So it's youthful France vs Croatia's 'golden generation'

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Jul 12, 2018, 01:55

Equally youthful England were unable to mount much of an attack today....a whole bunch of perfectly ordinary players like Linguard, Sterling and Youngs were preferred to better alternatives. Disbelief was suspended because of the Southgate mystique.....but today the team looked truly clueless, with Kane playing an odd Messi like role, when he really is more of a Diego Costa.

I read lots of hyperbole about this English WC...but in all honesty, they faced only two quality teams, Belgium and Croatia and lost to both.

But the Croations had to work pretty hard after conceding a soft early goal....and even though that was Englands whole story, they tried pretty hard.

So I guess France are clear favourites on Sunday....with Griesman and Giroud providing a ceativity in the goal mouth that England lacked. And Mbape's pace could test the older Croation backs.

Still the golden generation have some canny players and wont go down easily.

Jul 12, 2018, 02:13

England were generally toothless in general play throughout the tournament. Their strength was set pieces where they had a phenomenal conversion rate. Best by far of all the teams. I'm not surprised they scored from a free kick and had other good chances from corners and free kicks. Croatia were far better in possession than England all game. Apart from that England had great speed which caused the Croats problems. An advantage they'd not have against France. I give them lots of credit because nobody expected anything from them. But they are a B grade team at their peak. They can't use the ball and create like the best teams can, but this is still a very young team. But France would have torn them to pieces. Way too fast, too creative, tall, strong and can score from anywhere. Croatia are going to have a hard game. Hopefully their striker is fit for the final. 

Jul 12, 2018, 03:40

Nice analysis....yep lets hope Mandzukic is okay, Uruguay without Cavani was an engine spluttering on one cylinder. These smaller countries need the full cast.

Jul 16, 2018, 14:00

Great final, with Croatia the better team for much of this match as this Bleacher exerpt implies:

'Statistically, Croatia looked like the better side. They dominated possession (61 percent) and had more overall shots (15-8), though France held the advantage in shots on goal (6-3), per FIFA World Cup. Croatia also held a sizable advantage in corners (6-2).'

It seemed Croatia was pretty much always on attack but France just managed to stave them off. Whereas France scored off the few scaps they had.

On the controversies, the first French goal came off a bit of simulation and a kick that should never have been awarded.

The penalty is more debateable. I'm with the school of thought that it wasn't a deliberate hand ball, but was clumsy. Some think it shows VAR worked and many think it was a travesty.

The point is made that France scored two fine goals and Croatia's last goal was the result of a goalkeeper who lost his his intensity knowing the game was won. But who knows what effect those two calls had on Croatia...and clearly they were in full attack mode when France produced their counter attack goals.

This was a very enjoyable final, a fitting end to a great tournament. The bit of skill I'll remember is the Perisic goal in the final...great stuff!

Jul 20, 2018, 13:39

It was a shame, but that's life. France had been dominated in most of their games. The saving grace is their attack. They are by far the best finishers in the world, collectively and individually.  Had Croatia had that ability to finish opportunities, France would have been 4 goals down at halftime. Those first two French goals did turn the game in France's favour, but the last two were great touches. Lots of space though, as you say because Croatia had to open up. I don't have as much of a problem with the handball, but Griezmann diving was disgraceful. Even more so that he was awarded a free kick (he dived a few times). This world cup was the best for years, as far a refs not appeasing divers is concerned, but the game still has a long way to go. Refs make very poor calls on obvious dives too much and are too hesitant to act when there is genuine foul. Simply making contact doesn't constitute a foul. It ruins the game completely. 

 
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