World Cup 2018: The yellow card situation ahead of the quarter-finals
With the quarters set to be played in the 2018 World Cup, it has been one hell of a world cup so far. There have been goals, drama (both on and off the pitch), controversies, and even dramatic comebacks. But amidst all this, we have forgotten a key aspect - the accumulation of yellow cards.
Being a very short tournament, a player has to serve out a one game suspension when he accumulate a total of 2 yellow cards. The cards reset AFTER the quarters, which means that a player who gets his second yellow card in the quarterfinals will have to sit out the semi-finals.
While this is a way to ensure that no player misses out on the final - the biggest game of their life, it also prevents teams from using a foul-driven tactic as their only source of football. Here's where the yellow card situation is at, ahead of the quarterfinals.
#1 France vs Uruguay
Despite having earned a reputation as one of the most defensive teams in international football, only one Uruguayan is at risk of missing out the semi-finals if he gets booked against France - Rodrigo Bentancur.
Bentancur received a yellow card in their final group game against Russia, and despite being a starter, there is not much risk of him getting a second yellow against France as he is more involved in the attacking side of things. Even if they do, Uruguay has enough personnel to back him up.
France, in the meantime has four players running the risk of a semi-final suspension - Olivier Giroud, Tolisso, Pavard and Paul Pogba. Three of them are sure starters in the side, and considering that Blaise Matuidi is already suspended for the quarters because of his past exploits, Tolisso might even be in the reckoning for a starting spot.
Among the players mentioned, Giroud has the least probability of a second booking if he can simply keep his head down and focus on the scoring.
Paul Pogba is vital to France's creativity and dropping him will not be a good enough solution to the problem - the alternative is to let Kante do all the dirty work and use Pogba as the number 10.
Benjamin Pavard is the most at-risk player, and playing against Luis Suarez will be bad enough for him without this issue. Tactical fouls aside, Pavard has to be on his best behavior against Uruguay, but France shouldn't worry too much as they have Sidibe covering for him if it comes to that.