World Cup Russia 2018 Thread

Croatia would be justified in feeling that fate is against them after that first half. They dominated a poor French team but find themselves 2-1 behind because of, in my view, two referring errors. The first was Griezmann  throwing himself to the ground to win a free-kick from which the first goal came. In live I didn't think it was a foul and the replays clearly showed there was no contact. Why didn't VAR correct it, pulling the game back a giving Griezmann a yellow card for simulation? Then the second, which did come from a VAR, but I can't see it remotely being justified as a case of deliberate handball.   Rubbish.


Well, a great first half in the World Cup final, though I can't help feeling that through my, admittedly, Croatia tinted spectacles, Croatia can be forgiven for feeling that, thus far, "We wuz robbed".

The free kick from which France scored their first goal wasn't a free kick, since Griezmann had already decided to launch himself into a dive, and the only possible contact happened after he was already on his way down.

The penalty, on repeated slo mo repeats, is clearly "ball to hand" , since the ball came off the French forward, straight onto Perisic's hand.

So, for me, based on the above .................. get into them, Croatia! 

A great World Cup and a great Final. The Croats were unlucky for the first two goals, but to the give the French credit, they were superb in the second half. They are strong in every single department, tactically astute, well-organised and creative in front of goal. Deschamps has done a brilliant job rebuilding the side.

I suspect they will be the dominant force in world football for the next few years.

So, France have prevailed in the final, and, fair play, after their first two goals which were, quite clearly, the result of dodgy refereeing decisions, they pressed on, and scored a couple of cracking goals.

Croatia? Well, their heads went down briefly after the fourth French goal, but after Lloris's howler, they picked themselves up, and started really going for it once more.

The winner?

Football, in fact, since Croatia, for me, with their "easy on the eye" style of playing, and their, (to quote a Leeds United mantra), "side before self, every time" belief must surely have garnered much love for their national team.

History won't show it, only the seemingly comfortable 4-2 victory, but the footballing gods were smiling on France today.  They should be thankful to the (poor) referee, too.  

The Croatian team should be welcomed home as heroes.   

Putting aside my disappointment in the result of the final, I think its been a wonderful tournament.  Before it I was worried about the potential for racist chants from the crowd, organised hooliganism, and drunken bad behaviour. The reality was great support in all the games I saw, with the crowds dressing up and obviously enjoying themselves. The host nation, Russia, deserves credit credit for putting on a well-organised and good-humoured tournament.    

I thought Luka Modric played his heart out and was one of the players of the tournament.

The Croatians were first to every ball and won 90% of the 50/50 balls unfortunately the French were very, very fortunate and what could have been a classic and classy final was not IMO. 


I rather enjoyed the final (as a neutral) I was worried that it was going to be another rather dull 1-0 affair due to the fact there is so much at stake and neither side wants to make any form of serious mistake that lets the opposition score.

A 6 goal final was a refreshing change, I don't really care whether they were all warranted or not. They were awarded and at the end of the day that's all that counts.

It was a refreshing and entertaining tournament from the very start to the very end and with the exception of a few South American teams all played in a reasonably sportsmanlike way.

I will never forget the Japan/Belgium match absolutely brilliant.

Roll on the Euros 2020 as we all know that is a much tougher competition than the World Cup. It would be great to see all the home nations qualify.


Bob the Builder posted:

I thought Luka Modric played his heart out and was one of the players of the tournament.

The Croatians were first to every ball and won 90% of the 50/50 balls unfortunately the French were very, very fortunate and what could have been a classic and classy final was not IMO. 


Completely agree BtB. Modric was immense. Given his age I suspect this was his last World Cup but it would be nice to see him do well in the Euros 2020. 

Head said France. Heart said... well Wales actually ... but Croatia, obviously. Although that was probably the most entertaining final in my lifetime, Croatia got today tactically wrong. They pressed early doors against a team capable of sitting back and countering. It looked impressive for 20 minutes but, as they pressed, the French started to catch them more and more and those breaks produced the set pieces for the first two goals. They needed to sit back  and draw the French out as they had other teams. Great as the third and fourth goals were it remains true that they were also breaks after pressure albeit at 1-2 France were in the box seat. 

