Harry Kane offered an epic performance in the 2018 World Cup, scoring six goals to lead all players in the event. Alas, it wasn't enough, as Croatia netted a late tying goal in regulation and scored again in extra time to knock off Kane and England in the semifinals on Wednesday. Kane's performance joined that of other athletes over the past year who had outstanding individual performances in championship settings, but didn't see things end the way they had hoped.
Although the Cavaliers got swept by the Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals, James averaged 34 points per game. His 51-point performance in Game 1 was the first time a player scored at least 50 points in an NBA Finals game since Michael Jordan scored 55 for the Bulls 25 years prior. James also averaged 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists during the Finals, but the Cavs fell to the Warriors for the second straight season.
Brady completed 28 of 48 pass attempts for a playoff-record 505 yards, but it wasn't quite enough as the Patriots fell to the Eagles, 41-33, in Super Bowl LII. Brady threw for three touchdowns, including a 4-yard score to Rob Gronkowski to put the Patriots up 33-32 with 9 minutes, 22 seconds left in the game. But Brady was denied a sixth Super Bowl ring as the Patriots could not rally after the Eagles took the lead late in the fourth quarter.
The three-time Cy Young winner was 3-0 with a 3.82 ERA in six appearances during the 2017 postseason, including four scoreless innings of relief in Game 7 of the World Series, but the Dodgers fell to the Astros in the deciding game and missed out on the franchise's first title since 1988. Kershaw led the Dodgers to a win in Game 1 of the World Series, allowing just one run and striking out 11 over seven innings. Kershaw struck out 33 -- breaking Orel Hershiser's Dodgers postseason record -- and walked 10 during the team's postseason run.
Fleury carried the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season, recording four shutouts with a 2.24 goals-against average in the postseason. Fleury had a .927 save percentage in the playoffs, but the Golden Knights would ultimately fall to the Capitals in the Final. Fleury started all 20 of Vegas' games in goal during its playoff run but was not able to win the fourth Stanley Cup championship of his career.
Champions League: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
Liverpool's leading scorer with 10 goals and four assists in Champions League play, Salah was in tears when he was forced to come off injured in the first half of the Champions League final. Salah was substituted in the 29th minute after landing awkwardly on his left shoulder following an earlier duel with Sergio Ramos, and his club eventually fell, 3-1, to Real Madrid.
WNBA: Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
Remarkably consistent, Parker averaged 16.9 points and 8.4 rebounds during the regular season and 16.9 points and 9.1 rebounds in the playoffs, helping the Sparks get within one win of a championship. After a loss in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals, Parker had a game-high 19 points and added 15 rebounds and five assists in the Game 5 defeat to Minnesota.
College football: Sony Michel, Georgia Bulldogs
Against No. 2 Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinals, Michel ran for 181 yards and three scores, none bigger than his 27-yard scamper for a touchdown in the second overtime to give No. 3 Georgia a 54-48 victory. He added 98 yards in a 26-23 loss to Alabama in the national championship game. In total, Michel had 25 carries for 279 yards, four catches for 41 yards and four total touchdowns in the two CFP games.
Men's hoops: Moritz Wagner, Michigan Wolverines
Wagner became just the third player in the past 40 seasons to put up at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a national semifinal, joining Larry Bird (35 and 16 in 1979) and Hakeem Olajuwon (21 and 22 in 1983). Wagner had 16 points and seven rebounds in the championship game loss to Villanova and was the only non-Wildcat to be named to the NCAA all-tournament team.
Women's hoops: Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State had never advanced further than the Sweet 16 until Vivians led the Bulldogs to the national title game two years in a row. Unfortunately, neither trip ended in a championship. Vivans did her part, however. After a 25-point performance in the Bulldogs' 73-63 overtime victory over Louisville in the semifinals this past season, Vivians had 21 points, nine rebounds and four steals in a 61-58 loss to Notre Dame in the championship.