to look at versatile and effective players.
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Borna Sosa – Left back – Croatia
The Croatian left-back has made people sit up and notice. While mindfully responsible at the back, Sosa was a veritable menace on the counter-attack. Borna showed strong crossing skills, especially with a tremendous chance created (and squandered by Nikola Vlasic) against Morocco.
It seemed that a Sosa run would put them back in business whenever his country was stymied and out of ideas. One to watch.
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Josko Gvardiol – Center back and left-back – Croatia
Josko was quickly the man of the match against Belgium. He seemed to arrive at every ball first against the hapless opposition and repeatedly drive his team into attack. Without a weak performance yet, Gvardiol will leave Qatar with a much-enhanced reputation.
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Gonzalo Plata – Winger – Ecuador
Plata was one of the better performers for Ecuador as Senegal knocked them out in their final group match. But his best performance was against hapless Qatar in the tournament opener when Gonzalo’s fearsome dribbling skills were truly on display.
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Gavi – Central midfield – Spain
You wouldn’t have known that Gavi was making his World Cup debut as he orchestrated a phenomenal 7-0 win over Costa Rica. The 18-year-old looked like the reincarnation of Xavi out there. Sublime. He wasn’t quite as dominant against Germany and Japan and was substituted in the latter game. Still, Gavi’s arrival on the biggest stage has been unmistakable.
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Ao Tanaka –Central midfield – Japan
Tanaka scored a goal in the tremendous Japanese upset win against Spain. He also made the victory over Germany possible by over-running his more illustrious Bundesliga-based colleagues. The Qatar World Cup saw the arrival of Tanaka as one of the best midfielders in the world. Yes. For real.
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Alexis Vega – Winger, attacking midfielder, and forward – Mexico
Vega had one of the best chances against Saudi Arabia but was denied by an Al-Owais save. Against Argentina, he played a tactically astute game and was a constant menace to the Argentine backline, though Mexico faltered.
Meanwhile, against Poland, Alexis kept turning up in unexpected places to threaten. Vega looks like the consummate modern attacker and has a strong future ahead.
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Denzel Dumfries – Center back and right back – Netherlands
In this tournament, Denzel graduated from a player with a stellar reputation into a global soccer star. Alongside Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo, Denzel has led the Dutch to a surprisingly strong campaign.
The right-back was at his worst against Ecuador, where the tricky Enner Valencia tormented him. But when it counted, in the round of 16 games against the USA, Dumfries absolutely shone. He scored a goal and passed for two assists, destroying the hapless Americans with one menacing run after another.
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Jurrien Timber – Right back and center back – Netherlands
The 21-year-old defender looks solid and unflappable at the back for the Netherlands. Despite fears that he may be a bit too offensive-minded, Jurrien has found a happy middle, playing a tactically astute and responsible game while threatening.
According to the incessant rumor mill, Real Madrid and Manchester United are actively pursuing the defender. So expect big things from Timber.
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Strahinja Pavlovic – Center back – Serbia
The Red Bull Salzburg soccer academy strikes again. Or defends again. Pavlovic was a fixture in the Serbian defense and was part of their surprisingly effective team. Strahinja proved he could make dashing forays at the enemy while returning to cover in time.
We were all particularly impressed with his capable display against World Cup favorites Brazil. No one is surprised to hear Roma is making serious inquiries, and other big teams will soon follow.
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Qatar World Cup rookies after Group Stage: Players on their way down
These players have disappointed in Qatar. They had a chance to break out and have so far failed to capitalize. Considering this was their only chance to play in the World Cup as prospects, that could have a significant effect on the long-term value of their cards.
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Jonathan David – Forward – Canada
Look, no one expected Canada to win the World Cup or anything. But their performance has been very disappointing. I expected Jonathan David to be one of the revelations of the tournament. And for the very first time ever in my entire life, I was wrong.
Alphonso Davies was the only player who came out of the miserable Canadian performance with an enhanced reputation. David had a few good moments but lacked sharpness and could not score.
Still, this is likely a temporary setback. Just because he didn’t set Qatar alight doesn’t mean he isn’t a world-class talent. Manchester United seems to be the head of a long list of suitors.
