firstPlayerImage

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN

This French national has been playing in La Liga for almost his whole career. Griezmann has proved himself as an outstanding football player over the past 4 seasons. His dedication, enthusiasm and love for the game accentuates his talent and skills on the field – as well as his goal scoring record. Griezmann was the top scorer in the Euro Football 2016.

Real Sociedad

Griezmann began his football career at UF Macon. He had trials at professional clubs such as Lyon FR but due to his physical stature, it hampered his chances of being considered and this seemed to be the case for him in France. Things started looking up for this great player while he was on trial at Montpellier where he was spotted by the Spanish club Real Sociedad. Even though he was spotted, he still had to prove himself in a few weekly trials which eventually landed him a youth contact with the Spanish Club.

After four years of growing and strengthening his skills in the youth team, he had the opportunity to make it to the full team after the winger of the main squad got injured. This move came to no surprise after an excellent pre-season and was then the start of great things to come for Griezmann. He started making statements soon after playing for the full team and on 27 September 2009 he had his first professional start and goal in a league game against Huesca.

Consistently scoring started to become a trait for Griezmann and in April 2010 he signed his first full time contract with Real Sociedad on a five-year deal. The French national, who got turned down by many French clubs previously, was now a hot commodity. Despite other great teams being interested, such as Manchester United and Arsenal, Griezmann decided to stay with the first team who saw potential in him – Real Sociedad.

Atletico Madrid

After 5 years of considerable success, he was approached by Atletico Madrid where he signed a new contract to be transferred as of July 2014. He made his debut in the Supercopa de España where he came on as a sub to Saul. Once again, Griezmann turned heads as he scored his first goal just a month later in a Champions League group game against Olympiacos.

He never stopped impressing the crowd and December that year he scored his first hat-trick as they beat Bilbao despite trailing at half time. His incredible performance earned him the La Liga player of the Month for January 2015 which was a great milestone for him. During his first season at Atletico Madrid, he netted 22 goals in 37 games and was selected in the LFP Team of the year.

Griezmann had a brilliant performance in the 2015-2016 season of the Champions League, leading to a new contract with Atletico Madrid in June. Despite all the awards and accolades, it did not convert into trophies. You could say that Griezmann knew exactly what he was doing and he fought for what he had in mind. Griezmann is a loyal player to his team, and this is evident once again when he turned down a Manchester United offer in 2017, even though Atletico was not yet successful in bringing home silverware.

He was determined to bring home a trophy for his team and despite the other opportunities around him, he stuck his ground – being a loyal player to his current team. In the 2017-2018 season Griezmann finally achieved what he had set out to do and helped secure Atletico’s first trophy since winning La Liga in 2013-2014. Atletico won the Europa League final against Marseille with a score of 3-0 and Griezmann scored the two opening goals. Given his relatively young age and amazing skills Griezmann is still a very hot item on the transfer market, being linked to many clubs. Griezmann recently confirmed that he will stay at Atletico Madrid, ending any further transfer speculation.

The World Cup

Determination is key and this young Frenchman was determined to achieve great things. He will be representing his birth country in the World Cup this year – France. He is expected to be the leader of a talented French side after his great performance in 2016 Football Euros. Griezmann is really the playmaker and you can find him upfront in this tournament. Griezmann brings a lot of talent to the attacking side of France and also plenty of experience, as he and Giroud were performing really well during the last World Cup and European Championship.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Antoine Griezmann played 59 Matches

Goal History

France-Australia 2-1 1 goal scored
France-Italy 3-1 1 goal scored
Marseille-Atletico 0-3 2 goals scored
Arsenal-Atletico 1-1 1 goal scored
Atletico-Levante 3-0 1 goal scored
Real Madrid-Atletico 1-1 1 goal scored
Atletico-Sporting 2-0 1 goal scored
Villarreal-Atletico 2-1 1 goal scored
Lokomotiv Moscow-Atletico 1-5 1 goal scored
Atletico-Celta Vigo 3-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Leganes 4-0 4 goals scored
Sevilla-Atletico 2-5 3 goals scored
FC Copenhagen 1-4 1 goal scored
Malaga-Atletico 0-1 1 goal scored
Atletico-Las Palmas 3-0 1 goal scored
Sevilla-Atletico 3-1 1 goal scored
Atletico-Girona 1-1 1 goal scored
Lleida Esportiu-Atletico 0-4 1 goal scored
Atletico-Real Sociedad 2-1 1 goal scored
Levante-Atletico 0-5 2 goals scored
Atletico-Roma 2-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Chelsea 1-2 1 goal scored
Atletico-Sevilla 2-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Malaga 1-0 1 goal scored

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

Antoine was born in 1991 in Macon, a small city east central of France. The 27-year old athlete comes from a Portuguese and German background, which explains his German surname. His maternal grandfather was a football player, playing for Futebol Clube Paços de Ferreira in Portugal. Even though Griezmann came from a football background, as a youth player he was rejected from a lot of clubs because he was considered too small and too much of a lightweight. While he was on trial with Montpellier as a 14-year old, he was able to impress in a friendly and got scouted by Real Sociedad, where he would finish his youth career.

He is an important asset to any team he plays for. He plays with vision and awareness, creating chances for the team to score goals. His skills make him a threat to opposing defenders as he uses his fancy footwork to maneuver himself around players. Antoine is a team player, however he has mastered the art of taking on the opposing players single-handedly with his left foot forward.

