World Cup diary 2018 – Saturday 21 July
France (2) 4 [Mandzukic 18′ (own-goal), Griezmann 38′ (penalty), Pogba 59′, Mbappe 65′]
Croatia (1) 2 [Perisic 28′, Mandzukic 69′]
By the time our plane touched down in Lanzarote last week France had been crowned World Champions with a 4-2 win over Croatia, to claim their second title. It showed how transient modern day society is though, when upon arrival at our hotel, only hours after the final whistle at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, all the boards and decorations that had been up for the World Cup, were quickly being tidied away. Of course, I’m assuming this wasn’t just sour grapes on the part of the Spaniards, who had seen their side knocked out by host country Russia on penalties in the Round of 16!
Now back in Blighty, I have since looked at the goal highlights, but nothing more than that. It’s not anything against either of the teams, but essentially its old news and like the hotel back in Lanzarote, it is just another day consigned to the pages of history. Congratulations of course though to Les Bleus.
So what of the 21st FIFA World Cup? Thankfully it wasn’t the ‘Festival of Hooliganism’ that many had feared prior to the tournament, so that was a massive positive. England went further than many of us had expected, but then having got that far to the Semi-Final, dashed our dreams as confidence and energy seemed to drain from them in the second half and extra-time against Croatia. Gareth Southgate and his squad though deserve praise for seemingly reconnecting the squad with the fans.
Unbelievably Germany finished bottom of their Group and didn’t make it to the knockout stages with South America’s finest, Argentina exiting at the Round of 16 and Brazil falling in the Quarter-Finals. It should also be remembered as a World Cup that failed to feature the European heavyweights of the Netherlands and Italy, but saw Iceland make it to their first Finals.
And so the process will start all over again, as the various Nations chase the dream of qualification for the controversial holding of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar! Until then Allez Les Bleus!