By Shebby Singh | WORLD CUP 2018 #8
It’s all over! The debate about VAR will long continue but Ivan Perisic knew what he was doing when he moved his hand towards the ball and prevented it from going into a dangerous area, across the six yard box.
The Gods were certainly smiling on the French when they took the lead after Mario Mandzukic was unlucky to have the ball skim off his head for the ever dreaded own goal. With the Croatians dictating play, it was a cruel blow but credit to Zlatko Dalic’s men as they fought valiantly.
It’s fair to say Croatia had their tactics right especially allowing N’Golo Kanté the ball because he is the weakest in possession. But Didier Deschamps was wily enough to take Kante off for the ball playing Steven Nzonzi and the French wrestled control of midfield. Up stepped Paul Pogba with a sublime pass into space for Kylian the Kid and was then perfectly positioned to take his goal albeit on the second attempt.
The young centreback Raphaël Varane was imperious as Croatia tried to find holes in the French defense but there were none.
As Hugo Lloris got the assist for Mario Mandzukic’s goal, he lost the Golden Glove Award to Thibaut Courtois!
There is absolutely nothing new to learn from this World Cup as there has been zero tactical innovations. Defensive discipline with tireless running won the day.
We can conclude, the “pass and move” was smothered by the “push and run”.
And the award goes to –
Golden Ball – Antoine Griezmann
Golden Glove – Thibaut Courtois
Best Defense – France
Best Midfield – Croatia
Best Striker – Mario Mandzukic
Top Scorer – Harry Kane
And the alternate awards –
Butterfingers – Fernando Muslera
Worst First Touch – Romelu Lukaku
I Was There – Raheem Sterling
Stephane Guivarch Award – Olivier Giroud
Best Assist – Hugo Lloris
Most Overrated – Toni Kroos
The domestic leagues in Europe will kickoff in about a month’s time and normal life will resume for the players while we recall the day when the unforeseen circumstances of football helped France become world champions.
[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.
Shebby’s pick for World Cup 2018 (Asia Samachar, 15 July 2018)
One part missing can make a wheel wobble (Asia Samachar, 13 July 2018)
The best goalkeepers (Asia Samachar, 9 July 2018)
Please don’t go, Leo! (Asia Samachar, 2 July 2018)
Less Celebrated XI (Asia Samachar, 25 June 2018)
The Best, not! (Asia Samachar, 18 June 2018)