Thanks for a wonderful World Cup of mails. Now tell us who has had the best transfer window. Mail us at email@example.com
Let’s have Deschamps at Man United
Instead of selling Pogba, United should try to hire Deschamps first. He could be the man to bring out his best, plus United have the players that would fit his 4-4-2 (4-3-3) system perfectly.
The defence might need some improving, as it currently does regardless of manager, but is littered with young prospects that could eventually sing (Shaw, Lindelof, Baily), but imagine Sanchez and Martial/Rashford, buzzing around a Lukaku (read: Giroud) who can actually score with the many opportunites presented to him, supplied by a midfield of Pogba, Fred and Matic.
A few transfers would be needed to boost the squad depth, although there are some able deputies there (Mata, Herrera, Lingard), but having Deschamps could sway a few of his World Cup winning players to follow him to Old Trafford.
And just two points on the final:
1) Given the stick Deschamps was getting from the media (you guys included), taking the bold risk to sub off (an admittedly poor) Kante for N’zonzi payed off beautifully, and credit is due for that;
2) It was a definite penalty. Without his hand, the ball would have passed him, without question, but his hand moved into the path of the ball, blocking it. Whether it was deliberate, accidental or subconciouslly, he blocked the ball from going behind him into a dangerous area, so it has to be a penalty.
Néill,(sweepstake winner), Ireland
Will you stop dissing Deschamps now?
Deschamps’ record in major tournaments (Euro and World Cup) is Played 18: Won 13, Drawn 3 and Lost 2 (one in Extra time). Both losses were cagey 1-0 losses to the eventual champions.
But yes, please someone tell me how Deschamps could do better? He is a world-class manager. He led a young Monaco side passed Real Madrid and Chelsea to the Champions League final, he won Ligue 1 with Marseille, and now brought the World Cup back to France. To make a claim that he is anything but is absolutely ridiculous. This record is not luck!
People forget the dire state of French football when he took over from Blanc. It wasn’t Domenech catastrophic, but we were hardly great. He changed this team into winners. As much as the players themselves are world class, you need someone at the helm to guide them. The stick he got for keeping out Benzema, keeping Lloris in goal and Giroud upfront.
I am so happy. So happy with how this team played and fought for each other. This is like no other feeling. Thank you Didier!
Three years ago, France had never had a manager win the Champions League, and only one had one the World Cup. Now with Zidane and Deschamps, we have both the Champions League and World Cup winning managers. I don’t know if that has ever happened before. Shame Arsenal didn’t win the Europa League.
Guillaume (la tete dans les etoiles) Ottawa
Pogba is brilliant
I dare anybody to tell me Paul Pogba is not one of the best midfielders in the world. The pass to start the move for his goal. His play this whole World Cup. Tell me there’s few better than him. I dare you, tell me otherwise
K (please Jose get this form from him this season)
Croatia with Pickford would have been champions.
What a World Cup
Beautiful goals, fantastic saves, shock results, shock knockouts, surprise stars, surprise teams, potential starts of a French dynasty, a future Ballon d’Or winner in Mbappe and Southgate’s England bringing the nation together, what a truly extraordinary World Cup, quite possibly the best one ever, who’d have thought that when Russia beat us to hosting the tournament back in December of 2010.
Mikey, CFC (An iconic tournament with an iconic lifting of the trophy in the pouring Russian rain)
Some final conclusions
Well, after two cagey and goalless World Cup finals won in extra time, this tournament needed something mental in its final game to fit the tone set over the last four weeks. Boy it delivered. Here are my thoughts just in case people care.
* Sounds disingenuous to say about a team that conceded four goals but Croatia were unlucky. They came to play and attack, actually thought they were the better team on the day and deserved more. That said, it was maybe the most French performance France could have put in. Negative and defensive on the surface but lit up with their outrageous wealth of attacking talent.
* Still drives me nuts how pundits discuss handball around ‘deliberate’ or ‘not deliberate’. Someone wrote in awhile back about how the language should be around ‘avoidable’ or ‘unavoidable’. Unless you’re Luis Suarez at South Africa 2010, no one is deliberately handling the ball and so if we’re using ‘avoidable’ terminology then Perisic was desperately unlucky but it was definitely a penalty.
* The real controversy was that first goal. Griezmann’s legs suddenly being made of sand and then Pogba quite clearly offside. I think Croatia can feel hard done by at neither of those at least going to VAR.
