How did each Celtic player perfom at the World Cup?

Ange Postecoglou confirmed at today’s Media Conference ahead of the match against Aberdeen tomorrow that it is his understanding that Josip Juranovic will not play for Croatia in the World Cup 3rd place -off against Morocco tomorrow, due to a thigh strain. So that means that all four Celtic players who made it to Qatar have now concluded their campaigns and we can have a look at how each Celtic player performed at the 2022 World Cup.

Japan’s forward #25 Daizen Maeda (C bottom) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Japan and Croatia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on December 5, 2022. (Photo by FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/AFP via Getty Images)

The World Cup is the pre-eminent footballing tournament. Thirty-two nations gather for a month of games that will culminate in the final that only comes around every four years.

The 2022 edition of the World Cup threw up some shocking results, like Saudi Arabia beating finalists Argentina, Morocco storming to the semi-finals and Japan beating both Germany and Spain. However, all good things must come to an end, and representing  the Scottish Premiership champions, let’s take a look at how the four Celtic players at the World Cup performed.

Josip Juranovic – Rating 9/10

Croatian right-back Josip Juranovic has surely been one of the most surprising break-out stars of the 2022 World Cup. His dominant performances were a large part of why Croatia reached the semi-finals before being knocked out by Argentina. And while he is out injured he’ll still be there to support his teammates and hope that his nation take home a medal as World Cup odds have them favoured to beat Morocco at 13/10 in this third-place playoff.  His work may be done, but he has already shown the world the quality he has.

Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium crosses the ball past Josip Juranovic of Croatia during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Croatia and Belgium at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 01, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Although not a nailed-on starter for Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side as he shares right-back duties with Anthony Ralston, he has demonstrated a tenacious ability to tackle and tidy on the ball. He started every game for Croatia up to the semi-final, helping keep the likes of Hazard and Neymar quiet along the way. He may have his eyes set elsewhere in January, and after his performances, there will be many clubs looking to sign him.

Aaron Mooy – Rating 8/10

Big Aaron Mooy has been a stalwart in the Celtic midfield this season. He makes his presence known whether he starts or comes on and isn’t shy about sticking in a tackle. In Qatar, he played every minute for the Socceroos and made them a solid defensive side that was difficult to break down.

Australia’s midfielder #13 Aaron Mooy (2nd L) controls the ball followed by France’s forward #07 Antoine Griezmann (2nd R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

He was instrumental in their wins over Denmark and Tunisia, and although it may be his last World Cup, he helped Australia reach the last 16 for only the second time.

Daizen Maeda – 8/10

Japan was one of the most surprising teams in the tournament. Put in a group with Spain and Germany, it was difficult to see them qualify, never mind topping the group. Nevertheless, they didn’t only win the group, but they beat both European sides on the way to doing it.

Maeda played his role for the Samurai Blues. He played in every game bar their defeat to Costa Rica. They may have missed his presence on the wing because they were victorious in the other two group matches. A tireless runner, his pressing and ability on the ball tired out opponents before Japan used their subs wisely to win games late. Maeda even bagged himself a goal against Croatia.

Cameron Carter-Vickers – 7/10 

The USA had an air of optimism heading into this tournament. In a group with England, Wales and Iran, they were confident they could reach the knockouts with a talented young squad. They may have fallen to the Netherlands, but they have a couple of players who could develop into real stars. Celtic’s talented centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers may have only gotten one game for the red, white and blue, but if he continues to grow, he should start for them at the next World Cup. And it’s worth noting that in the one game the Celtic defender started, the United States got their only win of the tournament.

Japan’s forward #25 Daizen Maeda (C) is consoled by Croatia’s defender #22 Josip Juranovic after after lost on penalty shoot-out the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Japan and Croatia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on December 5, 2022.  (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

With the Scottish Premiership getting back underway, it is good to get the squad together again. Only Josip Juranovic misses the trip to Aberdeen tomorrow as he’ll be with the Croatian squad taking on Morocco but Ange Postecoglou confirmed at today’s Media Conference attended by The Celtic Star, that Aaron Mooy, Daizen Maeda and Cameron Carter-Vickers are all in The Celtic squad so could play against Aberdeen tomorrow,.

Having the World Cup in the middle of the season brings its own challenges, but Celtic have the quality, strength in depth and the firepower to maintain their first-place league position from now until the end of the season.

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