Former Netherlands international Rafael van der Vaart has compared Germany’s Niklas Sule to Manchester United defender Harry Maguire.
Despite starting just three league games under manager Erik ten Hag this campaign, Maguire has been trusted by manager Gareth Southgate for the Three Lions. He has started in all three of their group games and has been a big reason behind their first-place finish in Group B.
It hasn’t, however, been enough to wash off the reputation he has built for himself in recent seasons arising from his costly mistakes and underwhelming one-on-one defending.
Van der Vaart, who represented the Netherlands at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, was the latest pundit to take a swipe at Maguire. He compared Borussia Dortmund’s Sule to Maguire and told Dutch TV (h/t Daily Star):
“‘Germany have a problem in defence. Süle is not world-class. He is the German Harry Maguire.”
Has there ever been a bigger full-back in football history than Niklas Sule? The size of him.
While it’s unfair to use the Manchester United centre-back as a measuring rod in this situation, the two do have similarities. They are physically imposing defenders, but that strength often comes at the cost of pace and agility.
Sule has been dreadful in this FIFA World Cup. Sule started as a right-back against Japan and failed to contain substitute Kaoru Mitoma’s run, which led to Ritsu Doan’s 75th-minute equalizer.
He was restored in central defense against Spain but did not fully track Alvaro Morata’s run, which culminated in their only goal of the game. After the draw against La Roja, Sule was placed in the starting XI yet again by manager Hansi Flick.
He was oddly hesitant in heading the ball away from an overloaded box, which ultimately led to Manuel Neuer’s 70th-minute own goal. The scoreline was 2-1 at the time, but Germany turned it around to win 4-2.
Prior to 2018, Germany had NEVER failed to make it out of their World Cup group.
2018: Bottom of their Group (3pts)
2022: 3rd in Group (4pts)
Das ist nicht gut.
Manchester United defender recalls win vs England as his first FIFA World Cup memories
Manchester United right-back Diogo Dalot has traveled with Portugal’s 26-man squad to the FIFA World Cup alongside club teammate Bruno Fernandes.
The 23-year-old is yet to make his debut in the competition after being an unused substitute in his team’s 3-2 win against Ghana and a 0-0 draw with Uruguay.
Speaking in an interview published just before the stalemate on November 28, Dalot recalled his first memories of the FIFA World Cup. He told Manchester United’s official website:
“My first big memory was when Portugal played in 2006, I think in Germany, we lost the semi-final if I’m not mistaken. We won against England I think on penalties [in the quarter-final]. That was my first few memories.”
Portugal beat England on penalties in the quarter-finals but lost to France in the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.
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