Other LaLiga interventions during the group stages included Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas and Malaga striker Youssef En-Nesyri both scoring as late substitutes in Spain and Morocco’s 2-2 draw. Japan midfielder Takashi Inui, who has just completed his move to Real Betis from Eibar, scored against both Senegal and Belgium while Saudi Arabia’s matchwinner in their final group game against Egypt was Villarreal’s Salem Al-Dawsari. There were countless other memorable moments involving LaLiga stars, including Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos’s sensational last-gasp strike for Germany against Sweden, Atletico centre-forward Diego Costa’s three goals for Spain and Lionel Messi’s superb solo effort in their victory over Nigeria. Camp Nou teammates Luis Suarez and Yerry Mina hit the net twice and three times for Uruguay and Colombia respectively. Modric shone albeit in defeat and was awarded the 2018 ‘Golden Ball’ for his contribution over the month in Russia. This included a penalty in the opening game victory over Nigeria, a tremendous 20-yard strike in the unforgettable 3-0 victory over Argentina and shoot-out spot-kicks converted against Denmark and Russia during the knock-out stages. Croatia also had Barça’s Ivan Rakitic in midfield in Sunday’s final along with Atletico’s Sime Vrsaljko at right-back, while Mateo Kovacic was on the bench. New Atletico signing Thomas Lemar and Barça’s Ousmane Dembele were unused subs for France. It was a fitting end to a tournament at which LaLiga stars have been prominent throughout, right from the opening game when Villarreal’s Denis Cheryshev scored twice for Russia in the hosts’ 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia. The following month of games then saw 24 different LaLiga players from ten different Spanish clubs score 40 goals in total. LaLiga stars were named MVP in 21 of the 64 games as 81 players from across LaLiga Santander and LaLiga 1l2l3 represented their countries. LaLiga’s huge influence on this summer’s World Cup continued right through to Sunday’s final, with MVP Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid scoring one and setting up two as France topped Croatia 4-2. Meanwhile, Real Madrid midfielder and Croatia captain Luka Modric was voted player of the tournament despite his country falling just short at the final hurdle. This summer’s World Cup has truly showcased the breadth of LaLiga’s quality, talent and its true international reach, leaving fans worldwide to eagerly await the start of the 2018/19 Spanish season next month.Advertisement 11 LaLiga players were involved in the decider at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, more than any other league. Griezmann clinched his third MVP award of the tournament with an impressive performance. It was his free-kick that was knocked into the net for the game’s opening goal, his penalty which put France 2-1 up and his assist which led to France’s third. Atletico defender Lucas Hernandez laid on France’s fourth and final goal, with his fellow defenders Samuel Umtiti of Barcelona and Raphael Varane of Real Madrid also impressing, while Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi was a second half substitute as Les Bleus saw out their victory. Advertisement 11 LaLiga players were involved in Sunday’s World Cup final in Moscow, more than from any other league. Among the standout stars was Barça’s Philippe Coutinho, who provided two goals and two assists as his team were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Belgium, for whom Real Sociedad’s Adnan Januzaj got on the scoresheet in the group stages.
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar wants the World Cup to come back to the subcontinent and hence is backing India to go all the way and clinch the title on July 14 at Lord’s in London.So far, India have dominated the tournament, topping the ten-team table by winning seven of their eight matches and losing only to hosts and pre-tournament favourites England. India’s game against New Zealand was washed out without a single ball being bowled. Virat Kohli and Co. will take on the same opponent in the semifinal in Manchester on Tuesday.”New Zealand can’t take pressure. I hope they don’t choke this time. But I really want the World Cup to stay in the subcontinent and I think, I will back India all the way,” Akhtar said in his Youtube channel.It was all about Rohit Sharma’s record-breaking fifth hundred at Leeds against Sri Lanka on Saturday.Rohit hit a crisp 103 to help India thrash the Lankans by seven wickets in their final group game to finish with 15 points from 9 games.Rohit hit the drives, flicks, cuts and pulls with equal elan to register his fifth hundred of the ongoing World Cup — the most by any batsman in a single edition — bettering the record set by former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara in the 2015 World Cup.”Rohit Sharma has great timing and shot selection. His understanding of the game is also superb. K.L. Rahul also got his ton which is a good thing,” added Akhtar.advertisementRahul scored 111 to get his maiden World Cup hundred.Akhtar opined that the net run rate is a cruel thing and Pakistan played better cricket than the Kiwis but failed to go through on this count.”Pakistan played better than New Zealand. I really thought they would make it but the net run rate is a cruel thing.”Pakistan finished fifth on 11 points, same as New Zealand, but lost out on inferior net run rate. In 2015, Australia beat New Zealand to win the Cup.Also Read | Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson were captains in India vs New Zealand Under 19 World Cup semi-finalAlso Read | World Cup 2019: Rohit Sharma playing big brother role in opening partnership with KL Rahul, says Aakash ChopraAlso See: