We’re into the final weekend of FIFA’s fundraiser, the World Cup.
We’ve seen some memorable matches over the past 4 weeks from Russia’s opening match thrashing of Saudi to England’s 6-1 drubbing of Panama but the match that will stick with me the longest is probably the Japan Belgium match from the first knock-out round. The underdog gave the bookies heart palpitations when they shot into a 2 goal lead but World order was restored as Belgium roared back into the contest before one of the goals of the tournament ended the dream for the island nation.
The Belgian dream ended with a whimper. Denied creative play by a line-up fielding a bruiser rather than a passer, Belgium rarely threatened. Hazard put himself in the shop-window with a selfish performance aimed solely at advertising his own skills. Lukaku and De Bruyne in particular should feel like they were robbed by the line-up and formation of the first 80 minutes.
The English dream also ended abruptly, however the writing was on the wall from half-time as the Croatians came out from the break revitalized. Harry Kane’s double miss may have changed the Final match-up but the Croatians paid little attention to might have been’s as Modric and Rakitic raised the tempo and bossed the match right to the final whistle.
If it’s any consolation, Football came home. The English found a new belief and common interest in their nation’s team who were written off before the tournament started but now it’s time for the dreaded third place match and the ‘all important Final‘.
Third Place Match
Belgium 2 – 0 England
A replay of the third tie in group G. One June 28th Januzaj provided the winner with a nicely placed curling shot into the top left corner of Pickford’s net. He might even start again as the teams are likely to give a run out to all the players not used so far during the tournament.
They have played already and its a game that nobody really cares about, but who will be the great third place. Lots of words to fill the space, go cry in a corner and lets focus on the big one
Belguim lost their semi but they somehow came out of the game ok. England on the other hand were very distraught after their loss. I think that Belguim have another performance in them, England will be finished. Kane to score to get the golden boot.
A second string team from Belgium to beat a 2nd string team from England. The most pointless match in tournament football.
World Cup Final
Croatia 2 – 4 France
The last time France were in the World Cup Final (1998) they beat Croatia in the Semi-Final by the odd goal in three. Croatia took the lead in that match but France turned them over before going on to win the tournament on home soil.
France have had an interesting run to the premier match with wins over Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Australia.
Croatia beat Argentina, Nigeria, Iceland and England. Penalties decided the matches with Russia and Denmark.
France hold the advantage of having played no extra time or going through the nerve-wracking experience of penalties on their way to the Finals. Croatia have played an extra game in terms of minutes (90) just to get to the final and they have one day less rest between the Semi and the Final. Will it finally take it’s toll on them?
Where to watch the Final: Budweiser Party Park
Croatia have played 90 minutes more than France in the same amount of games. The French have the pedigree and the Croatians have not actually had a great performance in the knock out stages. I think France will be too good for the Croats.
I prefer Croatia to the French but I think having three games going into extra time won’t help them at all. French have pace and I think that will be the difference when the Croatians start to tire. I do hope Croatia prove me wrong though!
A class performance throughout the tournament by France will be crowned by a glorious winning performance in the Final. Well deserved after overcoming the likes of Brazil, Argentina and Belgium.
Dirk finished third in our Superbru pool.
Ernesto wins a Run Ride Dive Superbru Champions Mug