VIDEO: Maradona to Messi - The Evolution of World Cup Dribbling

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As both stars and years have passed, the nature of dribbling in the FIFA World Cup has changed

The World Cup has played host to the most gifted dribblers football has ever seen over the years.

From Eusebio to Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona to Lionel Messi, the world's biggest show has seen the birth of breathtaking skill moves and played host to some memorable and remarkable solo goals.

In the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, held in Spain and Mexico respectively, dribbling was perhaps surprisingly prominent. 1080 completed dribbles were averaged across both tournaments, with the mercurial Maradona leading the way with some of the maziest runs the sport is ever likely to see.

Things changed during the rather defensive Italia '90, though.

The Evolution of World Cup Dribbling

From Messi to Maradona – how dribbling at the World Cup has changed

Posted by Goal.com on Monday, 11 June 2018

Only 890 dribbles were completed during the tournament, with mean defences and a scarcity of attacking sides making for a more subdued affair. 

USA 1994 saw dribbling return to the forefront as Brazil edged out Roberto Baggio's Italy, and since, the improved protection of technical players from officials has allowed the likes of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar to breeze past players with more confidence. 

1264 dribbles were completed during Brazil 2014, and with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappe and Paulo Dybala set to make their World Cup debuts, that figure could rise significantly in Russia.

FIFA World Cup dribbling has evolved; will the evolution continue in 2018?

 

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