A World Cup To Remember
France just won the World Cup, the biggest tournament in the world. Didier Deschamps marshalled his troops in search of a monumental triumph and he achieved it.
France had the most balanced squad in the tournament with superstars, Pogba and Griezmann, a powerful attack with Mbappe and Giroud, a robust backline with Varane and Umtiti a holding midfielder in Kante, who can dominate and blunt opponents; and a reliable goalkeeper in Lloris. They were comfortable against attacking teams and they’re just as settled against squads that prefer to sit back and defend. Both approaches are aided by Deschamps minimalistic management style. He commands respect as an experienced coach, a man who “been there and done that.”
The world just witnessed the best World Cup to date. The tournament was unpredictable and exciting. This tournament made football fans love the overall sport more than their teams. They cheered for even the smallest of teams. That mindset pervaded the tournament.
Powerhouse clubs, which were expected to go far in the tournament, took a large step back. Germany, Argentina, Spain, and Brazil didn’t perform as predicted on the big stage.
We saw teams like England, an inexperienced squad reach the semis. Then we saw Croatia, a small country, reach the finals. We also saw France a country with many young players lift the World Cup.
From the beginning of the tournament, we saw the smaller teams lock horns with big boys of the world and still standing strong against them. Now every team believes it can make a run at the Cup.
The best players in the world, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, didn’t become star attractions because there were other, more intriguing storylines.
The talented striker Harry Kane was the top scorer with six goals; the Player of the Tournament went to Luka Modric and the FIFA Young Player Award went to none other than Kylian Mbappe.
We also saw new players rise to the occasion. Those players are now on the watch of big clubs. On the flip side, a few players who were rated highly going to the World Cup now find they have lost value.
Immediately following the tournament, several countries changed managers. Others are seeking new players. Both are being done to improve team chances.
My bet is this: 20 years from now we’ll remember World Cup ’18 as one of the best ever!
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:49 IST