Blog | World Cup 2018: Finale
France 4-2 Croatia
Twenty years after their first World Cup win, the French have regained their crown and are once again the champions of international football. I was in France for their win in 1998 and the atmosphere was fantastic; I imagine it'll be pretty similar again this time.
In all honesty, France were comfortably the best team of the tournament, holding their closest challengers at arm's length throughout. From front to back, their side has top-level quality - despite Lloris' blunder to let Mandzukic score in the final.
None of the other sides have that quantity of quality, and France even left a lot of high-quality players out of their squad! Managed correctly, France could potentially dominate international tournament for the next decade.
Croatia do deserve some praise too, and not in a patronising manner either. Their work-rate and single-minded refusal to give up is unbelievable, exhibiting reserves of stamina and determination that shame a lot of the other countries at this World Cup.
I don't think they lost this game because of fatigue either - I think France were simply too good on the day. I genuinely think Croatia would've been far closer to becoming world champions if they had faced Belgium, Brazil or Uruguay. They just didn't have the quality needed to stop this French attack.
World Cup 2018 Overview
I don't think this was the greatest World Cup in terms of quality, but is possibly the best in terms of drama, shocks and entertainment value. Too many of the top sides were below-par and the standard of football suffered as a result.
As said, it made for entertaining, end-to-end football, but felt to me a lot like the season where Leicester City won the Premier League. It was entertaining because anyone could beat anyone, but only because most of the top teams dropped down to the standard of 'lesser' teams, rather than those countries having improved to take on the bigger countries.
It is noticeable though that the semi-finalists were all European sides, and it's something I can't see changing any time in the near future, thanks to both VAR and the expansion of the tournament. The latter primarily will allow some of the bigger European nations that have poor qualification campaigns (Italy, Netherlands) to still qualify and get their shit together for the tournament.
As for VAR, it may be playing on stereotypes, but South American nations do have a reputation for being more 'streetwise' than most other nations. Which is a nice way of saying cheating: diving, niggling fouls and the like, including feigning innocence when on a yellow card.
VAR eliminates that 'advantage', with referees still being duped, but the cameras letting the officials know what actually happened. If their attitude towards trying to con officials doesn't change, I can see African or Asian sides being the teams to challenge European dominance.
Senegal, South Korea and Japan were all great to watch and will hopefully improve with repeated involvement after the tournament grows. Egypt could've potentially done better too if Salah had been fully fit for the tournament.
Many people might be against so many teams being involved in future tournaments, and it could be a huge mess to schedule properly, but it could lead to establishing a new order of football powers if VAR continues to be used and depending on how well each regional federation adapts to it.
Currently playing God of War (2018) - currently grinding Ivaldi's workshop in Niflheim for new armour and the other challenges there. Once I've had enough of that realm, it'll be on to the endgame.
Star Wars: The Old Republic - the Sith Warrior is now up to level 25 and I'm still enjoying it, being as manipulative as possible and even forging (temporary) alliances with Republic forces to take down other Sith.
Marvel Platinum Definitive Thor Redux - Thor remains stuck in limbo, which is a situation that will hopefully be remedied this coming week.