This small city boy is a super versatile player, playing forward as the main striker or attacking midfielder most of the time. He also has a few tricks up his sleeves. He is fantastic with his footwork, and even though you would not expect it from a player whose length barely reaches 1.75m, he is a real aerial threat, scoring multiple goals with his head. He has played multiple positions in his career and in Real Sociedad he was used as a winger. Griezmann’s speed enabled him to run to both defend and attack on the outer edges.

It is safe to say that Antoine Griezmann has his eye on the goal and he will do anything to add to his top scoring record.

DIEGO COSTA

Aggressive and controversial, but also a superb striker with a gift for goal scoring, Diego Costa is a striker who divides opinions. The brawny attacker has been causing grey hairs for defences in Spain and England, and is finally taking the next step on the international level. This year’s World Cup will show whether Costa will have what it takes to be a dominating striker for Spain.

Club Career

Atletico Madrid is where Diego Costa’s fame all started. He scored 36 goals in the 2013/2014 season with the Colchoneros. This made him a household name around the world and paved his next move from Atletico to Chelsea.

The first season with the blues was a great one for Costa, scoring 20 goals in 26 Premier League games under Jose Mourinho. Costa’s second season with the Blues wasn’t as impressive. Chelsea struggled on the pitch and Costa himself was not scoring as many goals as previously. The Spaniard only scored 12 goals in 28 Premier League games.

In 2016/2017, Antonio Conte started managing the team and Costa started getting back on track, scoring 20 goals in the Premier League.

Despite a powerful comeback season from Costa, he was not part of Conte’s plan for 2017/2018. Reports sprung that the Italian manager told him the news by a text message, which Costa found very disrespectful after all that he had achieved at the club. This resulted in Diego Costa’s move back to Atletico in January 2018.

He decided to wait until the winter transfer market had opened to go back to Atletico, where he formed a deadly duo with Antoine Griezmann. The move was the perfect choice for both of the players – with Costa’s strong target playing, Griezmann was able to obtain a more open role within the team.

The National Team

Even though Diego Costa is known to play for the Spanish team, he did actually play 2 games for his country of birth in 2013 - seleção. After this short time with the Brazilian team, he switched national teams to Spain and he could obviously do this due to his dual citizenship.

In a national league, you cannot play in one team and then in the other if you have competed on a national level. His two appearances were only friendlies which allowed him to switch and play for La Roja in the 2014 World Cup.

The previous World Cup did not go well for the Spaniards as they were kicked out of the tournament in the group stage. They were defeated by Chile and humiliated by the Netherlands with a final score of 5-1.

Costa, obviously wanting to prove himself, started a battle with Alvaro Morata for the striker position in the Spanish team, but both were left disappointed. The coach, Vicente del Bosque, was not convinced by either one of them leading up to the 2016 Euros in France. By having no real striking talent in the team, this resulted in another disappointing result for the Spaniards, as they were defeated by Italy in the last 16.

In 2018 Costa finally managed to secure his place in the starting line up as a striker, leaving Morata on the bench. As the latter didn’t manage to get proper playing time or results in either Real Madrid in Chelsea, Costa could cement his position as the number 1 striker for the Spanish national team.

Valencia’s Rodrigo and Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas are the biggest threats to his playing time in this summer’s World Cup, but Diego Costa starts the competition as the clear first choice.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Diego Costa played 27 Matches

Goal History

Iran-Spain 0-1 1 goal scored
Portugal-Spain 3-3 2 goals scored
Atletico-Arsenal 1-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0 1 goal scored
Sevilla-Atletico 2-5 1 goal scored
Atletico-Athletic Bilbao 2-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Sevilla 1-2 1 goal scored
Atletico-Getafe 2-0 1 goal scored
Lleida Esportiu-Atletico 0-4 1 goal scored

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

Born in Brazil and playing for Spain’s National team is not something you see all the time. Diego Costa switched national teams from Brazil to Spain just before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Costa obtained Spanish nationality a year before the competition and wanted to represent the country that in his own words, gave him everything.

We can expect a solid performance from Costa throughout the 2018 World Cup. The powerful striker has started the competition with a bang, as he scored 2 goals against Portugal and 1 winner vs Iran. The team has an extremely creative midfield and he has the role of the finisher. He has a “killer mind” inside the box and will without a doubt cause problems to the opposition defences.

JAMIE VARDY

This English international has had a very special career. Most professional football players start their career at a very young age in non-professional clubs and gradually make their way to bigger youth academies. This was not the case for Vardy!

Leicester City

In 2012, he joined Leicester City when the club was playing in the Championship. He had a great start with the team and in 2013/2014, helped the Foxes get back to the Premier League, scoring 16 goals in 37 appearances.

His first season in the Premier League did not go according to plan. Vardy only managed to score five goals and Leicester was nearly relegated back to the Championship.

However, the following season Leicester City and Vardy had an incredible and unexpected year. After avoiding relegation the previous season, Claudio Ranieri’s side managed to clinch the Premier League title. Leicester’s win was one of the biggest upsets in the history of football and they could not have done this without their factory worker-turned-footballer.

The unbelievable season was due to Ranieri’s fantastic coaching, as well as the performance of a talented pool of players, such as N’Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.

