Neither were able to come up trumps with a much-needed victory in Group H, leaving their chances of making the knockout stages looking rather slim heading into the final matchday.
Portugal were perhaps a little fortunate to edge their way past Uruguay, whilst South Korea were stunned by Ghana in what was a five-goal thriller.
Those that were a little more eagle-eyed would have seen one of Spurs’ mooted transfer targets put in one of the performances of the week – not only did Black Stars sensation Mohammed Kudus find the net twice but he put in an all-encompassing display that should have Fabio Paratici and Antonio Conte purring.
The Italian duo are thought to be keen to bolster the frontline in the January transfer window and the Ajax youngster is among the potential options, with Calciomercato (via Sport Witness) even suggesting that he would be scouted in Qatar.
Kudus is in the midst of an emerging season for the Eredivisie giants, where he has scored ten goals and laid on two assists across all competitions – including efforts against Liverpool and Serie A leaders Napoli in the Champions League.
The 22-year-old has continued that fine form into the World Cup. After being one of Ghana’s main bright sparks in the 3-2 defeat to A Seleção, Kudus netted two important efforts against Son and co to all but send them home.
Deployed out wide, rather than through the middle or upfront like for his domestic side, Kudus was a constant thorn in Paulo Bento’s side as he offered the Black Stars a dynamic outlet from midfield, where he was able to arrive late inside the box and wreak havoc.
The impressive Ajax starlet deftly headed home Jordan Ayew’s deep cross and bagged the match-winner by firing an excellent effort past the goalkeeper just before the 70th minute.
As per FBref, Kudus also registered a 100% tackle success rate from his two attempts – a feat only bettered by Ayew – and registered one interception and one block, which suggests that he was a bundle of energy along the flank and did anything to help his side over the line. His ten recoveries were double that of any other Ghana player and his three dribbling attempts further hints at his endeavours in the final third.
The versatile machine, thought to be worth around £15m, was like a sniper with his passing at short-to-medium range as he misplaced just one of 13 attempts. It was his balls over 30 yards that let down his passing accuracy but as a likely forward option for Conte in north London, that won’t matter whatsoever.
It’s perhaps little surprise to have seen the FIFA Man of the Match dubbed a “special talent” in the past by Opta analyst Owuraku Ampofo, whilst over in Qatar, journalist Rahman Osman claimed he was one of the stars of the tournament “alongside [Jude] Bellingham and [Jamal] Musiala.”
Forget about Bentancur, it was Kudus who stole the show this week and that should have Paratici eager to get out the chequebook heading into January. His obvious ability to play anywhere behind the striker, as well as upfront, would be a big benefit to Spurs and Conte in what will be a challenging few months with plenty at stake.
His price tag may have risen well beyond that £15m now but he would surely be worth every penny.