The tournament as a whole was sporadically entertaining and dominated by teams rather than individuals and it’s hard to argue with a final which had an own goal; a VAR penalty; a goalkeeping clanger; three lovely snap shots; a thunder storm and a Pussy Riot invasion. 

What I don’t accept is that the referee had a terrible game. His control was excellent. He didn’t tolerate verbals; handled messing about at set pieces far better than any other teferee in the knock out stage, especially the gamesmanship from the Croats on the penalty and he didn’t mindlessly use reds late on for a couple of straight red offences as he understood that it was frustration and achieved nothing. 

The fact that the overwhelming verdict of the pundits and social media is that it wasn’t a penalty is nothing to the point. He missed the handball and so was rightly referred to VAR. He then has to decide if it was a clear error. On that basis he was right. The leg of the player did not attempt to play the ball; the hand moved toward the ball and the direction of the ball was changed. The fact it was close was nothing to the point. It wasn’t point blank and blasted. The fact the arm was going down was also irrelevant. 

The real issue is that the rule itself, VAR and football referees in general are not fit for purpose.

Handball should not include the upper arm for starters. Benefit of the doubt should also be given when there’s contact from another player which could have influenced a movement toward the ball as well as where there’s no clear confirmation the player was looking at the ball.

VAR needs to start being on any decision where there is an obvious error. All parties should be also able to hear the discussion as per rugby. 

As for referees...

What's the point of VAR if on viewing a replay of Griezman launching himself floorwards and sticking his leg out to make sure there is eventually contact, the VAR can't inform the ref that a bit of underhand cheating has occurred and that the correct decision is a yellow to the diving cheat and free-kick to Croatia? 

As for the penalty, it's supposed to be clear & obvious errors. If it takes over 3 minutes to reach a conclusion, it can't be clear & obvious. Personally I'd give the ref 15 seconds to make a decision or the game goes on.

Winning a top level match is always  easier if the calls go your way and you get goal start from it; it's a pity that the VAR wasn't or couldn't be used to correct these mistakes. I was hoping for a Croatia win, old Johny Frog has no respect from me for the underhand cheating that has given them the win.

Thankfully the heavy rain came down after the end of the match without interrupting it.

The outcome of the game could have been different if Croatia had a real goalkeeper playing for them today instead of the impersonator in green with a pathetic reaction time of a tired turtle who never put a real effort in trying to stop any of the balls coming his way. What a pity.

If the ref didn’t see it in real time and then had to go to the VAR screen then walk away and then go back again that spells some doubt in his mind and so benefit of that doubt should be given to the team defending. 

Referees are there to officiate and not to attract limelight that is for the players not the refs. 

Griezman, Mbappe and Pogba should concentrate on playing football instead of trying to con the ref. Luka Modric is more of a football player than any of those French ‘stars’. 

And someone around Kylian Mbappe should get a hold of him before he really does become the nasty bit of work he looked in all of his matches. A real shame because he’s the best French player I have seen since Henry. 

A few stats:

* 169 goals were scored in the 2018 Mondial, 2 less than the record set in 1998 and 2014. The            average was 2.64 per game.

* There was only one scoreless game between Denmark and France.

* 70 goals were scored from a set position, all time record of 41%.

*  12 goals were self-inflicted, another record. In the previous tournament there were 4.

* Only 4 players were ejected from the games. 2 with a direct red card (a Columbian and a Swiss) and 2 with double yellows (a German and a Russian). in 2006 28 players were ejected, also a record.

* France is the third team successful in beating all 4 final opponents (advance rounds) in 90 minutes. Argentina did it in 1986 and Brazil in 2002.

* Belgium finished with the best goal ratio of 16 to 6.