Vardy managed to score 24 goals in 36 Premier League games. He also broke the record for most consecutive goal-scoring games in the league, finding the net on 11 consecutive games. This great performance from Vardy led him to selection for England for Euro Football 2016 in France.

Vardy came off the bench twice in the group stage, scoring an equaliser in a grudge match against Wales, before starting the last group match against Slovakia. In the round of 16 game against Iceland, Vardy also started as a substitute and replaced Raheem Sterling in the 60 th minute. Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough and Iceland shockingly beat England 2-1, ending the tournament for the Three Lions. In 2018, the selection is pretty much the same in the national team. Harry Kane starts the games for England, and Vardy offers a dangerous option from the bench.

Vardy has really made an impact in such a short period of time even if he did not have all the training that other great players experienced during their youth. He is known for his strong character and this is probably one of the reasons why he has made such a successful career for himself. Vardy is one of Premier League’s most lethal finishers; he’s been scoring at a consistent rate for years. He can be a difference-maker for England in Russia.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Jamie Vardy played 46 Matches

Goal History

Tottenham-Leicester 5-4 2 goals scored
Leicester-Arsenal 3-1 1 goal scored
Burnley-Leicester 2-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Newcastle 1-2 1 goal scored
Brighton-Leicester 0-2 1 goal scored
England-Italy 1-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Chelsea 1-2 1 goal scored
West Brom-Leicester 1-4 1 goal scored
Leicester-Sheffield united 1-0 1 goal scored
Man City-Leicester 5-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Swansea 1-1 1 goal scored
Everton-Leicester 2-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Watford 2-0 1 goal scored
Liverpool-Leicester 2-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Man united 2-2 1 goal scored
Leicester-Man City 1-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Tottenham 2-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Everton 2-0 1 goal scored
Leicester-Liverpool 2-3 1 goal scored
Huddersfield 1-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Chelsea 1-2 1 goal scored
Arsenal-Leicester 4-3 2 goals scored

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

Vardy started his professional career at the age of 23. Beforehand he was playing for non-league Stocksbridge Park Steels on the weekends and working in a factory during the week.

For the World Cup, Harry Kane is the uncontested starter upfront for England. Vardy can be the super-sub to give Gareth Southgate’s team the edge. He can make a big difference as he is extremely fast, and a great finisher – he can come on and completely change the game. Vardy scored against each of the top six teams in the Premier League this season, 11 times in total. Having also scored against Germany and Spain at international level, it’s clear he can be a deciding factor in important matches.

PHILIPPE COUTINHO

The current World Cup can be the tournament where Philippe Coutinho makes his mark in a Brazil shirt. The Barcelona player was not part of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s plans four years ago. Since then, he has become one of the most expensive football players in the world and the kind of playmaker that the Seleção has desperately needed. It’s all up for grabs for one of Rio de Janeiro’s own.

Premier League

The 26-year-old Brazilian made a name for himself in the 2013/2014 season when he played a vital role in the chase for the Premier League title. Until May, his team were primed for the league title – something that they had been waiting for over 20 years. Sadly, a loss to Chelsea and a draw against Crystal Palace caused them to slip down to second place with Manchester City stealing the title from their hands.

Coutinho’s best season, stats wise, would be the 2016/2017 season – appearing 31 times, scoring 13 goals and assisting 7 times. This was his last season in the Premier League, securing a Champions League spot with 4 th place.

Throughout all of his seasons in the Premier League, Coutinho always kept an average of over 40 passes per match. His highest average PPM was his last season, when he had 49 PPM.

Barcelona

Over the years, Coutinho developed into the quality player that he is today and in the process of doing that, he slowly rebuilt his team back to a title contender. However, his career in England came to an end when Barcelona paid a massive £142 million to bring the creative midfielder to Camp Nou.

 

Since Philippe made the move to Barcelona, he has played in multiple different positions in both the attack and midfield.. This versatility makes him a fantastic asset for the team that boasts players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Since Coutinho has been at Barcelona, he has made an instant impact on the pitch. So far Philippe has made 16 appearances, scoring 8 goals and assisting in 5 more.

We could have expected even more goals from Coutinho if he had played Champions League games with the Blaugrana. However, having played group stage games of the same competition with a different team earlier in the season made it impossible for him to compete with the Spanish side after his transfer.

He will probably be one of Barcelona’s main assets to get the Champions League trophy back at the Camp Nou, after failing to win it since 2015.

It is only Coutinho’s first season at Barcelona and it is a large jump from playing in England. Despite this he has been able to make an instant impact in his new team. Once he gets more games in the Blaugrana shirt, we can expect even bigger things from this Brazilian maestro.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Coutinho played 52 Matches

Goal History

Brazil-Switzerland 1-1 1 goal scored
Austria-Brazil 0-3 1 goal scored
Barcelona-Real Sociedad 1-0 1 goal scored
Levante-Barcelona 5-4 3 goals scored
Barcelona-Villareal 5-1 1 goal scored
Deportivo-Barcelona 2-4 1 goal scored
Sevilla-Barcelona 0-5 1 goal scored
Russia-Brazil 0-3 1 goal scored
Malaga-Barcelona 0-2 1 goal scored
Barcelona-Girona 6-1 1 goal scored
Valencia-Barcelona 0-2 1 goal scored
Liverpool-Swansea 5-0 1 goal scored
Arsenal-Liverpool 3-3 1 goal scored
Bournemouth-Liverpool 0-4 1 goal scored
Liverpool-Spartak Moscow 7-0 3 goals scored
Brighton-Liverpool 1-5 1 goal scored
Liverpool-Southampton 3-0 1 goal scored
Maribor-Liverpool 7-0 1 goal scored
Newcastle-Liverpool 1-1 1 goal scored
Spartak Moscow-Liverpool 1-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Liverpool 2-3 1 goal scored
Brazil-Haiti 7-1 3 goals scored

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

Now that the World Cup has started, we have seen Coutinho score the first goal for Brazil in the tournament. This was a great start to the tournament for him as it is considered one of the best goals in the competition so far. Even though he scored a memorable first goal, things did not go so well for Brazil. The game ended at 1-1, after they conceded a header from a corner.

