How are Manchester United players getting on at the World Cup?

The 2018 World Cup is still in the group stages at the moment, which means they’ll be a fair few cagey, low-scoring matches – as not losing the games is often more of a priority for teams at this point in the tournament. Of course, there have been some outstanding matches and performances so far – notably, the 3-3 draw between rivals Spain and Portugal that saw ex-Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo claim his first ever hat-trick for his country. There is a long and distinguished history of United stars representing their countries in the biggest tournament of all, so let’s take a closer look…

There are 11 members of the current United squad involved in this year’s World Cup and some have already made a significant splashes on the pitch. One good example of this is striker Romelu Lukaku, who grabbed a brace of goals for Belgium in their opening group match – a 3-0 win over Panama. Lukaku is one of the main stars of a talented Belgian squad and is the highest ever goalscorer for his country, with his two most recent goals taking him to 38 goals in 70 appearances. Belgium are among the favourites to lift the trophy this time around, with odds of 17/2 being offered by leading bookmakers, and they already seem all but certain to qualify from their group. Furthermore, at this stage, few would bet against the Reds star striker being among the tournament’s top scorers should they progress to the latter stages.

Another United star playing for his country in this year’s World Cup is goalkeeper David De Gea, but it is fair to say that his experience has been a mixed one so far. Widely considered to be one of the finest ‘keepers in the world right now, the Spaniard had a game to forget in that thrilling draw with Portugal, as he let a tame Ronaldo shot slip under him for the second goal. If there was one United player you would never have bet on to make a mistake like that it is De Gea, but with Spain having secured a narrow win against a defensive Iran side in their second group match, he should have the opportunity to make amends during the knockout stages. Spain are 9/2 second favourites with the bookies, despite sacking their manager on the eve of the tournament, and have shown enough to suggest they are in the running.

Youngster Marcus Rashford came on as a sub for England in their 2-1 win opening win over Tunisia and made a real impact with his pace and willingness to take on defenders, suggesting he may get longer on the pitch in the next game, as England look to live up to their surprisingly 12/1 odds and win their first World Cup in 50 years. They didn’t look like potential winners in that match, but there is time for them to improve.

Of course, it is not only in 2018 that Man Utd players have been standouts for their countries at the World Cup – as some have actually won it. Perhaps the most fondly remembered is United legend Sir Bobby Charlton, who scored 3 times – including a memorable long-range rocket against Mexico as England won it in 1966. Sir Bobby also grabbed both of the crucial goals in the semi-final win over Portugal, ensuring his place in the history books for country as well as club. He was joined there by his teammate Nobby Stiles, who did the unglamorous defensive midfield work, and kept Portuguese star Eusebio very quiet during the semi-final, before going on to dance a memorable jig with the trophy at the end. There was also a third Red Devil in that famed England squad, in the shape of John Connelly, who played in the first match but didn’t get onto the pitch again after that. He had to wait a long time to finally receive a World Cup winners medal – finally getting his hands on it at a special ceremony held at 10 Downing Street in 2009. He made 20 appearances for his country during his career and should not be forgotten by either Man Utd or England supporters.

There is a definite chance that one of the current United squad could join the list of Old Trafford World Cup winners, with David De Gea and Spain perhaps being the best bet…

About Jordan Street 12123 Articles
I'm a 25-year old aspiring writer and I created the blog as a platform to discuss all things Manchester United. Season Ticket holder block E332.