* Glad Modric was recognised for his performances with the Golden Ball. A special tournament and he’s pretty much got me convinced he’s the best player in world football at the moment. Real will be fine with Ronaldo leaving. If Modric did, I wouldn’t be so sure. Was genuinely worried FIFA would jump on the hype bandwagon and award it to Mbappe who had a great tournament – but nowhere near Modric level.
* Speaking of which, the PSG camp will be interesting this year. You wrote before the cup about how this could be Neymar’s tournament. Instead Neymar’s had – to put it diplomatically – a slight dint to his reputation and newly arriving Mbappe had one hell of a breakout tournament. Interesting to see how Neymar deals with perhaps not being the biggest fish he assumed he would be in that Paris pond.
* After Pogba scored Martin Tyler said something along the lines of, “and this World Cup final is now lit up with a truly special goal’, which I thought was relatively harsh on poor Perisic.
* Does Subasic have calves made of lead or is he just perpetually being wrong-footed?
* Genuine question. What’s the deal with VAR and corners/goal kicks? Seen incorrect calls made many a time this tournament and surely it’s one of the easiest ones to use technology for. Play has already stopped, it’s black and white, there are four blokes in a room watching replays; surely one of them can whisper in the referee’s ear that he got it wrong?
* Giroud really seems a genuinely nice chap doesn’t he? Shakes the referee’s hand when he comes off then goes around consoling Croatians while his teammates celebrate. Cops a lot of stick but but to my mind deserves his medal – purely on being a good bloke.
* Those poor Croatian players with that delay for the presentation. Having to stand around watching France celebrate for 20 minutes. Can’t have been fun at all.
* All in all, probably the best World Cup I can remember in my 30 years of life on this earth. I feel like a relationship has ended and I’m not quite sure what to do with myself now that its over. Back the Premier League I guess. Thanks for helping my world be football for the last month F365 community.
Perisic handball and more
Since handball is one of my hobbyhorses, I’ve paid very close attention to handballs in this tournament, and I disagree with Daniel Storey’s conclusions on the Perisic handball.
First, the call was entirely consistent with the way handballs have been called all tournament, with or without VAR. The slow motion shows that Perisic’s hand was deliberately outstretched and moving toward the ball. Crucially, the stretching out of the hand is not a necessary part of his movement: he only does it at the last moment, possibly when he realizes the attacker is going to win the ball. All tournament, if the hand was deliberately placed in an unnatural position where it might encounter the ball, handball has been called, no matter how close the defender was to the attacker.
This is a perfectly legitimate principle on which to call handball—full disclosure, I happen to agree with it. Of course, if you disagree with the underlying principle, the Perisic call was doubtful or wrong in itself. But VAR didn’t make the call inevitable—there have been times in the tournament where a referee looked at VAR and didn’t change his call. Only once do I think the slow motion and VAR might have made a difference in handball, and that was at the end of Portugal-Iran. Even then one could argue that the call was consistent with the other handball calls (although I’m not sure on that one).
Second, the whole ‘clear and obvious error’ standard is, in this case, a red herring. We have absolutely no idea what Nestor Pitana saw when he made the initial call. It happened very quickly, and he may have been screened. He may even have told the VAR officials to check the video. He then took a very long time, looked it over extremely carefully, and decided he had missed it. He was not overruled—he made the decision himself. He also made that decision in accordance with the way handball had been called throughout the tournament. In other words, he discovered he had made a mistake, and rectified the error. In my book, he should be applauded. And I was supporting Croatia.
P.S. Like Storey, I was sure Pogba was offside for the first goal. But I went over it several times in slow motion, and it looks like Domagoj Vida’s leg played Pogba onside. I assume that’s what the VAR officials saw as well.
By the way, it’s now an amazing ten straight Finals in which no one has scored from open play in the first half. The last man to do so was Mario Kempes in 1978.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (still wish Croatia had won)
A few thoughts on the Final, Griezmann actually made me support Croatia for the first half after that pathetic cheating dive, the penalty was harsh but I can see why it was given, in the replay his arm movement is towards the ball and it looks like he realises he has missed it and throws his arm down but only Perisic knows for sure. Croatia didn’t deserve to be down in that first half.
Pogba showed what a player he can be, hopefully Mrs Souness has scraped all of her husband off the walls after he exploded in rage at Pogba scoring in a World Cup final. On to Mbappe, my lord that boy is quick, he runs like an Olympic sprinter his strides are ridiculously long, having to mark him must be a defender’s worse nightmare.
Well a fantastic World Cup, well done Russia your charm offensive won a lot of people over, the openly anti gay and racist behaviour were thankfully hidden from view let’s hope they take on board the positive message and get their house in order.