Since Neymar is still coming back from a long injury, Coutinho needs to step up as the attacking mind of the team – in case Neymar is not fully fit for the upcoming games.

THOMAS MÜLLER

Müller is an all round German, patriotic and loyal to his native country. He plays for Bayern Munich in Bundesliga and since 2010 has been a regular player in Germany’s National football team. Thomas is one of Bayern Munich’s talented products from the youth academy, which has also included the likes of World Cup legend Franz Beckenbauer and 2014 World Cup winners Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos. Germany won their 4th World Cup in 2014 and Müller was part of the pool of talent that helped Germany gain this title.

Bayern Munich

The German star is a highly versatile player who usually plays in an advanced midfield position, but is able to perform in a number of different positions on the field. Müller can play behind the main striker, on either side of the wing as well as a lone striker.

With Bayern, he often plays as an attacking midfielder, supporting the main striker and for Germany he has been playing as a right attacking midfielder since his debut in the 2010 World Cup. That year, at the age of just 20, Müller won the best young player award as well as the golden boot for his performance and fantastic achievement of being one of the top goal scorers in the competition.

In 2014, Germany achieved the unofficial title of being the best team in the World and also showed it by winning the coveted World Cup. Müller scored his very first hat-trick that year during his match with Portugal and by no surprise he was also once again one of the top goal scorers of the tournament. Sadly, he did not win the golden boot for the second time in a row as Colombian James Rodriguez managed to score one more. Although he missed the Golden Boot, he was still awarded the Silver Ball for being the second best player of the tournament.

In the season leading up to the 2018 World Cup, Müller suffered an injury which resulted in him missing 7 games for Bayern Munich. Despite this injury he still managed to rack up 8 goals and 14 assists in 29 games in the Bundesliga – being the player with the most assists in the whole league.

Since the departure of accomplished manager Pep Guardiola, Müller’s form took a negative turn and this affected his strategy which previously allowed him to play more freely. Pep’s replacement, Carlo Ancelotti, gave him a more defined role in the squad – making him the playmaker. This defined role meant that now he would have to support the point man – Lewandowski – from an advanced midfield role.

The change was not easy for this German player and his performance and value went down by a third in the 2016-2017 season from €75 million to €45 million. However, this was not the end for Müller as he settled in his new role in the second half of the 2017/2018 campaign. His performance has risen once again and his transfer value continues to go up. As of June 2018, his market value is set at €60 million, but it is unlikely we will see him swap teams anytime soon.

Although he is not physically strong, his mental strength and maturity makes him attractive to managers such as Joachim Löw and Louis Van Gaal who have commented on these strengths that he possesses. Along with these strengths, he has a good work rate, blistering pace and amazing technical ability – you can say that Müller is quite the ideal poacher.

He has an inherent ability to read the game and position him in the right places. In a 2011 interview with a local newspaper in Bavaria, he was questioned about what kind of a player he actually was and replied “Ich bin ein Raumdeuter” which can loosely be translated as “interpreter of space”. By his response we can see that he has evolved in his position and even ‘created’ a new style of playing.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Thomas Müller played 51 Matches

Goal History

Hannover-Bayern 0-3 1 goal scored
Bayer Leverkusen-Bayern 2-6 3 goals scored
Bayern-Dortmund 6-0 1 goal scored
Germany-Spain 1-1 1 goal scored
Freiburg-Bayern 0-4 1 goal scored
Bayern-Besiktas 5-0 2 goals scored
Bayern-Schalke 2-1 1 goal scored
Bayern-Werder Bremen 4-2 2 goals scored
Bayern-Dortmund 2-1 1 goal scored
Stuttgart-Bayern 0-1 1 goal scored
Bayern-Celtic 3-0 1 goal scored
Bayern-Mainz 05 4-0 1 goal scored
BCF Wolfratshausen-Bayern 1-4 1 goal scored

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

You can expect Müller to score goals by cutting in from the right, providing assists for his teammates, especially the young striker Timo Werner – will he be the tournament’s top scorer? This World Cup consists of plenty of talented strikers such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane, Diego Costa and even Russia’s Denis Cheryshev. Müller participated in 2 World Cups, scoring 5 goals in each, so he can be seen as one of the favourites.

This year Timo Werner will be the lead striker but Müller will be playing an offensive midfielder – where he will perform at his finest, scoring goals and providing assists to teammates.

firstPlayerImage

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN

This French national has been playing in La Liga for almost his whole career. Griezmann has proved himself as an outstanding football player over the past 4 seasons. His dedication, enthusiasm and love for the game accentuates his talent and skills on the field – as well as his goal scoring record. Griezmann was the top scorer in the Euro Football 2016.

