A week ago, we saw France winning the World Cup, the biggest football tournament in the world. The world saw arguably the best World Cup ever. This World Cup was quite different from the other ones. We saw the introduction of VAR which caused many controversies. VAR helped many teams to get through but some teams had bad luck because of it. We also saw many last minute goals and drama.
Then there were a lot of own goals at this World Cup which was quite unexcepted. We saw some of the smaller teams such as Croatia, Russia and South Korea playing great football meanwhile many big teams such as Germany, Argentina and Brazil disappointing us.
The talented striker Harry Kane (England) was the top scorer with six goals which earned him the Golden Boot. The Golden Ball award was given to Luka Modric (Croatia) for his stunning all-round performance, the FIFA Young Player Award went to none other than Kylian Mbappe (France) and the Golden Glove Award went to Thibaut Courtois (Belgium) for his outstanding keeping.
Many players' value has doubled and some players' worth has decreased. A lot of big clubs are now planning on bringing in some brilliant players from this World Cup.
It was 16 years ago in 2002 when a South American football team last lifted up the most important trophy in world football the FIFA World Cup. A star-studded Brazilian crew destroyed the Germans to win 2-0 playing free-flowing football.
Since then, the World Cup has been owned by Europe: Italy (2006), Spain (2010), Germany (2014) and France (2018) have been the recent winners while other countries, especially South American teams (Brazil and Argentina, in particular) have fallen short, despite having hyped up talent in their squads.
Why haven’t the non-European teams been competitive? I think it’s because football is an evolving sport. Today’s football is organized through tactical teamwork play. We see that approach reflected in teams across Europe - Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain to name a few.
Most of the talented non-Europeans especially the South American players play for European clubs. Players such as Messi, Neymar and Dybala are such examples. They hardly have more than two or three compatriots. Each of those clubs has different playing styles, adopts different tactics, have separate managers and has players who develop styles of play well suited for their respective club of participation.
When players are then assembled “back home” on a national team. It takes time to work out roles and for players to link up with each other.
It’s just not as easy today as it was 16 years ago when Brazil won the Cup with players from different clubs who had different playing styles. Back then, players stuck with their own styles for both the club and for their country and developed a telepathic understanding amongst teammates.
That kind of coordination existed among the South American trio of Messi, Suarez, and Neymar when they lead Barcelona to their second historic treble during the 2014-15 season. Still, such great players fail to share the same bond with the national side teammates.
Messi, hailed as the world’s best player is yet to win an international trophy with Argentina. So is Neymar for his national side Brazil. Suarez plays a pivotal role on his team since the departure of Diego Forlan but is still failing to reach the success which they reached in the past.
Maybe in the next World cup, we might see a non-European country lift the World Cup. If we look at this year's World Cup we can see that all the four semi-finalists - Belgium, France, England and Croatia - were European teams.
European teams have won the last four World Cups and the question is can the others continents catch up with them soon? Let's wait and see at the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.Published 24 Jul 2018, 02:32 IST