Roll on the new season.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
…That was some final. France and Croatia showed more of what we’re seeing at the club level with more focus on talent and athleticism and less resorting to gamesmanship whether it’s time-wasting or diving. Hopefully no teams like Argentina or Brazil are in the final ever again until they change their ways to catch up to this wonderful modern iteration of the beautiful game. And hopefully all Neymar’s antics convince his sponsors to divert their resources to players like Modric and Griezmann because their magnificent quality at astonishing speed is breathtaking. I for one can’t wait for Mbappe to show Neymar his winner’s medal because that’s as close as Neymar is ever going to get to one Not even that whining pitiful man-boy could ruin this amazing World Cup.
Quality debate please
Was it a penalty? I am not sure either way, but perhaps falls into the category of “I’ve seen them given”.
What was truly appalling was the quality of the debate. Or rather the lack of it. The TV pundits all thought it wasn’t a penalty, with Shearer shouting at the first opportunity “It’s never a penalty in a million years”, while everyone else on the BBC appeared afraid to disagree with him. Keane basically said “I bet he’s never played the game”. However, on the radio, Chris Waddle thought it was a penalty and Martin Keown appeared to err this way. I have no idea what they though on ShoutSport. However, nobody on the TV was prepared to say why they thought it wasn’t a penalty, “It just wasn’t”.
So what are the facts. As the ball came across Matuidi and Perisic jump for the ball, with Perisic just behind Matuidi. They both have their arms out wide at shoulder height at the highest point of their jumps, as they come down the ball hits Perisic’s hand, still sticking out, just above waist height. Was it coincidence that his hand was at waist height when the ball hit it? This is the point for debate. There was none.
Was it deliberate, instinctive or a genuine accident. Was Perisic unsighted. Hard to tell. The difference between deliberate and instinctive is a tough one, and something the rules don’t differentiate. However, referees appear to broadly operate on the principle that if the hands are away from the body it’s a penalty.
By the way players, and fullbacks in particular, increasingly seem to be coached to put their arms behind their backs when a winger crosses the ball in order to avoid the risk of a handball. Pavard and Trippier did this a lot.
It’s a sin (bin)
A couple of thoughts on officiating, both at the World Cup and elsewhere.
* VAR worked best during the knockout rounds, when it wasn’t used but loomed over every game. It was overused in the group stage and while a lot of decisions were overturned (not always correctly, or so it seemed), its main success was to make it clear to players that their sh!thousery would be punished. By the time the knockout rounds started, everyone had got used to it, so it wasn’t needed anywhere near as often. This meant those games were not broken up anywhere near as much by a referee making a big dramatic show of running over to look at the screen (who among us can’t wait for Mike Dean to be let loose on this system), but still showed the efficacy of the system because players had adapted to it.
* One of the other disciplinary measures people often clamour for is sin bins. It was reported in the Non-League Paper that this season the Hellenic League Divisions Two (lower reaches of the Southern League) will be trialing them. At the moment it will only be players shown a yellow card for dissent removed from the field for 10 minutes, but the FA have suggested they want to use them across that level (Step 7 of non-league) from the 2019-20 season.
I think it’s interesting that instead of becoming an extra level of punishment between yellow and red cards, it has become supplemental discipline to a yellow card. While keeping the trial to one offence makes sense, choosing dissent has advantages and disadvantages: on the one hand, anything that intends to reduce the amount of abuse officials are subjected to has to be a good thing; on the other, at any level of football what constitutes dissent is incredibly hard to establish with any degree of consistency. Much like VAR, the theory behind it seems perfectly sound, but how it is applied may present problems.
I’m not one to gloat (maybe I am…) and didn’t put any money on it so it’s easy to say in hindsight; but my pre-tournament predictions published in the mailbox turned out pretty damn well:
Overall winner (FRANCE) – Easy win
Player of the tournament (POGBA) – Deservedly won by Luka Modric, but no-one would have predicted that. Pogba was quietly was excellent and scored in the final so pretty close!
Golden boot (GRIEZMANN/SALAH/KANE) – The winner, joint second and a romantic pick that failed. I also predicted a group stage Kane hattrick, though said Salah might get one as well…
England position – (SEMI FINAL knocked out by France). Totally wrong route predicted, but much like England, it’s the end position that counts.
Great tournament and it’s going to be hard for the Premier League to live up to that!
Tom Saints (Saints have quietly been having an excellent transfer window)