Real Sociedad

Griezmann began his football career at UF Macon. He had trials at professional clubs such as Lyon FR but due to his physical stature, it hampered his chances of being considered and this seemed to be the case for him in France. Things started looking up for this great player while he was on trial at Montpellier where he was spotted by the Spanish club Real Sociedad. Even though he was spotted, he still had to prove himself in a few weekly trials which eventually landed him a youth contact with the Spanish Club.

After four years of growing and strengthening his skills in the youth team, he had the opportunity to make it to the full team after the winger of the main squad got injured. This move came to no surprise after an excellent pre-season and was then the start of great things to come for Griezmann. He started making statements soon after playing for the full team and on 27 September 2009 he had his first professional start and goal in a league game against Huesca.

Consistently scoring started to become a trait for Griezmann and in April 2010 he signed his first full time contract with Real Sociedad on a five-year deal. The French national, who got turned down by many French clubs previously, was now a hot commodity. Despite other great teams being interested, such as Manchester United and Arsenal, Griezmann decided to stay with the first team who saw potential in him – Real Sociedad.

Atletico Madrid

After 5 years of considerable success, he was approached by Atletico Madrid where he signed a new contract to be transferred as of July 2014. He made his debut in the Supercopa de España where he came on as a sub to Saul. Once again, Griezmann turned heads as he scored his first goal just a month later in a Champions League group game against Olympiacos.

He never stopped impressing the crowd and December that year he scored his first hat-trick as they beat Bilbao despite trailing at half time. His incredible performance earned him the La Liga player of the Month for January 2015 which was a great milestone for him. During his first season at Atletico Madrid, he netted 22 goals in 37 games and was selected in the LFP Team of the year.

Griezmann had a brilliant performance in the 2015-2016 season of the Champions League, leading to a new contract with Atletico Madrid in June. Despite all the awards and accolades, it did not convert into trophies. You could say that Griezmann knew exactly what he was doing and he fought for what he had in mind. Griezmann is a loyal player to his team, and this is evident once again when he turned down a Manchester United offer in 2017, even though Atletico was not yet successful in bringing home silverware.

He was determined to bring home a trophy for his team and despite the other opportunities around him, he stuck his ground – being a loyal player to his current team. In the 2017-2018 season Griezmann finally achieved what he had set out to do and helped secure Atletico’s first trophy since winning La Liga in 2013-2014. Atletico won the Europa League final against Marseille with a score of 3-0 and Griezmann scored the two opening goals. Given his relatively young age and amazing skills Griezmann is still a very hot item on the transfer market, being linked to many clubs. Griezmann recently confirmed that he will stay at Atletico Madrid, ending any further transfer speculation.

The World Cup

Determination is key and this young Frenchman was determined to achieve great things. He will be representing his birth country in the World Cup this year – France. He is expected to be the leader of a talented French side after his great performance in 2016 Football Euros. Griezmann is really the playmaker and you can find him upfront in this tournament. Griezmann brings a lot of talent to the attacking side of France and also plenty of experience, as he and Giroud were performing really well during the last World Cup and European Championship.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Antoine Griezmann played 59 Matches

Goal History

France-Australia 2-1 1 goal scored
France-Italy 3-1 1 goal scored
Marseille-Atletico 0-3 2 goals scored
Arsenal-Atletico 1-1 1 goal scored
Atletico-Levante 3-0 1 goal scored
Real Madrid-Atletico 1-1 1 goal scored
Atletico-Sporting 2-0 1 goal scored
Villarreal-Atletico 2-1 1 goal scored
Lokomotiv Moscow-Atletico 1-5 1 goal scored
Atletico-Celta Vigo 3-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Leganes 4-0 4 goals scored
Sevilla-Atletico 2-5 3 goals scored
FC Copenhagen 1-4 1 goal scored
Malaga-Atletico 0-1 1 goal scored
Atletico-Las Palmas 3-0 1 goal scored
Sevilla-Atletico 3-1 1 goal scored
Atletico-Girona 1-1 1 goal scored
Lleida Esportiu-Atletico 0-4 1 goal scored
Atletico-Real Sociedad 2-1 1 goal scored
Levante-Atletico 0-5 2 goals scored
Atletico-Roma 2-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Chelsea 1-2 1 goal scored
Atletico-Sevilla 2-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Malaga 1-0 1 goal scored

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

Antoine was born in 1991 in Macon, a small city east central of France. The 27-year old athlete comes from a Portuguese and German background, which explains his German surname. His maternal grandfather was a football player, playing for Futebol Clube Paços de Ferreira in Portugal. Even though Griezmann came from a football background, as a youth player he was rejected from a lot of clubs because he was considered too small and too much of a lightweight. While he was on trial with Montpellier as a 14-year old, he was able to impress in a friendly and got scouted by Real Sociedad, where he would finish his youth career.

He is an important asset to any team he plays for. He plays with vision and awareness, creating chances for the team to score goals. His skills make him a threat to opposing defenders as he uses his fancy footwork to maneuver himself around players. Antoine is a team player, however he has mastered the art of taking on the opposing players single-handedly with his left foot forward.

