The Greatest Show on Earth came to an end with a dramatic final. A 4-2 victory over a plucky Croatia meant France were crowned the World Champions for the second time in their history. A total of 14 Chelsea players were selected by their respective countries to participate in the tournament. In the end, only two remained – N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud.
What did we learnt about the Chelsea representatives throughout the World Cup? Let’s find out.
#1 N’Golo Kante: World Cup Winner
Throughout the tournament, N’Golo Kante has been one of the two best midfielders in the competition. The other one was the guy he was playing against – Luka Modric. Up until the final, Kante had been quietly bossing games like he does for Chelsea. His brilliance did not go unnoticed, with pundits and commentators continually fawning over the little guy. The final did not go as well as he’d hoped on a personal level, with Deschamps taking him off early in the second half. But a World Cup winners’ medal and all of his teammates serenading him on the team bus would have more than made up for it. Chelsea better get his signature on a new £200,000 a week contract as soon as he returns to Cobham.
#2 Eden Hazard: Level Up
We knew he could do it. We knew he had the talent, but there were still question marks over his mentality. Could Hazard thrive under responsibility? Or will he wilt under pressure? Those questions have been answered, and how! Entrusted with the captain’s armband, Eden Hazard led by example. Three goals, two assists and four Man Of The Match awards, combined with an average WhoScored rating of 8.53 shut up any remaining doubters. If Hazard uses his World Cup performance to get himself a move, you could hardly fault him. Let’s just make sure we get the full £200 million from Real Madrid.
#3 Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek: One In, One Out
It looks like Gary Cahill’s international career is over. The veteran Englishman hardly set foot on the pitch in Russia, with Southgate preferring to phase him out in favour of younger alternatives. While he is on his way out, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is starting to find his feet in the England setup. The youngster, who spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace, has been earmarked as one for the present and the future by most pundits. If he continues to progress as he has, he will easily become one of the first names on the England teamsheet shortly. Sarri better know how to use him or he’ll be another one that got away.
#4 Willian: Blowing Hot and Cold
It was not the kind of tournament he would have hoped for, after a fairly productive season at Chelsea. Brazil’s coach, Tite, seemed to prefer Douglas Costa on the right and justifiably so, given the kind of impact Costa seemed to have on proceedings. An overall WhoScored rating of 6.96 does not really scream “elite”. If he does want to move on, Chelsea would be wise to listen to any offers in excess of £50 million.
#5 Cesar Azpilicueta: Criminally Underused
After a managerial upheaval on the eve of the tournament, Spain did not progress very far under their new coach, Fernando Hierro. In their short World Cup campaign, Azpilicueta did not even make it to the pitch, which leaves him fresh as a daisy ahead of Chelsea’s season. Although some might say it’s better not to be involved at all, than to play in goal and commit one of the worst blunders in tournament history. You know who I’m talking about. Anyway, Spain’s loss could be Chelsea’s gain in this case. The reverse holds true for Diego Costa, who was Spain’s top scorer even though he spent a lot of last season twiddling his thumbs in Madrid. You can’t have everything, I guess.