After Sanchez’s Chile stunningly missed out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, he is carrying all the blame by himself. However, we have in every generation a player who carries the pressure of expectation of a nation. Based on these 2018 World Cup qualifiers, down are players carrying their national teams by their shoulders.
5. Alexis Sanchez –Chile
“I would say you have in every generation a player who carries the pressure of expectation of a nation,” Wenger said. “In France it was Zidane. In England it was Beckham. We had other players in the team but it was Beckham. Why not [Steven] Gerrard? I don’t know. But it was Beckham.
The Frenchman had to admit: “In Chile it’s Sanchez. (…)”
4. Mohamed Salah –Egypt
There no need to remind the world that Salah scored 5 of the Egypt’s 7 goals during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification; he also registered the 2 assists of the other two goals. He just carried Egypt on his shoulders.
His both goals in the decisive 2–1 victory over the Congo, saw the Pharaohs reaching their first World Cup finals since 1990.
3. Gylfi Sigurdsson –Iceland
The Everton midfielder helped Iceland seal qualification for their first time ever in the World Cup by scoring in an emotional 2-0 victory over Kosovo. Iceland became the smallest nation to reach a major tournament at Euro 2016; and now, thanks to Sigurdsson, they are the smallest nation again to reach the World Cup.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo –Portugal
In the summer of 2016, the Portuguese was able to guide his nation to the first major title in its history, upon claiming the Euro Cup. An achievement which no doubt, cemented Cristiano’s legacy as one of the greatest footballers in the history of the game. No doubt the Team still depend on the maestro.
1. Lionel Messi –Argentina
When the Tango star is on fire, it would be extremely complicated for any defence to stop. He proved it recently with a hat-trick against Ecuador; and that might have been an introduction. Argentina hardly depends on the diminutive magician.
“ (…)In Argentina of course it’s Messi. It looks like that there is somebody there in a national team who has to carry the pressure and absorb it and protect a little the rest of the team.” Wenger said.