By Shebby Singh | WORLD CUP 2018 #6
There is no denying that France and Croatia have arrived in the final on merit. Both teams have been consistent without relying on one or two individuals. It has been the collective up until now and it is very difficult to separate these two teams as we compare the two sets of players.
Hugo Lloris v Danijel Subasic
Certainly the two best goalkeepers in this World Cup and the world champion custodian should win the Golden Ball let alone the Golden Glove. Both goalkeepers have dealt well with pressure situations and shown remarkable agility too. Score: 1-1.
Benjamin Pavard v Sime Vrsaljko
One has scored a beauty of a goal while the other has a great assist in a semifinal. Both Pavard and Vrsaljko have first and foremost, defended well as individuals and as a group. Quite possibly, Vrsaljko is has the slight edge with his final ball. Score: 0-1.
Lucas Hernandez v Ivan Strinic
Unspectacularly consistent but always providing the options from the left flank, both fullbacks have given their all in every game. While Strinic always looks like he is on his last legs, what with having done more mileage in extra time, it is Hernandez who has been getting stronger every game. Score: 1-0.
Raphaël Varane v Dejan Lovren
The French defender has looked composed and his pace allows France to hold a higher line when not in possession, the Croatian has kept his composure. It has not been easy for Lovren on the back of high profile blunders in his club career. Score: 1-1.
Samuel Umtiti v Domagoj Vida
Both left sided centrebacks have not taken any prisoners and played their part well as one half of a partnership. Score: 1-1.
N’Golo Kante v Marcelo Brozovic
The French terrier has been excellent in hounding the ball or opponents while Brozovic has excelled as “front sweeper” with his clever positioning and interceptions. Both provide so much security which has allowed their fullbacks the freedom to get forward. Score: 1-1.
Blaise Matuidi v Ivan Rakitic
These two have played interesting roles with Matuidi providing better defensive work while Rakitic has done both offensive and defensive duty with distinction. It’s fair to say Rakitic has had more influence than Matuidi. Score: 0-1.
Paul Pogba v Luka Modric
The driving force in their respective teams, Pogba and Modric have shown great vision in both the short ball or long ball game. While Paul Pogba has been a controlled influence, Luka Modric has been the influencer! Score: 0-1.
Antoine Griezmann v Ivan Perisic
The Frenchman has excelled after being granted a free role while Perisic has displayed great power and determination from a wide left position. The final could well depend on Croatia’s ability to keep Griezmann from finding space in between their defense and midfield. Score: 1-0.
Kylian Mbappe v Ante Rebic
The explosive Mbappe and the explosively powerful Ante Rebic will light up the final with their strengths. It’s useful to have power in the attacking third but pace allows exploitation of the length of the pitch. Score: 1-0.
Olivier Giroud v Mario Mandzukic
One striker who scores goals while the other has yet to! Can Giroud win the World Cup for France? Score: 0-1.
With a score of 7-8, this could mean history with Croatia becoming only the ninth country to win the World Cup.
[Serbegeth Singh is a former Malaysian international footballer and current football analyst. For the duration of the World Cup 2018, he will share his thoughts at Asia Samachar on Mondays, looking back at the action in Russia over the week]
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
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