Just like that, the worlds greatest sporting event has come and gone. (@ me if you don’t believe me that it’s the greatest) It’s amazing to think that 3.5 years ago, the only thing I could think about was the worlds best teams meeting in Russia to see who adds another lucrative star to their countries uniforms. For those who haven’t seen this World Cup, I highly recommend a few games here. The first game that set the tone for the entire tournament was Spain versus Portugal. To see one of the greatest soccer players ever go up against a power hours like Spain is a gift in itself, but the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo came out of that match with a hat trick and a leg up on Messi made it that much sweeter. The second game that will show the average fan how important time is was Belgium versus Japan. Not since the United States defeated Algeria in the very last second of the match have I seen a team be defeated in such a gutted way. Japan dominated that match, scoring early and creating chances continuously. Belgium just…scored last. What a game.
We sit on the brink of the what should be an amazing World Cup Final. Although I traditionally hate the term “Dark Horse”, Croatia was the Dark Horse candidate going into Russia. I guess the real reason I hate that term is because people think if they say a team is their dark horse before any else, then it MUST be true. No, just because your friends don’t know who Lukaku and De Bruyne are does not make Belgium your dark horse team.
This Croatia squad is led by one of the best mid fielders on the planet, Luka Modric. Modric plays for Real Madrid in Spain, and ever since leaving Tottenham has proven he deserves all the accolades Los Blancos can provide. This team is littered with talent, from Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Mario Mandzukic (Juventues) and Kovacic (Real Madrid). They have one of the most solidified midfields in the entire tournament with Rakitic and Modric, and they have been able to control games so far. Two of their three previous elimination games ended in Penalty Shootouts, proving they can keep calm under pressure.
However, France is…well, France. This isn’t the old Zidane France team, this is a group of young and hungry powerhouse players ready to take the next step. Just to name a few of their top talent, Sunday we’ll get to see Paul Pogba, Hug Lloris, Kylian Mbappe, Blaise Matuidi, N’Golo Kante, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, Ousmane Dembele, and of course, Antoine Griezmann….yikes. This is one of the most powerful teams in recent years based on the depth they bought with them to Russia.
My best guess? France comes out with a World Cup trophy, but with the USA out of the tournament, it’s actually been a nice refreshing tournament of fun.
Also, I destroyed Greg and Josh in that draft. Just saying.