This small city boy is a super versatile player, playing forward as the main striker or attacking midfielder most of the time. He also has a few tricks up his sleeves. He is fantastic with his footwork, and even though you would not expect it from a player whose length barely reaches 1.75m, he is a real aerial threat, scoring multiple goals with his head. He has played multiple positions in his career and in Real Sociedad he was used as a winger. Griezmann’s speed enabled him to run to both defend and attack on the outer edges.

It is safe to say that Antoine Griezmann has his eye on the goal and he will do anything to add to his top scoring record.

secondPlayerBefore

DIEGO COSTA

Aggressive and controversial, but also a superb striker with a gift for goal scoring, Diego Costa is a striker who divides opinions. The brawny attacker has been causing grey hairs for defences in Spain and England, and is finally taking the next step on the international level. This year’s World Cup will show whether Costa will have what it takes to be a dominating striker for Spain.

Club Career

Atletico Madrid is where Diego Costa’s fame all started. He scored 36 goals in the 2013/2014 season with the Colchoneros. This made him a household name around the world and paved his next move from Atletico to Chelsea.

The first season with the blues was a great one for Costa, scoring 20 goals in 26 Premier League games under Jose Mourinho. Costa’s second season with the Blues wasn’t as impressive. Chelsea struggled on the pitch and Costa himself was not scoring as many goals as previously. The Spaniard only scored 12 goals in 28 Premier League games.

In 2016/2017, Antonio Conte started managing the team and Costa started getting back on track, scoring 20 goals in the Premier League.

Despite a powerful comeback season from Costa, he was not part of Conte’s plan for 2017/2018. Reports sprung that the Italian manager told him the news by a text message, which Costa found very disrespectful after all that he had achieved at the club. This resulted in Diego Costa’s move back to Atletico in January 2018.

He decided to wait until the winter transfer market had opened to go back to Atletico, where he formed a deadly duo with Antoine Griezmann. The move was the perfect choice for both of the players – with Costa’s strong target playing, Griezmann was able to obtain a more open role within the team.

The National Team

Even though Diego Costa is known to play for the Spanish team, he did actually play 2 games for his country of birth in 2013 - seleção. After this short time with the Brazilian team, he switched national teams to Spain and he could obviously do this due to his dual citizenship.

In a national league, you cannot play in one team and then in the other if you have competed on a national level. His two appearances were only friendlies which allowed him to switch and play for La Roja in the 2014 World Cup.

The previous World Cup did not go well for the Spaniards as they were kicked out of the tournament in the group stage. They were defeated by Chile and humiliated by the Netherlands with a final score of 5-1.

Costa, obviously wanting to prove himself, started a battle with Alvaro Morata for the striker position in the Spanish team, but both were left disappointed. The coach, Vicente del Bosque, was not convinced by either one of them leading up to the 2016 Euros in France. By having no real striking talent in the team, this resulted in another disappointing result for the Spaniards, as they were defeated by Italy in the last 16.

In 2018 Costa finally managed to secure his place in the starting line up as a striker, leaving Morata on the bench. As the latter didn’t manage to get proper playing time or results in either Real Madrid in Chelsea, Costa could cement his position as the number 1 striker for the Spanish national team.

Valencia’s Rodrigo and Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas are the biggest threats to his playing time in this summer’s World Cup, but Diego Costa starts the competition as the clear first choice.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Diego Costa played 27 Matches

Goal History

Iran-Spain 0-1 1 goal scored
Portugal-Spain 3-3 2 goals scored
Atletico-Arsenal 1-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0 1 goal scored
Sevilla-Atletico 2-5 1 goal scored
Atletico-Athletic Bilbao 2-0 1 goal scored
Atletico-Sevilla 1-2 1 goal scored
Atletico-Getafe 2-0 1 goal scored
Lleida Esportiu-Atletico 0-4 1 goal scored

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

Born in Brazil and playing for Spain’s National team is not something you see all the time. Diego Costa switched national teams from Brazil to Spain just before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Costa obtained Spanish nationality a year before the competition and wanted to represent the country that in his own words, gave him everything.

We can expect a solid performance from Costa throughout the 2018 World Cup. The powerful striker has started the competition with a bang, as he scored 2 goals against Portugal and 1 winner vs Iran. The team has an extremely creative midfield and he has the role of the finisher. He has a “killer mind” inside the box and will without a doubt cause problems to the opposition defences.

JAMIE VARDY

This English international has had a very special career. Most professional football players start their career at a very young age in non-professional clubs and gradually make their way to bigger youth academies. This was not the case for Vardy!

Leicester City

In 2012, he joined Leicester City when the club was playing in the Championship. He had a great start with the team and in 2013/2014, helped the Foxes get back to the Premier League, scoring 16 goals in 37 appearances.

His first season in the Premier League did not go according to plan. Vardy only managed to score five goals and Leicester was nearly relegated back to the Championship.

However, the following season Leicester City and Vardy had an incredible and unexpected year. After avoiding relegation the previous season, Claudio Ranieri’s side managed to clinch the Premier League title. Leicester’s win was one of the biggest upsets in the history of football and they could not have done this without their factory worker-turned-footballer.

The unbelievable season was due to Ranieri’s fantastic coaching, as well as the performance of a talented pool of players, such as N’Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.

Vardy managed to score 24 goals in 36 Premier League games. He also broke the record for most consecutive goal-scoring games in the league, finding the net on 11 consecutive games. This great performance from Vardy led him to selection for England for Euro Football 2016 in France.