Luka Sucic – Midfielder – Croatia
Sucic is only 20 years old and plays for a country with an incredible range of super-talented creative midfielders at their disposal. So far, he has sat on the bench, and even if Croatia gets far in the tournament, that is unlikely to change.
What does this mean for his future? Probably not that much. He is being tracked by both of the Milan teams and will land somewhere good. However, he will not have a meteoric rise in Qatar.
Andreas Skov Olsen – Winger – Denmark
Olson got some good news before the World Cup started. He was being tracked by scouts from several big teams, most notably Tottenham Hotspur. But though expected to start the first game against Australia, he was dropped and came off the bench.
Even though Denmark lost their first game, coach Kasper Hjulmand didn’t change his mind, and the winger was out. Olsen was finally slotted into the starting lineup against Tunisia, but he didn’t make an impact, and the Danes were knocked out. The bad campaign will do his career no favors.
Karim Adeyemi – Forward – Germany
Karim is very young and has plenty of tools at his disposal. But German coach Hansi Flick let him languish on the bench, even though the veterans looked awful. None of this will boost Adeyemi’s reputation in the short term. However, Karim remains a robust long-term investment.
Marcelo Flores – Winger and attacking midfielder – Mexico
Mexico put in a noble performance in Qatar but failed to qualify. They did not play Flores for a single minute in the World Cup, which may have been a mistake. Nonetheless, we expect the winger to play a significant role in the upcoming Mexican rebuild.
Diogo Costa – Goalkeeper – Portugal
Costa had a pretty shaky start to the tournament, conceding two questionable goals to Ghana and looking unsteady, though his team won. Diogo made a particularly terrible blunder in overtime that almost cost Portugal the game.
He hasn’t excelled since. His team is still in the tournament, and he may yet redeem his reputation. But he has not looked like a world-class goalkeeper out there.
Kacper Kozlowski – Central midfield – Poland
Poland reached the second round despite looking decidedly mediocre throughout the group stages. However, Kacper can take neither credit nor blame, as he has not received any minutes. The Polish staff has judged him too inexperienced for this level.
Nuno Mendes – Left back – Portugal
Portugal hoped to bring Mendes into the lineup after having some injury trouble before the competition. He was out of sorts for the first game but started the second match facing. Unfortunately, the left back suffered a relapse to his hamstring injury and was in tears as he left the game. As a result, Mendes will not play in Qatar again.
Hannibal Mejbri – Central midfield – Tunisia
Hannibal didn’t play for Tunisia in Qatar. His most memorable moment was when he threw the ball at the head of an Australian player. My guess is we will hear more from Mejbri in the future.
Ricardo Pepi – Forward – United States
Pepi was not included in the World Cup final roster. So, he certainly could not shine in Qatar. However, the questionable finishing of the US team means he may be given more of a chance in the next few years.
Yeremy Pino – Forward and winger – Spain
Although the diminutive attacker got some chances in the run-up to Qatar, he has not been in Luis Enrique’s plans. Looks like Pino will have to wait for his big break.
Kamaldeen Sulemana – Winger – Ghana
The 20-year-old did not figure in Ghana’s opening lineup for its opening game against Uruguay but did appear as a sub and made another indistinct substitute appearance before sitting out the final match. So there will be no breakthrough for Sulemana. At least not yet.
Noah Okafor – Winger – Switzerland
I thought Okafor might figure more in the Swiss plans than he has. But so far, the winger has only made two appearances as a substitute and has not left much of an impact. Part of the problem is the Swiss starters have done very well for themselves, leaving the winger little room to shine.
Albert Sambi Lokonga – Central midfield – Belgium
Despite Lokonga’s break into the Arsenal team not long before the World Cup. I would still hold on to these because Albert may lead the next Belgian generation.
Bruno Guimaraes – Central midfield – Brazil
Bruno is having a great season at Newcastle FC, and many of us were looking forward to seeing him play for the Seleção. But when he was finally given an opportunity against Cameroon, he was quickly the worst player on the team. Considering his age and the seeming lack of belief of the Brazilian staff in Bruno, this is a significant setback.
Ike Ugbo – Forward – Canada
Ike didn’t get any minutes, even though the Canadian offense could use all the help it could get. But, of course, Ugbo is already 24, so there is not much upside here.
Min-jae Kim – Center back – South Korea
Min-jae Kim has suffered from injuries and has so far been unable to make the impression we expected in Qatar.
