The Belgian forward saw his tournament come to an end against Argentina, as Marc Wilmots' side lacked creativity and imagination in their last-eight tie - much like France against Germany the previous day.
Gonzalo Higuain's solitary strike won the match for the Argentines, with Hazard being replaced in the second half. Many felt that the Chelsea man had underperformed in the quarter-final - and the tournament as a whole.
Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamman was one such critic, tweeting:
Belgium very poor. Hazard had a nightmare the whole WC. Does Messi carry an injury?— Didi Hamann (@DietmarHamann) July 5, 2014
|Premier League||Team||Pos||Dribbles Won / app||Shots on Target / app||Assists / app||Accurate Crosses / app||Successful Final-Third Passes / app||Touches / app||Pass Accuracy (%)||Apps||Mins|
|World Cup||Team||Pos||Dribbles Won / app||Shots on Target / app||Assists / app||Accurate Crosses / app||Successful Final-Third Passes / app||Touches / app||Pass Accuracy (%)||Apps||Mins|
As Opta stats show, the contest is much closer than one might imagine. Indeed, Hazard averaged more 'won dribbles' in Brazil, with only four players having completed more than him (on 20) before the semi-finals.
With two assists in five appearances, meanwhile, the Chelsea man averaged twice as many assists for Belgium at the World Cup.
Perhaps what critics have been picking on, however, is represented in four key areas Firstly, the 23-year-old averaged 0.31 less shots on target per game. As small as that may sound, it's a significant difference.
Over five games for Belgium, meanwhile, Hazard did not make a single accurate cross, with the Chelsea man again averaging 0.31 more per game in the Premier League.
Hazard also averaged 15 fewer touches per game for his country, while arguably the most telling stat is that he averaged seven fewer successful final-third passes per game during the World Cup. His overall passing accuracy was also lower, although only by a marginal 1.35%.
These minor drops here and there were thus the difference for the Blues man in Brazil, as opposed to a domestic campaign that yielded 14 league goals and seven league assists (Chelsea's highest in both categories).
The margins are minimal, though, so it still remains a matter of opinion as to whether Hazard's tournament really was a 'nightmare.'
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