The France squad that just won their second World Cup title didn’t make our jaws drop. Beauty and appearance were rather left to the Gioconda’s smile and to Napoleonic conquers. But in football, those who win are always right. And so, The Cult of Calcio’s final Top 11 lineup could not but feature many French – pardon, World Champions – representatives.
Here is our new selection of the most impressive players seen during the Round of 16 and the Quarter Finals. We did have a few doubts, if truth be told, especially among the posts and on the sidelines. Therefore, we chose to keep some experience in the key roles, and leave room to those who have the age and the skills on their side to complete our ideal lineup.
Et voila! Without Edinson Cavani’s genius – kept at bay by an injury – Uruguay evidenced their limits, and bent their knee to France. Les Bleus won 2-0 their Quarter Final match in Nizhny Novgorod with goals by Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann, showing cynicism and team solidarity. France’s next opponents in the Semi Finals will be Belgium.
The Group Stage ended two days ago, featuring among other things the shocking elimination of Germany, much disappointment on the part of Poland, and the win by the Red Devils of Belgium over Harry Kane’s England. The Cult of Calcio offers you a new Top 11 of players that left their mark during the second and third round games of the Group Stage.
Argentina put their heart beyond criticism tonight, as they prevailed 2-1 over Nigeria to sneak into the World Cup Round of 16 from the second place of Group D. An extremely important win for coach Jorge Sampaoli’s selection, which came at the end of some pretty stormy days. Goals by Lionel Messi and Marcos Rojo vanified Victor Moses’ penalty equaliser.
For the second time in a row, France overcame their opponents by one goal difference. The French are a young team, which however can rely on the experience of coach Didier Deschamps. It is not a chance that the winning goal over Peru yesterday came from the youngest striker in this World Cup, 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé from Paris Saint Germain.
We were just writing about Cristiano Ronaldo making it to our Top 11 of the first round, and – bang! – here he is, again. Cristiano scored another one and made poker: It’s 4 goals in two games for him, and his first victim is done: Mehdi Benatia’s Morocco are out of World Cup 2018. It took just 4 minutes for the Champion of Madeira to tear the North Africans down.
The first round of games in World Cup 2018 showed that the traditional powerhouses’ domination is being threatened by multiple outsiders. On that note, such victories as the one of Japan, Mexico, or Iceland’s draw are pure joy to those like us who love football in its pure expression. So bear with us as we take you through our very personal Top 11 Team of this first round.
High hopes were put on the Derby della Capitale, which Roma and Lazio approached with totally different moods: The Wolves exalted at their exploit over Barcelona, the Eagles shot down by their shocking Europa League elimination. It ended with no winners, no goals, and few emotions. The other match-clou Napoli-Milan also followed a similar pattern, so Serie A Round 32 ended up in favor of Juventus, which widened their gap over the Partenopei to six points.
It could have been a shocking weekend: Juventus struggling hard in Benevento, before Paulo Dybala helped the Bianconeri making full score, and Napoli risking at home against Chievo, before Arkadiusz Milik and Amadou Diawara turned the match upside down. It ended with the gap between the two leading teams unchanged, while battles for relegation, and for the third / fourth place also continue to offer non-stop emotions.
Juventus smashed Milan to keep the head of the league, while Sassuolo stopped Napoli and pushed them down to -4 from the leading Bianconeri. Roma slowed down in Bologna, as Inter continued their recovery. An exaggerated Lazio condemned Benevento to an almost certain relegation. Torino came back to victory, while Sampdoria lost against a well-organized Chievo. SPAL gathered another important point for safety, distancing themselves from Crotone and Verona.
A shocking nil-nil draw in Ferrara slowed Juventus down, and allowed Napoli to reduce their gap with the lead to two points only. Roma won in Crotone and consolidated their third position, but Inter and their captain Mauro Icardi loudly shouted “We are back!”, with Maurito scoring four goals (!) to Sampdoria. Milan continue to run, seeing the Champions League only five points away. This, and much more, in our review of Serie A Round 29 from A to Z.