So that’s that then. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is over – and what a tournament. I’m always reluctant to say something is the best ever but it’s not hard to make a case that this World Cup stands above others I watched. Any doubts and concerns about Russia being the host were emphatically wiped away. I was fortunate to be there to cover the Iceland games and the stadiums and atmosphere were fantastic. A real success!
Team of the tournament
France deserved their triumph that’s for sure. They improved as the tournament went along. What I liked about them was the way they won with style in some games and with more pragmatic play in others. Their versatility shone through. A word for Croatia though, they were excellent throughout the competition and to get to the Final was a massive achievement.
Player of the tournament
I’ll stick with the Croats here and flag up Ivan Perisic who had an outstanding month. Like France, he got better as the tournament progressed and I thought he was vital in the semi-final win against England. For me though, Luka Modric was a deserved recipient of the Golden Ball. I could watch him all day long, the way he creates space is a joy to behold.
Game of the tournament
I’ll go for two. France v Argentina in the Last 16 was really open with lots of goals. It kicked off the knockout stage in brilliant fashion. I’ll also nominate England v Colombia in the same round. Man, that was a tense game, and as I predicted in my last 188BET blog, England managed to put their penalty shoot out hoodoo to bed.
Flop of the tournament
No surprises here, it has to Germany. To see the defending champions crumble against South Korea after fighting back against Sweden was a real shock.
Thoughts on England
Getting to the semi-finals in itself was a great performance but it’s fair to say they had the perfect path to get there. It’s all positive from me though, the young players would have developed more experience, the manager looks a great fit and with the media on side again there’s no reason why England can’t improve from here.
Euro 2020 winner
It’s hard to look beyond France again. They have a very young team and the players will have learned so much from this month. They followed a World Cup win in 1998 with the Euro title in 2000, so why not again 20 years later?
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