With the group stage of the FIFA World Cup having now concluded and attention turning to the knockouts, we look at how the 15 Chelsea players at this tournament have got on so far.
There have already been plenty of thrills and spills in Qatar, not to mention shocks, with several Chelsea players in the thick of action as is now customary in football’s showpiece global tournament.
Here’s a blue-tinted overview of what’s happened so far, going in group order…
The Lions of Teranga overcame the setback of losing their first game to the Netherlands late on to qualify from Group A. Senegal subsequently beat hosts Qatar 3-1, Edouard Mendy with a couple of super saves, and then edged past Ecuador in a game they had to win.
Kalidou Koulibaly scored the winning goal with a fine volley, just a couple of minutes after Ecuador had equalised to put qualification back in their hands.
Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling started England’s first two games as the Three Lions comfortably made it out of Group B. Sterling scored a cracker in the 6-2 win over Iran, and following a drab goalless draw with the US, England made light work of Wales to top the group. Conor Gallagher has been an unused sub in each game.
America have advanced to the last-16 without losing and having played some excellent football. After drawing 1-1 with Wales and 0-0 with England, Christian Pulisic bravely bagged the only goal in their decisive showdown with Iran that secured second spot in Group B.
Ethan Ampadu, on loan at Spezia in Serie A this season, played all but 13 minutes of Wales’ group games. Their first World Cup since 1958 ended in disappointment, however, as they only managed to procure a single point and a single goal in Group B, that a 1-1 draw with USA in their first game.
For the second consecutive World Cup, Germany have exited at the group stage. Stunned by Japan in their first game in Group E, one in which Kai Havertz started, the 2014 winners recovered to earn a creditable 1-1 draw with Spain in their second. They were not in control of their destiny, however, and despite Havertz’s brace off the bench helping them fight back to beat Costa Rica 4-2, Japan’s victory over Spain in the other game sealed their fate.
Spain survived that scare to advance from Group E in second place, ahead of Germany on goal difference. With Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back, they thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 before the 1-1 draw with Germany when our skipper did not feature. He was back and providing an assist for his former Chelsea team-mate Alvaro Morata before Japan came back, with Azpi having been subbed at half-time.
A last-16 derby with Morocco awaits.
Belgium bowed out at the group stage after a disappointing tournament. Romelu Lukaku came off the bench in their defeat to Morocco and goalless draw with Croatia, a game they had to win to qualify.
Between goalless draws with Morocco and Belgium, Croatia defeated Canada 4-1, with Mateo Kovacic outstanding. That victory proved decisive as it meant they only had to draw their final game against Belgium, which they just about managed.
Croatia meet Japan in the last-16 on Monday.
Arguably the standout performers of the group stage, Morocco topped Group F with wins over Belgium and Canada and a draw against Croatia. Hakim Ziyech has been superb, setting up a goal in the Belgium victory and then scoring a sublime effort himself as Canada were beaten 2-1.
Thiago Silva captained Brazil to two wins and two clean sheets, 2-0 and 1-0 successes against Serbia and Switzerland respectively, which secured qualification before the final game. The centre-back was rested for that as the five-time winners lost 1-0 to Cameroon but still finished top of Group G.
They play South Korea on Monday.
Joining Brazil in progressing out of Group G with six points, won against Cameroon and Serbia, the Swiss used Denis Zakaria as second-half sub in their final group game. With his side leading 3-2 against their Serbian opponents, the midfielder who is on loan at Chelsea helped see out the win which sets up a last-16 meeting with Portugal on Tuesday.
Baba Rahman started two games and came off the bench in the other as Ghana missed out on qualifying for the last-16. They lost 3-2 to Portugal, then beat South Korea by the same scoreline, meaning a draw against Uruguay would likely be enough to advance. They could not get it, though, losing 2-0 and bringing their tournament to an end.