Vardy came off the bench twice in the group stage, scoring an equaliser in a grudge match against Wales, before starting the last group match against Slovakia. In the round of 16 game against Iceland, Vardy also started as a substitute and replaced Raheem Sterling in the 60 th minute. Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough and Iceland shockingly beat England 2-1, ending the tournament for the Three Lions. In 2018, the selection is pretty much the same in the national team. Harry Kane starts the games for England, and Vardy offers a dangerous option from the bench.

Vardy has really made an impact in such a short period of time even if he did not have all the training that other great players experienced during their youth. He is known for his strong character and this is probably one of the reasons why he has made such a successful career for himself. Vardy is one of Premier League’s most lethal finishers; he’s been scoring at a consistent rate for years. He can be a difference-maker for England in Russia.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Diego Costa played 27 Matches

Goal History

Tottenham-Leicester 5-4 2 goals scored
Leicester-Arsenal 3-1 1 goal scored
Burnley-Leicester 2-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Newcastle 1-2 1 goal scored
Brighton-Leicester 0-2 1 goal scored
England-Italy 1-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Chelsea 1-2 1 goal scored
West Brom-Leicester 1-4 1 goal scored
Leicester-Sheffield united 1-0 1 goal scored
Man City-Leicester 5-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Swansea 1-1 1 goal scored
Everton-Leicester 2-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Watford 2-0 1 goal scored
Liverpool-Leicester 2-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Man united 2-2 1 goal scored
Leicester-Man City 1-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Tottenham 2-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Everton 2-0 1 goal scored
Leicester-Liverpool 2-3 1 goal scored
Huddersfield 1-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Chelsea 1-2 1 goal scored
Arsenal-Leicester 4-3 2 goals scored

 

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

Vardy started his professional career at the age of 23. Beforehand he was playing for non-league Stocksbridge Park Steels on the weekends and working in a factory during the week.

For the World Cup, Harry Kane is the uncontested starter upfront for England. Vardy can be the super-sub to give Gareth Southgate’s team the edge. He can make a big difference as he is extremely fast, and a great finisher – he can come on and completely change the game. Vardy scored against each of the top six teams in the Premier League this season, 11 times in total. Having also scored against Germany and Spain at international level, it’s clear he can be a deciding factor in important matches.

PHILIPPE COUTINHO

The current World Cup can be the tournament where Philippe Coutinho makes his mark in a Brazil shirt. The Barcelona player was not part of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s plans four years ago. Since then, he has become one of the most expensive football players in the world and the kind of playmaker that the Seleção has desperately needed. It’s all up for grabs for one of Rio de Janeiro’s own.

Premier League

The 26-year-old Brazilian made a name for himself in the 2013/2014 season when he played a vital role in the chase for the Premier League title. Until May, his team were primed for the league title – something that they had been waiting for over 20 years. Sadly, a loss to Chelsea and a draw against Crystal Palace caused them to slip down to second place with Manchester City stealing the title from their hands.

Coutinho’s best season, stats wise, would be the 2016/2017 season – appearing 31 times, scoring 13 goals and assisting 7 times. This was his last season in the Premier League, securing a Champions League spot with 4 th place.

Throughout all of his seasons in the Premier League, Coutinho always kept an average of over 40 passes per match. His highest average PPM was his last season, when he had 49 PPM.

Barcelona

Over the years, Coutinho developed into the quality player that he is today and in the process of doing that, he slowly rebuilt his team back to a title contender. However, his career in England came to an end when Barcelona paid a massive £142 million to bring the creative midfielder to Camp Nou.

 

Since Philippe made the move to Barcelona, he has played in multiple different positions in both the attack and midfield.. This versatility makes him a fantastic asset for the team that boasts players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Since Coutinho has been at Barcelona, he has made an instant impact on the pitch. So far Philippe has made 16 appearances, scoring 8 goals and assisting in 5 more.

We could have expected even more goals from Coutinho if he had played Champions League games with the Blaugrana. However, having played group stage games of the same competition with a different team earlier in the season made it impossible for him to compete with the Spanish side after his transfer.

He will probably be one of Barcelona’s main assets to get the Champions League trophy back at the Camp Nou, after failing to win it since 2015.

It is only Coutinho’s first season at Barcelona and it is a large jump from playing in England. Despite this he has been able to make an instant impact in his new team. Once he gets more games in the Blaugrana shirt, we can expect even bigger things from this Brazilian maestro.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Coutinho played 52 Matches

Goal History

Brazil-Switzerland 1-1 1 goal scored
Austria-Brazil 0-3 1 goal scored
Barcelona-Real Sociedad 1-0 1 goal scored
Levante-Barcelona 5-4 3 goals scored
Barcelona-Villareal 5-1 1 goal scored
Deportivo-Barcelona 2-4 1 goal scored
Sevilla-Barcelona 0-5 1 goal scored
Russia-Brazil 0-3 1 goal scored
Malaga-Barcelona 0-2 1 goal scored
Barcelona-Girona 6-1 1 goal scored
Valencia-Barcelona 0-2 1 goal scored
Liverpool-Swansea 5-0 1 goal scored
Arsenal-Liverpool 3-3 1 goal scored
Bournemouth-Liverpool 0-4 1 goal scored
Liverpool-Spartak Moscow 7-0 3 goals scored
Brighton-Liverpool 1-5 1 goal scored
Liverpool-Southampton 3-0 1 goal scored
Maribor-Liverpool 7-0 1 goal scored
Newcastle-Liverpool 1-1 1 goal scored
Spartak Moscow-Liverpool 1-1 1 goal scored
Leicester-Liverpool 2-3 1 goal scored
Brazil-Haiti 7-1 3 goals scored

 

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

Now that the World Cup has started, we have seen Coutinho score the first goal for Brazil in the tournament. This was a great start to the tournament for him as it is considered one of the best goals in the competition so far. Even though he scored a memorable first goal, things did not go so well for Brazil. The game ended at 1-1, after they conceded a header from a corner.