Woo-yeong Jeong – Winger and attacking midfielder – South Korea
Although South Korea has been among the great surprises of the tournament, they have done so without many minutes from Jeong.
Uriel Antuna – Winger – Mexico
There were a lot of expectations from Antuna coming into the tournament. And the player was decent enough for the most part. However, he was clearly outshined by Vega at every turn. That is not good news for his future role with Mexico and elsewhere.
Jakub Kaminski – Winger – Poland
Despite his young age, Kaminiski played quite a bit in Qatar. Unfortunately, that meant he was part of some fairly pedestrian Polish displays, most notably when Argentina and France overran their midfield. Jakub did not distinguish himself at any point.
Felix Afena-Gyan – Forward – Ghana
Felix’s scoring inconsistency and some disciplinary issues meant he was not included in the Ghana squad for the World Cup. However, that will do nothing for his value.
Imran Louza – Central midfield – Morocco
Imran is one of the most talented Moroccan players out there. But unfortunately, an injury sustained in October kept him out of the tournament, despite efforts to get him ready on time.
Jewison Bennette – Winger – Costa Rica
Bennette was part of a crazy ride for Costa Rica, beating Japan and threatening to upset Germany but also facing an absolute thrashing from Costa Rica. However, the winger only played as a substitute and did not leave much of a mark.
Qatar World Cup rookies after Group Stage: Players staying In Place
When you don’t move forward in life, that usually means you are moving back. Still, these players did enough in Qatar to keep interest alive, even if they didn’t light the tournament on fire.
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Stephen Eustaquio – Central midfield – Canada
Eustaquio played in the first two games for Canada before sustaining a hamstring injury that ended his contribution in Qatar. He looked efficient enough to warrant belief in his upward trajectory but not enough to raise the value.
Lovro Majer – Attacking midfield – Croatia
So far, the highlight of his campaign was Majer’s injury-time strike against Canada, finishing off a tremendously impressive 4-1 victory. However, Lovro has come on as a substitute and hasn’t had the chance to show his entire bag of tricks.
Jesper Lindstrom – Winger and central midfielder – Denmark
Jesper started two games and came in as a sub in one. He seemed the most dangerous Dane in their loss to France but could not capitalize. Overall, Lindstrom did fine but didn’t quite put together the form needed for a breakthrough.
Mohamed Daramy – Forward – Denmark
Daramy was not given a shot for the Danes in the 2022 World Cup, even though they missed some creativity up front.
Jeremy Sarmiento – Winger – Ecuador
Sarmiento wasn’t used as much as we could have hoped. However, he showed promise in the minutes he did get in Qatar.
Moises Caicedo – Central midfield – Ecuador
Caicedo scored the only goal for Ecuador in the decisive loss to Senegal and looked strong all around. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for Ecuador. But it wasn’t all roses for the midfielder; his loss of possession led to an early goal in the game against the Netherlands.
William Saliba – Center back – France
Breaking into the starting eleven for a team like France is always impressive, and doubly so at age 21. A recent signing for Arsenal, Saliba has proven that he is Premier League material. And to paraphrase Frank Sinatra, if you can make it at Emirates Stadium, you can make it anywhere.
Though a defender, Saliba is in the 98th percentile of defenders for offensive participation. So, between his raw talent and adventurous proclivities, we may be looking at one of those rare defensive stars.
Bamba Dieng – Forward – Senegal
Dieng didn’t get as many minutes as he would like in Qatar. However, he scored a memorable goal against the hosts and showed his talents occasionally.
Facundo Pellistri – Winger- Uruguay
Pellistri was given a shot in the Uruguay team in Qatar, and he ended up on an emotional roller coaster. He looked a bit out of shape and out of his depth. But Pellistri did show flashes of talent, and his heartbreak when Uruguay was eliminated despite winning the last game was very memorable and touching.
Final word on Qatar World Cup rookies after Group Stage
The World Cup isn’t over yet, but we clearly know who capitalized on this massive opportunity and who didn’t.
Looking at Qatar World Cup Rookies After Group Stage, there is a significant change of fortunes for some of these players, and their card values. It is a reminder that the World Cup is a great time to place bets on the future of the most promising young players in the world’s favorite game.
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