Since Neymar is still coming back from a long injury, Coutinho needs to step up as the attacking mind of the team – in case Neymar is not fully fit for the upcoming games.

THOMAS MÜLLER

Müller is an all round German, patriotic and loyal to his native country. He plays for Bayern Munich in Bundesliga and since 2010 has been a regular player in Germany’s National football team. Thomas is one of Bayern Munich’s talented products from the youth academy, which has also included the likes of World Cup legend Franz Beckenbauer and 2014 World Cup winners Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos. Germany won their 4th World Cup in 2014 and Müller was part of the pool of talent that helped Germany gain this title.

Bayern Munich

The German star is a highly versatile player who usually plays in an advanced midfield position, but is able to perform in a number of different positions on the field. Müller can play behind the main striker, on either side of the wing as well as a lone striker.

With Bayern, he often plays as an attacking midfielder, supporting the main striker and for Germany he has been playing as a right attacking midfielder since his debut in the 2010 World Cup. That year, at the age of just 20, Müller won the best young player award as well as the golden boot for his performance and fantastic achievement of being one of the top goal scorers in the competition.

In 2014, Germany achieved the unofficial title of being the best team in the World and also showed it by winning the coveted World Cup. Müller scored his very first hat-trick that year during his match with Portugal and by no surprise he was also once again one of the top goal scorers of the tournament. Sadly, he did not win the golden boot for the second time in a row as Colombian James Rodriguez managed to score one more. Although he missed the Golden Boot, he was still awarded the Silver Ball for being the second best player of the tournament.

In the season leading up to the 2018 World Cup, Müller suffered an injury which resulted in him missing 7 games for Bayern Munich. Despite this injury he still managed to rack up 8 goals and 14 assists in 29 games in the Bundesliga – being the player with the most assists in the whole league.

Since the departure of accomplished manager Pep Guardiola, Müller’s form took a negative turn and this affected his strategy which previously allowed him to play more freely. Pep’s replacement, Carlo Ancelotti, gave him a more defined role in the squad – making him the playmaker. This defined role meant that now he would have to support the point man – Lewandowski – from an advanced midfield role.

The change was not easy for this German player and his performance and value went down by a third in the 2016-2017 season from €75 million to €45 million. However, this was not the end for Müller as he settled in his new role in the second half of the 2017/2018 campaign. His performance has risen once again and his transfer value continues to go up. As of June 2018, his market value is set at €60 million, but it is unlikely we will see him swap teams anytime soon.

Although he is not physically strong, his mental strength and maturity makes him attractive to managers such as Joachim Löw and Louis Van Gaal who have commented on these strengths that he possesses. Along with these strengths, he has a good work rate, blistering pace and amazing technical ability – you can say that Müller is quite the ideal poacher.

He has an inherent ability to read the game and position him in the right places. In a 2011 interview with a local newspaper in Bavaria, he was questioned about what kind of a player he actually was and replied “Ich bin ein Raumdeuter” which can loosely be translated as “interpreter of space”. By his response we can see that he has evolved in his position and even ‘created’ a new style of playing.

2017/2018 STATS

Overall Thomas Müller played 51 Matches

Goal History

Hannover-Bayern 0-3 1 goal scored
Bayer Leverkusen-Bayern 2-6 3 goals scored
Bayern-Dortmund 6-0 1 goal scored
Germany-Spain 1-1 1 goal scored
Freiburg-Bayern 0-4 1 goal scored
Bayern-Besiktas 5-0 2 goals scored
Bayern-Schalke 2-1 1 goal scored
Bayern-Werder Bremen 4-2 2 goals scored
Bayern-Dortmund 2-1 1 goal scored
Stuttgart-Bayern 0-1 1 goal scored
Bayern-Celtic 3-0 1 goal scored
Bayern-Mainz 05 4-0 1 goal scored
BCF Wolfratshausen-Bayern 1-4 1 goal scored

 

Completed Passes

Assists / Goals

You can expect Müller to score goals by cutting in from the right, providing assists for his teammates, especially the young striker Timo Werner – will he be the tournament’s top scorer? This World Cup consists of plenty of talented strikers such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane, Diego Costa and even Russia’s Denis Cheryshev. Müller participated in 2 World Cups, scoring 5 goals in each, so he can be seen as one of the favourites.

You can expect Müller to score goals by cutting in from the right, providing assists for his teammates, especially the young striker Timo Werner – will he be the tournament’s top scorer? This World Cup consists of plenty of talented strikers such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane, Diego Costa and even Russia’s Denis Cheryshev. Müller participated in 2 World Cups, scoring 5 goals in each, so he can be seen as one of the favourites.

UNIBET © Copyright 2018